This is an exciting time for residents of the Houston-Galveston region. Our cities are growing, our economy is strong, and there is more interest than ever before in healthy air, water and land in our communities. 

Citizen-science programs and social media are bringing people and research entities together. The Galveston Bay Foundation and Houston Advanced Research Center have launched the first phase of the Galveston Bay Report Card, and are seeking your input about bay health. 

The outcome of surveys and written comments will be used to determine which issues are of the most importance to the community, and will guide the selection of indicators to be used in the report card, to inform the public about the status of the bay.

Indicators will represent topics such as trends in key habitats and wildlife populations, water quality in local bayous and the bay, and impacts of coastal change and sea level rise.

Galveston Bay is one of the most important and productive bays in the country. Approximately half of all Texans live within the Galveston Bay watershed, which includes the Trinity River from its origin in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the San Jacinto River and bayous and tributaries across the Houston-Galveston region that flow into the bay.

Galveston Bay is home to three major shipping ports (Houston, Galveston and Texas City), is a world-leader in refining and chemical manufacturing, supports a substantial commercial fishing industry, and affords residents and visitors countless recreational pursuits. A healthy Galveston Bay is crucial to ensuring quality of life for future generations. 

Information about the Galveston Bay Report Card is available online at www.galvbay.org/reportcard. You will find links to take the survey, submit comments, and to request a presentation about the project for a group, business or organization.

Participating in this process is meaningful because you can contribute your knowledge and experiences to a project that will help educate and engage others in taking actions that preserve the bay and its natural resources for future generations.

The public is invited to attend a free presentation about the Galveston Bay Report Card in Galveston at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UTMB Health at the Island Community Center, 4700 Broadway.

Attendees will learn about some of the critical issues facing Galveston Bay, and will have the opportunity to provide input about what they would like to see included in the report card

If you plan to attend, please call 409-763-5604 to help OLLI anticipate seating needs. 

The Galveston Bay Report Card has been made possible by a grant from Houston Endowment. The report card will be updated annually, providing citizens with a reliable source of scientific data about how the bay is responding to natural and man-made challenges and conservation efforts.

The first report card is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2015.

Anja Borski is the report card coordinator for the Galveston Bay Foundation.

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