Programmatic

Estuary Resilience Assessment

Estuary Resilience Assessment

CCMP Actions Implemented: Galveston Bay Regional Monitoring Program
Grantee/Contractor: The GeoTechnology Research Institute through The Houston Advanced Research Center
Total Project Budget: $50,000
Project Period: September 2018 – February 2022
Project Description: The final output of this project will be a companion document to the Galveston Bay Plan and will provide resiliency adaptation considerations for implementers of the Galveston Bay Plan. The document will be developed in coordination with subject matter experts and/or members of the Galveston Bay Council and its subcommittees through workshops or existing meeting structures. The project will follow the requirements identified in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program Funding Guidance Document.

State of the Bay, 4th Edition

State Of The Bay

CCMP Actions Implemented: All, Galveston Bay Regional Monitoring Program
Grantee/Contractor: The GeoTechnology Research Institute through The Houston Advanced Research Center
Total Project Budget: $85,000
Project Period: September 2017 – May 2020
Project Description: The updated State of the Bay Report will present a summary of Galveston Bay Plan implementation, research, and an analysis of the indicators and metrics available for Galveston Bay, based on acquired and quality assured monitoring data from the Galveston Bay Regional Monitoring Database. To present a more user-friendly, accessible, and dynamic version of the State of the Bay report, the fourth edition of the State of the Bay Report will be developed as an easily updateable website and internet-available PDFs.

Public Participation and Education (PPE)

Blackhawk Park Coastal Prairie Restoration and Education Project

Blackhawk Park Coastal Prairie
Photo provided by Erin Novak

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-3, PPE-7, HP-1, FW-6
Grantee/Contractor: City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department
Total Project Budget: $53,600
Project Period: September 2018 – September 2020
Project Description: This project aims to engage the community in restoring a city park to its historic coastal prairie pothole habitat. Community members with the Student Conservation Association will actively participate in habitat restoration to learn the historic significance of coastal prairie, its benefit to wildlife, and the positive impacts that a prairie site can have to the community.

Know Your Watershed Educators Summer Institute

Know Your Watershed

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-3, PPE-7, HP-1, FW-6
Grantee/Contractor: University of Houston-Clear Lake
Total Project Budget: $38,341
Project Period: September 2018 – August 2020
Project Description: The goal of the project is to hold an eight-day summer institute to provide educators with resources and field experiences on environmental education. The focus will be on the importance of watersheds, wetland creation and restoration, marshes, storm drain water quality, and benefits of best management practices for citizens that improve water quality. Educators will have the opportunity to tour wastewater treatment plants and constructed outfall wetlands for stormwater treatment. Teachers will learn how they can use this information in their classrooms, schools, and/or community. Additionally, the project will hold a one-day symposium for school administrators that will address questions on what environmental education entails and how they can support classroom teachers to incorporate environmental education into their curriculum.

Galveston Seawall Recycling

Know Your Seawall

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-3, PPE-7, NPS-1
Grantee/Contractor: The Park Board of Trustees of the City of Galveston (PBTG)
Total Project Budget: $18,419.50
Project Period: September 2018 – August 2020
Project Description: The goal of the project is to provide recycling opportunities along approximately six miles of Galveston’s seawall to reduce litter that could become marine debris effecting the stormwater system and Galveston Bay. Twenty recycling cans will be placed at the seawall bus stops as well as a six-compartment recycle station that can be moved to areas of highest need, particularly during special events.

The PBTG will partner with Artist Boat to coordinate efforts to deploy the recycling receptacles and analyze the materials collected in the containers to evaluate the success of the project.

Texas Estuarine Resource Network (TERN) Citizen Science Program

Texas Estuarine Resource Network

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-5, PPE-8, SP-8, HP-7
Grantee/Contractor: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)
Total Project Budget: $75,000
Project Period: August 2017 – August 2020
Project Description: TPWD and Audubon Texas will work with citizens, local governments and agencies, and wildlife rehabilitation facilities to develop a working guidance plan for volunteers to identify and report injured and sick birds and wildlife. The two parties will collect and disseminate information reported by volunteers to help TPWD and other organizations and agencies who will assist in rescuing sick and injured wildlife.

In addition, Audubon Texas will also conduct public outreach events and citizen science training opportunities.

