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2015

ANNUAL REPORT


TABLE OF CONTENTS From our President

03

Education & Outreach

05 - 07

Habitat Restoration & Protection

08 - 10

Water Quality & Quantity

12 - 14

Advocacy

16 - 18

Land Conservation & Stewardship

19 - 21

Awards

22

GBF Financials

23


L ast year was an exciting year for the Galveston Bay Foundation, and I am proud to share with you what we

from our president

accomplished. We released the Galveston Bay Report Card, an easy­to­understand, science­based evaluation of the health of the Bay; permanently protected over 1,700 acres of land; and connected thousands of people to our Bay. We couldn't have done it without your support and are thankful to those of you who live, work or play on the Bay and who joined us in our efforts to protect clean water, preserve and restore habitat and ensure an adequate supply of freshwater in Galveston Bay as our region and state grow so quickly. This report talks about what we accomplished in 2015 and the milestones we achieved that show a lasting impact on our Bay. What we did last year and what we do today helps ensure that our kids and their kids can enjoy the same healthy Bay in the future that we enjoy today. Thanks again for your support!  

Bob Stokes President, Galveston Bay Foundation 


mission of the Galveston Bay Foundation is to preserve T he and enhance Galveston Bay as a healthy and productive place for generations to come.


"We are the next generation and if we don't help the environment now, then there won't be anything left for us to experience." -Kate Hamkaner, Anahuac High School Student


EDUCATION & OUTREACH GROWING BAY STEWARDS GBF’s education programs provide science-based environmental education focused on Galveston Bay. The goal of the programs are to develop a knowledgeable constituency, ranging from school children to public officials, which recognizes the positive quality-of-life benefits that a healthy Galveston Bay system provides for the entire Houston-Galveston region.

PROGRAMS, WORKSHOPS & EVENTS:

EDUCATE

-Bay Ambassadors -Get Hip to Habitat -Get Wet! Workshop for Teachers -Bike Around the Bay -Bay Day Festival


EDUCATION & OUTREACH

2015 milestones Delivered Bay Ambassador presentations to 2,746 students at 32 schools/organizations Served 1,949 students at 22 schools in the 2014­15 Get Hip to Habitat year and kicked off the 2015­16 school year with 19 participating schools Provided professional development training opportunities to 24 educators Hosted Bay Day Festival at the Kemah Boardwalk with 30 exhibits, support from 51 volunteers, and an estimated attendance of over 5,000 visitors  Hosted the ninth annual Bike Around the Bay event sponsored by Shell with more than 1,150 registered cyclists and support from over 300 volunteers


One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.


HABITAT RESTORATION & PROTECTION ENSURING FUTURE HABITAT GBF's habitat restoration and protection initiatives focus on three areas - protecting vulnerable habitats from erosion or habitat conversion; restoring lost or degraded wetlands, oyster reefs, and bird rookery habitats; and removing marine debris. Many of these efforts are communitybased and allow the public to have a hand in healthy habitats.

PROGRAMS, PROJECTS & EVENTS: -Oyster Lake Habitat Restoration & Protection Project -Restaurants to Reefs Program: Oyster Shell Recycling, Oyster Gardening, and Reef Restoration -Derelict Vessel Removal -Marsh Mania -Abandoned Crab Trap Removal -Trash Bash


HABITAT RESTORATION & PROTECTION

2015 milestones Completed the Oyster Lake Shoreline Protection project, protecting over 5,200 feet of severely eroding shoreline Created, restored and enhanced approximately 50 acres of freshwater wetlands and adjacent prairie habitat at GBF’s Rich Sanctuary as part of the Wetland Reserve Program Created a 30­acre freshwater wetland for waterfowl and enhanced over 200 acres of existing man­made wetlands on the Austin Bayou Woods property and GBF's Rich Sanctuary Reclaimed an estimated 156 tons of oyster shells from restaurants participating in the Oyster Shell Recycling Program Created over 230 feet of oyster bar breakwaters along Sweetwater Lake, utilizing approximately 44 tons of oyster shell from the recycling program

Completed three private landowner living shoreline projects and one at a county park and moved a fifth one through the permitting process Removed 19 abandoned and derelict vessels from all around Galveston Bay Hosted marsh grass planting events, including Marsh Mania events in the fall and spring, at Beach City, Anahuac, Galveston and Texas City where volunteers planted 1.3 acres of estuarine intertidal marsh Hosted TPWD’s annual Abandoned Crab Trap Removal event at the Fort Anahuac Park site and removed 147 crab traps from Trinity Bay Hosted Trash Bash at Bay Area Park, collecting an estimated 3.4 tons of trash, recyclables and compostable materials as well as 53 tires from the Armand Bayou watershed


3,322 volunteers helped GBF with projects in 2015.


"We all need to work towards making Galveston Bay safe and enjoyable for the people who use it." -David Bulliner, Volunteer Water Quality Lab Technician


WATER QUALITY & QUANTITY

KEEPING GALVESTON BAY FISHABLE AND SWIMMABLE Our water programs provide opportunities for citizens, organizations, businesses and cities to take action so that the Bay’s water remains fishable and swimmable. GBF's Water Programs Team monitors the health of the Bay through collaborative planning, community action, and policy work.

