State capabilities for estuarine management: the case of Galveston Bay, Texas




King, L.R.
Kendall, J.J., Jr.

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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


In recent years Galveston Bay, the largest estuary on the Texas coast, has become a focus of concern as a result of rapidly expanded recreational use, shrinking habitats, declining freshwater inflows and proposals to expand the Houston ship channel. Congress designated the bay a priority area under the National Estuary Program sections of the Clean Water Act in early 1987, thus making the state eligible for federal funds to develop a management plan for the estuarine system. This paper will use the framework of institutional capability to explore Texas's role in addressing the complex resource management issues affecting the bay. Institutional capability refers to a state's capacity to develop, staff and sustain institutions able to deal with specific policy issues. Following a brief description of the Galveston Bay environment and its uses the paper will define institutional capability, use this idea as a framework for assessing Texas' readiness to tackle bay issues, and conclude with recommendations for strengthing the state's role as a coastal resource manager.


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estuarine management