Trash Bash

Trash Bash
Photo provided by Gulf Coast Authority and H-GAC

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-3, PPE-5, SD-5
Grantee/Contractor: The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)
Total Project Budget: $10,000
Project Period: September 2019– July 2020
Project Description: Trash Bash is a successful volunteer-based litter cleanup event that has been held at multiple sites in the Houston-Galveston area on an annual basis since 1994. In fiscal year 2020, funding will be used to support staff time and salaries to organize the event, and to develop a new interactive educational exhibit for all regional Trash Bash sites. Estuary Program staff will continue to support the event by exhibiting and volunteering at regional sites.

Public Perception Assessment and Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) Campaigns to Enhance Conservation and Educational Outreach Programs

HARC Logo

CCMP Actions Implemented: PPE-1, PPE-3
Grantee/Contractor: Houston Advanced Research Center/GeoTechnology Research Institute
Total Project Budget: $86,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: The goal of the project is to use a community-centered approach to implement public outreach and education campaigns in the region. A public perception and awareness assessment will be conducted to identify communities and behaviors to target for three small outreach and education campaigns. Metrics will be developed to evaluate the success of each of the campaigns. The outcome of the campaigns and the public assessment and awareness information will be shared with stakeholders to demonstrate another approach to communicating with the public the importance of changing behaviors to conserve and protect Galveston Bay.

Natural Resources Uses (NRU)

Clear Creek Riparian Restoration

Clear Creek Riparian

CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, HP-3, PPE-5
Grantee/Contractor: Harris County Precinct 1
Total Project Budget: $68,500
Project Period: September 2018 – August 2021
Project Description: The Clear Creek Riparian Restoration project aims to restore 15 acres of riparian forested areas along Clear Creek. Harris County Precinct 1, in partnership with the Bayou Preservation Association, will enhance habitat by performing invasive species removal at Challenger Seven Memorial Park in Harris County, Texas. Challenger Seven Memorial Park has extensive forested habitat (about 50 percent of the park’s 326 acres), with much of it experiencing degradation by invasive species. Project partners will focus on a riparian band of approximately 250 feet of forest along Clear Creek and its back bays.

Conservation Assistance Program (CAP)

Conservation Assistance Program

CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, HP-5, SP-1, SM-5, PPE-1
Grantee/Contractor: Galveston Bay Foundation
Total Project Budget: $600,000
Project Period: September 2017 – August 2023
Project Description: The overall goal of the CAP is to support the Estuary Program and its partners’ efforts to preserve wetlands and other important coastal habitats to protect the long-term health and productivity of Galveston Bay. The CAP will continue to accomplish these goals by:

  • identifying priority conservation properties with the help and consensus of conservation partners;
  • building funding strategies through grant identification, grant writing, and fundraising;
  • working with willing sellers to negotiate fee simple or conservation easement transactions;
  • carrying out legal, title, and other due diligence transaction support; and
  • finalizing the sale and transfer of title to a third-party organization or government entity.

Green Infrastructure for Texas – Freshwater Wetland Restoration

TX Agrilife Extension Logo

CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, NPS-1, NPS-2, PPE-1, PPE-5
Grantee/Contractor: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Total Project Budget: $120,146
Project Period: September 2017 – May 2020
Project Description: The goal of this project is to restore 320 acres of fallow farm field to prime freshwater wet prairie habitat at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in Chambers County, and conduct freshwater invasive species management at Armand Bayou Nature Center in Harris County, Texas.

Sylvan Rodriguez Habitat Restoration Project

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CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, SP-1, SP-10
Grantee/Contractor: City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department
Total Project Budget: $100,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: The Sylvan Rodriguez Habitat Restoration Project will restore 23 acres of forested habitat within Sylvan Rodriguez Park. Habitat will be enhanced in the lower Galveston Bay watershed by performing invasive species removal, planting native trees and shrubs, and the installation of 100 feet of boardwalk for public access. The project will utilize subcontractors, interns, and community volunteers to complete work.

Kemah Living Shoreline Habitat Protection and Restoration

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CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, HP-9, SC-1
Grantee/Contractor: City of Kemah
Total Project Budget: $100,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: The Kemah Living Shoreline Habitat Protection and Restoration Project aims to restore estuarine habitats, including estuarine intertidal marshes, while protecting coastal upland habitats on Galveston Bay in the City of Kemah, through the installation of rock/rip-rap wave breaks and native marsh vegetation. In partnership with the landowner, the Galveston Bay Foundation, and the City of Kemah will conduct a project to restore previously present native estuarine habitats that provide ecosystem functions, such as habitat for fish and wildlife, shoreline stabilization, water quality improvement, and flood protection.