PROGRAMS, PROJECTS & CAMPAIGNS -Volunteer Water Monitoring Team -Rain Barrel Workshops -Pump Don't Dump Campaign -Cease the Grease Campaign -Galveston Bay Action Network -Dockwalker Program -Texas Living Waters Project


WATER QUALITY & QUANTITY

2015 milestones Hosted nine Rain Barrel Workshops and distributed 423 rain barrels and kits, potentially reducing 468,750 gallons of stormwater runoff from reaching Galveston Bay 

Continued fostering the Water Monitoring Team, represented (at year­end) by 32 volunteers who sample from 37 sites, including 16 who sample for Enterococcus bacteria from 21 sites

Launched the Cease the Grease campaign with over 15 participating partners

Contributed to the development of an easy­to­use Citizen Science Data Portal for the entire Gulf of Mexico in partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)

Created and debuted the Galveston Bay Action Network pollution reporting tool that allows the public to report incidences of pollution around the Bay and automatically forwards those reports to authorities in charge of response/enforcement Completed the first draft of the application to designate Galveston Bay as a No Discharge Zone

TCEQ approved the Galveston Bay Bacteria Reduction Plan after GBF led stakeholders to develop it over the course of six years.


In 2015, GBF implemented the Galveston Bay Dolphin Research And Conservation Program in partnership with the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and launched the adopt-adolphin program.


"There is no safe level of dioxin to consume." -Scott Jones, GBF Director of Advocacy on cancer-causing toxins in the San Jacinto River Waste Pits


ADVOCACY WATCHING OVER YOUR BAY GBF’s advocacy program allows us to serve as the watchdog for Galveston Bay. GBF reviews numerous projects and actively participates in the public review of those projects by attending public meetings and submitting written public comments. The overarching goal is to encourage and actively seek solutions to conflicts among the diverse users of the Bay. We attempt to balance the multiple uses of Galveston Bay so that the long-term interests of the Bay itself are not compromised.

Scott Jones, GBF Director of Advocacy

PROJECTS, ADVISORIES & LOBBYING AREAS -Galveston Bay Report Card -San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site -Seafood Consumption Advisories -Wetland Permit Review


ADVOCACY

2015 milestones Debuted the inaugural Galveston Bay Report Card, with the Bay earning an overall grade of “C”

The volunteer Wetland Permit Review Committee ­ active for a consecutive 26 years ­ reviewed 42 applications for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits and provided letters of concern or comments on 17 of them


Over the past 25 years, GBF has partnered with private landowners, governmental agencies, local businesses, and charitable foundations to permanently protect 7,684 acres of coastal habitat within the Galveston Bay watershed.


LAND CONSERVATION & STEWARDHIP

MANAGING OUR LAND GBF is an accredited land trust and protects natural areas by acquiring real estate and partnering with landowners to establish conservation easements on private lands. GBF has a responsibility to steward our protected properties in a way that promotes high quality habitats and clean water for our Bay. Volunteers are encouraged to join us for “stewardship workdays” to help care for our land.

GBF'S CONSERVED PROPERTIES FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIES Shipe Woods, Chambers County Rich Sanctuary, Chambers County Pierce Marsh, Galveston County Sweetwater, Galveston County Frost-Deen Sanctuary, Galveston County Texas City Preserve, Galveston County Burnet Bay, Harris County Wright Preserve, Galveston County Cotton Bayou, Chambers County Trinity Bay Center, Chambers County

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS Sunset Cove, Galveston County Crystal Dunes, Galveston County Moore Wildlife Sanctuary, Galveston County Melinda's Marsh, Galveston County Turtle Bayou, Chambers County Celanese, Harris County Exploration Green, Harris County Lone Pine Farm, Brazoria County Greens Bayou, Harris County Gordy Marsh, Chambers County

Fee simple – GBF has complete ownership of the tract of land. Conservation easement – A voluntary legal agreement between a land trust (GBF) and a landowner.


LAND CONSERVATION & LAND CONSERVATION & STEWARDHIP STEWARDHIP

2015 milestones Allocated Knobloch Family Foundation funds to members of the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation to help pay for due diligence costs associated with 20 land acquisition projects targeting Deepwater Horizon settlement funds for the proposed conservation of more than 28,000 acres across all five Gulf States Finalized a comprehensive plan for the Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve in Chambers County to guide future habitat management and public access projects. Initiated priority public access improvements and habitat management practices in preparation for the 2016 grand opening.

Purchased a conservation easement to permanently protect more than 1,700 acres of high quality coastal wetland and prairie habitat known as Gordy Marsh near Smith Point in Chambers County

Acquired a conservation easement on a 675­acre tract that is part of Harris County Flood Control District’s mitigation bank near Greens Bayou in northeast Houston that serves to offset wetland impacts associated with future flood control efforts in Harris County


2015 awards Honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program with the 2nd Place Civic/Nonprofit Gulf Guardian Award in recognition of outstanding environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico

Honored by the Armand Bayou Nature Center with the Armand Yramategui Conservation Award, an award that has previously only been given once before, to Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1987 upon the dedication of the Lady Bird Trail at the nature center Bob Stokes (right), GBF President, accepts the Armand Yramategui Conservation Award.


GBF'S FINANCIALS

Making every dollar count


GBF's 2015 Annual Report