Welcome to our January edition of HARC news. Each month we include a variety of blogs, featured projects, and researcher updates to provide a look inside HARC.
The Galveston Bay Foundation (“GBF”) and HARC are partnering to provide citizens the new Galveston Bay Report Card that will feature critical information on the health of Galveston Bay, one of the most important and productive bays in the country. Through a generous $720,000 grant from Houston Endowment, the Galveston Bay Report Card will provide the public with citizen-driven, science-based measures to assess the health of the bay. The report card will discuss topics such as the status of key habitats (e.g. wetlands, seagrass, oyster reefs), fish and wildlife populations, trends in water quality of local bayous and the bay, and impacts of coastal change and sea level rise.
The Galveston Bay Report Card will provide answers to the questions that citizens and stakeholders often ask, such as:
- Where can I fish in the bay?
- Is it safe to eat Galveston Bay fish and shellfish?
- Is the water clean? Has it gotten cleaner or dirtier over the years?
- Can I swim in the bay’s waters?
The Galveston Bay Report Card will use a novel approach to base the development of scientific indicators on what the public wants to know about the bay and surrounding watershed. To determine what citizens would like to know about Galveston Bay, GBF and HARC will utilize web and social media to reach out to community leaders, members of the public, and stakeholders, including boaters, fishermen, educators, and civic groups to determine their interests, thus making the Galveston Bay Report Card useful to all who live near, use and enjoy the bay.
The goal of the Galveston Bay Report Card, scheduled to be released in early 2015, is to promote the conservation of Galveston Bay’s natural resources and to increase public participation in the creation of and support for management strategies that protect the bay.