The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1987 under the laws of the State of Texas. The Foundation’s strength is that it involves a true cross-section of Bay interests to address issues and concerns related to Galveston Bay. It is managed by a strong Board of Directors whose members represent sport and commercial fishing groups, government agencies, recreational users, environmental groups, shipping, development, and business interests.
The mission of the Galveston Bay Foundation is to preserve and enhance Galveston Bay as a healthy and productive place for generations to come.
GBF’s advocacy programs allow GBF to serve as the guardian of 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. Its overarching goal is to encourage and actively seek solutions to conflicts among the diverse users of the Bay, and it attempts to balance the multiple uses of Galveston Bay so that the long-term interests of the Bay itself are not compromised. With its partners, GBF has successfully supported passage of state and federal legislation on behalf of the Bay: the Texas Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, the Texas Estuaries Act, the Texas Coastal Management Program, and the Federal Clean Waters and Estuary Restoration Act of 2000.
GBF’s conservation programs focus on wetlands preservation and restoration. The Galveston Bay system has lost over 35,000 acres of wetlands during the last fifty years, and GBF works closely with numerous partners to restore those lost wetlands across the Bay. Wetlands provide habitat for finfish and shellfish as well as rookery and foraging areas for birds. Wetlands filter water and naturally improve water quality, a critical function given the highly urbanized and industrial uses of Galveston Bay. They also stabilize shorelines and provide flood control, benefits that may be even more important to Houston area residents in the current “big storm” era.
GBF’s education programs provide science-based environmental education focused on Galveston Bay. The goal of the program is 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. Youth focused programs include the curriculum based “Bay Ambassadors” program, annual Children’s Art Calendar, and school based marsh grass nursery program “Get Hip to Habitat.” GBF’s annual “Bike Around the Bay” is a popular event that showcases the natural beauty of Galveston Bay while aiming to raise awareness and encourage area citizens to appreciate and visit the Bay.
GBF’s research programs focus on the monitoring of created wetlands, restored habitat, and near-shore water quality around Galveston Bay. Trained citizen scientists augment professional monitoring data and aid in watershed planning through GBF’s Water Monitoring Team, Bacteria Sampling Program, and Water Quality Internships. GBF also conducts research on the bottlenose dolphin population in upper Galveston Bay. The Foundation is actively engaged in discussion and planning on improving coastal resiliency and also advocates for the allocation of research dollars to the region to ensure the health of Galveston Bay and its users.