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Our resource guide is intended for everyone interested in the health of the Bay. Whether you’re a recreational fisherperson trying to find information about advisories, or a concerned citizen interested in the water quality, we’re here to connect you to the resources you need to make informed decisions around Galveston Bay.
To keep Galveston Bay as clean as possible, we need all hands on deck. That’s why we created the Galveston Bay Action Network (GBAN), an interactive tool for reporting pollution in Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Harris counties.
GBAN enables citizens to report pollution relating to sewage, abandoned vessels, discolored water, fish kill, septic systems, trash and debris, and more. Once a report has been submitted, it’s then sent directly to the appropriate authorities to take action.
This project is funded in part by a Texas Coastal Management Program Grant approved by the Texas Land Commissioner pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA17NOS4190139, and by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program Grant Number 00D43916.
Download the Galveston Bay Action Network mobile app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
Oil spills have devastating and far-reaching implications for coastal environments, including harm to wildlife, fish, and the overall health of the ecosystem.
If you see an oil spill, please contact:
Contact Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Reporting: (800) 832-8224
If you encounter injured wildlife, this page has helpful information and resources to connect you to the appropriate organization to help care for a variety of injured animals. Thank you for protecting our Texas wildlife!
DO call the local Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-800-9-MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625), even if the animal is dead. Valuable research about these animals and our environment can still be gained.
DO NOT return the animal to the water. They are stranded for a reason, usually being sick or injured. Keep people and pets away from the animal. Do not leave the animal, they may need comfort or help keeping themselves upright.
DO immediately report all sea turtles by calling The local NOAA Fisheries’ Stranding Hotline at 1-866-TURTLE5 (1-866-887-8535).
DO NOT attempt to remove any line or hooks. Do not lift a turtle out of the water by pulling on the line. If you catch a turtle on a fishing line, use a dip net to lift it out of the water.
Report any injured, sick, and orphaned native wild animals in the Greater Houston/Upper Gulf Coast area to the Wildlife Center of Texas. They are open 7 days a week and can be reached by phone at 713-861-WILD (713 861 9453).
If you are in Galveston County, the Galveston County Injured Bird Response Team is a group of local citizens who mobilize to help injured birds and communicate through this Facebook Page.
If you see a fish or wildlife kill or suspect a pollution event, call Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Emergency Reporting line at 281 842 8100.
Prompt notification is the key to a successful investigation. The sooner the proper authorities arrive, the better the chances they will be able to collect useful evidence.
Seafood Consumption Advisories
While Galveston Bay is an excellent place to fish, it’s important to stay informed on the latest consumption advisories. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issues seafood consumption advisories when tests on fish and shellfish indicate there is an increased risk to human health from the presence of toxic pollutants.
This map shows the seafood consumption advisories that are currently in place in the Galveston Bay system and its tributaries. There are four distinct advisory areas and each has its own set of affected species, contaminants of concern, and consumption advice.
When fish and crab eat, they consume toxic pollutants in tainted sediment, water or prey. Toxins exist in our environment because of rainfall runoff from land, spills, leaks and improper disposal of industrial wastes.
Toxins can then accumulate in the fish or crab, especially in fatty areas, glands, and organs. This process is called bioaccumulation. Fish that have higher fat content—such as spotted seatrout and catfish—are typically subject to more stringent advisories than less fatty fish, such as red drum, black drum, croaker, and flounder.
Exposure to toxins like dioxins and PCBs can cause a range of illness from skin rashes to immune system and nerve disorders to liver damage and increased risk of cancer. These toxins also pose a risk of birth defects and the development of children. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has more information on dioxins and PCBs.
There are no DSHS seafood consumption advisories on shrimp, oysters, or clams, but harvesting molluscan shellfish is illegal in DSHS-designated “Prohibited Areas” that are close to sewage treatment plant discharge locations or other areas with a high potential of unsafe levels of a pollutant, such as the Houston Ship Channel and San Jacinto River upstream of Morgan’s Point.
You can find maps of shellfish harvest areas on the DSHS Texas Shellfish Harvest Area Viewer.
Do your best to follow the advisories you see here for consumption of the species listed in these areas. Try to eat a variety of species from a number of waterbodies, or smaller, younger fish that have accumulated fewer toxins in their bodies. You can also clean and cook fish or crab to avoid eating fatty portions. For even more detailed information on specific advisories, visit the DSHS Seafood and Aquatic Life Group webpage.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Houston -Galveston Area Council have initiated total maximum daily load projects for the Houston Ship Channel, San Jacinto River, Upper Galveston Bay, and Galveston Bay to pinpoint sources of dioxins and PCBs and develop a plan to reduce them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing a cleanup of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site, one source of dioxin in the San Jacinto River and Galveston Bay. Galveston Bay Foundation has also partnered with University of Houston to test fish for dioxins.
For more information on the seafood consumption advisories, please see DSHS Seafood and Aquatic Life Group and/or contact:
Galveston Bay Foundation: Scott Jones at 281 332 3381 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Department of State Health Services: Kirk Wiles at 512 834 6757 or email@example.com.
We love our volunteers! They’re the heart and soul of the Galveston Bay Foundation, and they’re a vital part of the ongoing success of the projects that support the Galveston Bay estuarine system. By volunteering with the Galveston Bay Foundation, you gain valuable field training and experience in environmental conservation and restoration, earn volunteer credit, satisfy employer volunteer opportunities, and increase your knowledge of Galveston Bay.