Monitoring and Research (M&R)

Nutrient and Sediment Monitoring of the Lower San Jacinto River

CCMP Actions Implemented: FW-1-3
Grantee/Contractor: United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Total Project Budget: $80,000
Project Period: September 2017- May 2021
Project Description: To fully understand nutrient and sediment delivery into the estuary, the San Jacinto River, the second largest inflow to Galveston Bay, needs to be characterized. To do this, the USGS will:

  • Measure discharge of the Trinity River to establish the potential of installing an index-velocity streamflow station on the San Jacinto River;
  • Collect water quality samples from the San Jacinto River over a range of hydrologic conditions to better understand the variability of nutrient and sediment concentrations in freshwater inflows; and
  • Evaluate the potential for developing continuous regression models based on surrogate parameters to estimate nutrient and sediment concentrations in the San Jacinto River.

Characterization of the Influence of Freshwater Inflow on Trinity River Delta Indicators

Characterization Of The Influence Of Freshwater
Photo provided by Environmental Institute of Houston

CCMP Actions Implemented: FW-1, FW-3, FW-7
Grantee/Contractor: University of Houston-Clear Lake / Environmental Institute of Houston
Total Project Budget: $60,000
Project Period: September 2017 – March 2020
Project Description: The objective of this project is to quantify the influence of freshwater inflow on the Trinity River delta salinity regime and indicator biota. This is a comprehensive study that includes two components: 1) establishment of a network of shallow automated salinity monitoring sites, and 2) an on the ground inventory of submerged aquatic vegetation and Rangia clams.

Galveston Bay Intertidal Oyster Reef Mapping and Analysis

CCMP Actions Implemented: SP-1-5, RSC-2
Grantee/Contractor: University of Houston
Total Project Budget: $64,883
Project Period: September 2018 – October 2020
Project Description: This project seeks to create a complete GIS database of oyster reef habitat in Galveston Bay while simultaneously assessing intertidal oyster population dynamics and community structure on selected reefs. Intertidal oyster shell reef locations in Galveston Bay have not been mapped on a large scale in the last 20 years. After obtaining GIS files of possible reef locations, ground-truthing will be conducted on a sample of locations to validate the analysis and collect current elevation data. On a sample of the mapped intertidal reefs, oyster population characteristics will be assessed. Additionally, the benthic associated macrofauna will be excavated and community composition determined. This community analysis will not only indicate the value of Galveston Bay intertidal reefs as habitat, but also provide a relative indication of the value of this habitat type for mobile nekton and birds.

Characterizing PCBs and Dioxins in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay Post Harvey

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CCMP Actions Implemented: WSQ-4
Grantee/Contractor: University of Houston
Total Project Budget: $60,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: Two observations after Hurricane Harvey motivate this study: (i) some parts of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay exhibited higher sediment concentrations of dioxin and PCBs after the hurricane relative to historic levels, and (ii) it has been reported that the protective cap on the San Jacinto River Waste Pits site incurred failures during the hurricane, potentially exposing waste material in the pits to the San Jacinto River waters. The main goal for this study is to expand the sampling scope beyond the five-mile limit of a previous Galveston Bay Foundation fish and crab dioxin and PCB study to encompass the remainder of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay system as applicable and appropriate.

Heavy Metals and Lead Isotopes in Galveston Bay Waters, Sediments and Oysters

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CCMP Actions Implemented: WSQ-2
Grantee/Contractor: University of Houston
Total Project Budget: $133,668
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: Galveston Bay is an anthropogenic estuary, where industrial runoff, wastewater, and shipping oil enter the bay in incoming freshwaters. These polluted freshwaters can contain heavy metals, either dissolved in the waters or absorbed onto inflowing sediments, which can be toxic for humans and pelagic/benthic communities in the bay. Together lead isotope and heavy metal concentration data will highlight areas with elevated pollutant levels and provide insight into pollutant mobility. This study proposes lead isotope compositions and heavy metal concentrations be determined for Galveston Bay waters, sediments and oysters to evaluate the toxicity of the bay and identify types of industrial pollution sources.

