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The Galveston Bay 2016 Report Card triggers unprecedented community engagement

Posting Date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2016



The Galveston Bay 2016 Report Card Drives Unprecedented Community Interest and Involvement in Protecting an “Estuary of National Significance”


For the Galveston Bay Foundation, engaging the community has been the cornerstone of a year-round effort to promote awareness of the estuary as a critical economic and environmental lifeline for the Houston-Galveston area and the entire state of Texas.

The public reception of the 2016 Galveston Bay Report Card has triggered community engagement of unprecedented levels: Meetings with more than 3,200 stakeholders including legislators, boaters, fishermen, educators, civic groups, and business associations citizens; 14,000 website visits (www.GalvBayGrade.org), and a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program providing three years of funding to translate the Report Card into Spanish to further engage the Spanish-speaking community.

“The 2016 Galveston Bay Report Card bridges the gap between science and the community by promoting awareness and understanding about the most immediate needs of this irreplaceable natural resource,” said Heather Schiappa, The Galveston Bay Foundation’s Report Card Coordinator. “The Galveston Bay Report Card is a citizen-driven, scientific analysis of the health of Galveston Bay. It is designed to inspire people to take action to protect and preserve what the United States Congress designated as “an estuary of national significance. By getting the data into the hands of the people whose actions can make a difference, we look forward to a bright future, inspired by an informed and enthusiastic community.”

The Galveston Bay Foundation and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) released the 2016 Galveston Bay Report Card in August as an easy-to-understand grading system to communicate the health of the Bay to the public. Since then, organizations responding to the results and requesting one-on-one presentations of the report’s findings have included The League of Women Voters of the Bay Area; the University of Houston’s Sustainability Fest 2016; the Texas Academy of Sciences; the Galveston Alliance of Island Neighborhoods, The Natural Resources Advisory Committee and others.

The results of the 2016 scientific study assigned an overall grade of “C” to the health of the Bay, indicating an ecosystem facing significant issues, foremost among them, pollution, habitat acreage declines, impacts of climate change, and the emerging problem of invasive species. In spite of an average grade, it is also proof of the Bay’s resilience. The full and detailed report can be accessed at www.galvbaygrade.org.

“This annual report has been tremendously effective at calling attention to the problems threatening Galveston Bay and even more effective at motivating people to get involved with our volunteer programs in the most hands-on way possible,” said Bob Stokes, president of the Galveston Bay Foundation.

He said Marsh Mania, Bike Around the Bay, Ladies Casting for Conservation, Abandoned Crab Trap Removal, and Trash Bash are just a few Galveston Bay Foundation events for people to get involved and make a positive impact on Galveston Bay.

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About the Galveston Bay Foundation
The mission of the Galveston Bay Foundation is to preserve, protect and enhance the natural resources of the Galveston Bay estuarine system and its tributaries for present users and for posterity. Its programs in advocacy, conservation, education and research strive to ensure that Galveston Bay remains a beautiful and productive place for generations to come. Established in 1987, the Galveston Bay Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For further information, contact the Foundation at (281) 332-3381, visit www.galvbay.org, like www.facebook.com/GalvestonBayFoundation or follow @GBayFoundation.

About the Houston Advanced Research Center
HARC is a research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, contact HARC at (281) 364-6000 or visit www.HARCresearch.org, like www.facebook.com/HARCResearch.org or follow @HARCresearch.

For more information and to schedule a presentation, please contact:
Heather Schiappa
Report Card Coordinator
hschiappa@galvbay.org
281.332.3381 x 223 (office)