7 Ways to Help From Home

In addition to supporting GBF through volunteerism, donating to our programs, or joining an event, there are many simple actions you can take from home that have a significant impact on the health of the bay.

1Conserve Water  – Galveston Bay relies on the right mix of salt and freshwater to support its ecosystems and there are many ways you can conserve water at home to allow for more water to the bay! By setting your sprinklers to run before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m., you help curb water lost to evaporation and help your energy bill. Limiting outdoor watering to only two times per week establishes healthy root systems and provides plenty of water to your grass in our climate. Fixing leaky pipes and faucets also help cutting down on wasting freshwater. Collecting rainwater by using rain barrels is an efficient, low-cost way of reusing water and reducing runoff into storm drains.

2Landscape Using Native Plants – There are many reasons to use native, drought tolerant, or WaterSmart plants in your landscapes and gardens: beauty, low maintenance, less need for watering, fertilizers, and pesticides.  And they provide food and shelter for our resident species of birds, furry creatures, and beneficial insects. Unlike many of the exotic and tropical plants typically available in the retail trade, native plants are suited to our climate. Less water and less pesticide usage means more clean, freshwater for the bay!

3Keep Grease and Oils Out of Your Drains – If you place fats, oils, and grease down your sink drain, you may be contributing to overflows of sewage into our bayous, streams, and Galveston Bay.  These substances can solidify in your home’s pipes and in the larger sewer system down the line, causing clogs, backups, and untreated sewage being discharged into our waterways.  You can help prevent this from happening!

The easiest way is to not put them down the drain in the first place.  Instead, place it in a container such as a coffee can and place it the trash.  Wipe out greasy or oily pans with a paper towel as much as you can before rinsing or washing.  Scrape food off of plates and place in the trash rather than down the garbage disposal.

4Live On the Bay? Participate in Oyster Gardening – Grow oysters off of your dock to provide ecosystem services (such as filtration) to help the water quality of the Bay. Once the oysters have developed, they can be distributed into parts of the bay to rebuild vital oyster reefs.

5Bag It For Your Bay – Pet waste contains bacteria that runs off of our lawns and streets when it rains and contributes to pollution of area waterways, making them unsuitable for swimming and other forms of contact recreation. It’s best to pick up after your pets as soon as possible, especially when you are walking them.

6Report Water Pollution Concerns – Activities such as spills, dumping of wastes, and illegal discharge of boat sewage have the potential to pollute our environment and threaten the health of people, plants, and animals and should be reported to the proper authorities. Reporting activities that negatively impact water quality, whether intentional or unintentional, can help protect Galveston Bay.

7Properly Dispose of Boat Trash and Sewage – Pump Don’t Dump! By discharging boater sewage into the water, disease-causing microorganisms may render the water unsuitable for swimming and recreational use. Additionally, sewage can lead to depressed oxygen levels resulting in fish kills. Also, keep a trash bag on your boat to properly collect and dispose of used items.