Water and Sediment Quality (WSQ)

Green Infrastructure for Texas (GIFT)

GIFT

CCMP Actions Implemented: HP-1, NPS-1, 2, PPE-1, PPE-5
Grantee/Contractor: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service / Texas Community Watershed Partners
Total Project Budget: $111,697
Project Period: September 2017 – February 2020
Project Description: Under this project, stormwater treatment wetlands will be developed in three areas where partnerships have already been initiated; an 8,500-square foot basin on the MD Anderson Cancer Center campus in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, a three and half acre basin on the Brazosport College campus in Lake Jackson, and five acres of wetlands at Exploration Green Recreation Area in Clear Lake City. In addition, this project will monitor freshwater wetland restoration at Sheldon Lake State Park. The goal of the vegetation monitoring focuses on understanding how the plant community changes by season and with time (post initial planting). Sampling has been conducted on a quarterly basis since 2003.

Bacterial Source Tracking (BST)

Photo provided by Ed Rhodes, TWRI

CCMP Actions Implemented: NPS-3, WSQ-1
Grantee/Contractor: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service /Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI)
Total Project Budget: $240,000
Project Period: September 2017 – August 2020
Project Description: Through this project, a water quality monitoring regime will be employed that will help decision makers make appropriate recommendations for addressing the bacteria impairments in Buffalo, Double, Cedar, and Dickinson bayous and Clear Creek. Monthly sampling will be conducted by TWRI at one site on each waterbody for 12 months. Field parameters collected will include pH, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. E. coli will be prepared for BST analysis and TWRI will collect approximately 75 known source samples from the local watersheds to improve the accuracy of the BST results. Known source sample isolates will be archived in the Texas E. coli BST library.

Highland Bayou Watershed Protection Plan (WPP)

Highland Bayou Watershed Protection Plan
Photo by Valeria Rodriguez, TCWP

CCMP Actions Implemented: NPS–3, WSQ-1
Grantee/Contractor: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Coastal Watershed Program
Total Project Budget: $68,392
Project Period: September 2018 – May 2020
Project Description: Highland and Marchand bayous sometimes experience periods of low dissolved oxygen and high bacteria levels, which can result in adverse wildlife habitat conditions and can be harmful to human health. All the state’s assessments since 2002 have classified multiple segments within Highland Bayou and Marchand Bayou as impaired for these constituents of concern. The goal of this project is to update the Highland Bayou WPP to include load reduction estimates which incorporate flow data for both bacteria and dissolved oxygen, and to shepherd the WPP through the TCEQ and EPA Region 6 approval process.

Occurrence of Microplastics in Tributaries to Galveston Bay

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CCMP Actions Implemented: NPS–3, WSQ-1
Grantee/Contractor: United States Geological Survey
Total Project Budget: $75,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2021
Project Description: Litter and trash, such as plastics, is an issue of concern in Galveston Bay and its tributaries. Microplastics, which are plastic particles less than five mm in diameter, are of increasing concern. These small particles, which are derived from degradation or mechanical breakdown of larger plastic objects or particles, are introduced to waterways through urban runoff and wastewater effluent. The goal of this project is to quantify and categorize microplastics in select watersheds draining to Galveston Bay. To date, no studies that assess the occurrence and abundance of microplastics in the tributaries of Galveston Bay have been published. Data collected for this project will contribute to providing a baseline assessment that can serve as the foundation for future study and abatement.

Targeted Bacteria Monitoring Project

TX Agrilife Extension Logo

CCMP Actions Implemented: NPS-1, NPS-2, NPS-3, PH-3, RSC-2, PPE-7
Grantee/Contractor: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Water Resources Institute
Total Project Budget: $80,000
Project Period: September 2019 – August 2022
Project Description: The goal of the Targeted Bacteria Monitoring Project is to reduce bacteria concentrations in impaired streams in the Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) project area. The objectives are to: (1) investigate bacteria sources in the most bacteria-impaired waterways in the BIG project area; and (2) work with local jurisdictions to reduce or eliminate those sources. This project focuses only on the most impaired assessment units with the aim to identify relative differences in bacteria levels for the purpose of narrowing down geographic locations of potential sources. When potential sources are identified, the information will be passed on to local authorities in a targeted monitoring report.

Pictures without a credit are either taken by Estuary Program staff or are free-use images from Wikipedia commons.

