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Express-News reporter wins prize for environmental reporting about eroding beaches

Receding Coastlines in Texas

Anton Caputo, the environmental reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, won this year’s Risser prize for his series about the impact of climate change in Texas.

The $3,000 prize is named after James Risser, a Pulitzer-prize winning journlist who wrote about environmental problems that are unique to the Western United States.

Anton wrote about shrinking Texas coastlines, long droughts, and how state officials are ignoring the problem.

Here’s how the first story starts out:

SURFSIDE BEACH — Charles Watson stands by the side of the road smoking a cigarette and snapping photos with a digital camera. He seems transfixed as he watches his family’s longtime beach home jacked off its pilings and rolled slowly down the street.

Several neighboring houses in this sleepy coastal town will meet the same fate this very day.

Forty years ago, 200 feet of sandy beach buffered Beach Drive from the sea. But today, the surf runs freely between the pilings and over the remains of concrete foundations.

The erosion has become so severe that Texas declared the property a public beach and gave the owners a choice: Take state money to cover the cost of moving the house or go to court.

Click here to check out Day 1 of the entire series.