Charting a Course for a Sustainable Galveston Bay Region


Jan. 25, 2007


Drummond, HE

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Galveston Bay Estuary Program


In 1988, local stakeholders rallied to secure a promising future for Galveston Bay by advocating Galveston Bay's inclusion into the National Estuary Program. Recognizing the Bay's importance and the threats posed by pollution, overuse and development, Congress accepted Galveston Bay into the national program and funded local, stakeholder-based efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive conservation management plan to conserve the bay's ecological and economic value. This 20-year plan, known as The Galveston Bay Plan, was approved by the Governor of Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator in 1995; the Galveston Bay Estuary Program is charged with overseeing its implementation. While progress made by local governments, conservation organizations, recreational anglers, commercial fisherman, citizens, industries, and federal and state agencies working with the estuary program the past 11 years is notable, challenges requiring enhanced regional collaboration lay ahead. Population in the region is projected to increase by 60% from 4.4 million in 2005 to 6.9 million in 2035 and demands on existing limited resources to do more continue to grow. Additionally, clear technical solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems, such as pollution from non-point sources and numerous failing wastewater treatment systems, habitat fragmentation, and freshwater management are seldom. In 2005, the midpoint of The Plan's 20-year timeline, the estuary program through the Galveston Bay Council and with public input and participation, began developing a strategic action plan to guide and maximize implementation efforts over the next 10 years. The strategic action plan is called "Charting the Course to 2015". The plan is divided into three core sections. m and Human Health - Protecting and improving the Galveston Bay ecosystem for people, fish and wildlife. Public Participation and Education - Building the capacity of citizens, businesses, local governments, and community-based groups to engage in decision-making and to play an active role in protecting the health of Galveston Bay. Monitoring and Research - Maximizing effectiveness by assessing environmental improvements, fostering ecosystem-based knowledge for improved resource management, evaluating efficacy of actions, communicating results, and taking corrective action. Major components of the draft strategic action plan, additional needs to help secure a sustainable Galveston Bay region and essential next steps will be presented.




ecosystem health, Galveston Bay Plan, human health, monitoring, public education, public participation, research, strategic plan