Shorthand Summary of the Action Items of The Galveston Bay Plan (1995)

HABITAT PROTECTION (HP)

HP-1 Restore, create, and protect wetlands
HP-2 Promote beneficial uses of dredged material
HP-3 Inventory/remediate degraded wetlands
HP-4 Coordinate system-wide regulatory strategy
HP-5 Acquire and protect quality wetlands
HP-6 Develop economic and tax incentive programs
HP-7 Facilitate bird nesting on existing sites
HP-8 Build nesting islands using dredged material
HP-9 Reduce erosional impacts

SPECIES POPULATION PROTECTION (SP)

SP-1 Strengthen species management
SP-2 Return oyster shell to the bay
SP-3 Develop oyster reefs using alternate materials
SP-4 Set aside reef habitat for research or preserves
SP-5 Develop gear to reduce commercial bycatch
SP-6 Educate about catch and release
SP-7 Investigate reducing impingement and entrainment
SP-8 Develop plans for endangered or threatened species
SP-9 Enforce prohibitions against exotic species
SP-10 Identify and implement controls for exotic species

WATER/SEDIMENT QUALITY STANDARDS (WSQ)

WSQ-1 Reduce contaminant concentrations
WSQ-2 Determine sources of ambient toxicity
WSQ-3 Establish sediment quality criteria
WSQ-4 Perform TMDL loading studies for toxics
WSQ-5 Support Clean Texas 2000 Pollution Prevention Program
WSQ-6 Reduce Nutrient and Biochemical Oxygen Demand Loadings
WSQ-7 Perform TMDL loading studies for oxygen demand and nutrients

NONPOINT SOURCES OF POLLUTION (NPS)

NPS-1 Implement stormwater programs for municipalities
NPS-2 Perform pilot projects for best management practices
NPS-3 Identify and correct pollutant problems
NPS-4 Establish residential load reduction programs
NPS-5 Correct malfunctioning septic tanks
NPS-6 Implement NPS reduction plan for new development
NPS-7 Establish roadway planning for NPS
NPS-8 Implement National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater program for industries
NP5-9 Prevent known industrial groundwater plumes
NPS-10 Develop inventory of agricultural NPS
NPS-11 Implement agricultural NPS programs
NPS-12 Adopt NPS construction standards
NPS-13 Control toxics and nutrients at construction sites
NPS-14 Require sewage pumpout, storage, and treatment
NP5-15 Require use of marine sanitary chemicals that can be treated
NPS-16 Implement washdown controls and containment measures

POINT SOURCES OF POLLUTION (PS)

PS-1 Locate and delineate bypass and overflow problems
PS-2 Eliminate or reduce bypass overflow problems
PS-3 Regionalize small wastewater treatment systems
P5-4 Improve compliance monitoring and enforcement for small dischargers
PS-5 Implement dry-weather illegal connection program
PS-6 Issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Coastal General Permit

SPILLS/DUMPING (SD)

SD-1 Facilitate Natural Resource Damage Assessments
SD-2 Identify simplified damage assessment procedures for small oil spills
SD-3 Facilitate restoration after spill damage
SD-4 Facilitate cleanup by advance shoreline characterization
SD-5 Improve trash management
SD-6 Remove trash from stormwater discharge
SD-7 Publicize harm caused by illegal dumping

SHORELINE MANAGEMENT (SM)

SM-1 Establish shoreline development planning
SM-2 Identify residential shoreline development guidelines
SM-3 Identify commercial shoreline development guidelines
SM-4 Minimize negative effects of structures and dredging on public land
SM-5 Improve shoreline access

FRESHWATER INFLOW (FW)

FW-1 Determine freshwater inflow needs
FW-2 Expand streamflow, sediment loading, and rainfall monitoring
FW-3 Establish strategies to meet freshwater inflow needs
FW-4 Establish inflow regulations
FW-5 Explore means of providing sediment to the bay
FW-6 Reduce water consumption
FW-7 Evaluate effects of channels and structures

PUBLIC HEALTH PROTECTION (PH)

PH-1 Develop a seafood consumption safety program
PH-2 Enhance the Texas Department of Health shellfish program
PH-3 Develop a contact recreation advisory program

RESEARCH ACTION PLAN (RSC)

RSC-1 Establish a research coordination board
RSC-2 Identify research needs
RSC-3 Continue State of the Bay process
RSC-4 Increase funding for bay research

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION/EDUCATION (PPE)

PPE-1 Establish citizen involvement as essential
PPE-2 Continue State of the Bay Symposia
PPE-3 Implement adult education and outreach programs
PPE-4 Develop curricula for school districts
PPE-5 Develop volunteer opportunities
PPE-6 Maintain a citizen pollution reporting system
PPE-7 Inform, educate, and support local government involvement
PPE-8 Assist user groups affected by implementation of the Galveston Bay Plan