Managing Galveston Bay: issues and alternatives: public discussion summary. Draft
Galveston Bay National Estuary Program
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Galveston Bay is many things to many people. It's the largest estuary in Texas with 600 square miles of mostly shallow, brackish water that is home to hundreds of species of birds, fish and other wildlife. Like most estuaries, it is the place where a major river (the Trinity) meets the sea. Salt marshes shimmer in the sun along the shoreline; dolphins glide through the deeper waters; pelicans and terns dive for food. It is also home to more than three million people in the adjacent five county area -- people who like to go boating and fishing in the Bay, and build homes along its shore. But those people also drive cars and fertilize lawns and contribute to the wasterwater discharged into Galveston Bay. Many of those people make a living refining oil or producing petrochemicals in the plants along Galveston Bay -- products everyone in the United States depends on at some point every day. All of those people -- and millions around the world -- depend on the Port of Houston and the products carried up and down the Houston Ship Channel. People eat seafood or use products made from marine organisms that live in an estuary at some point in their life cycle. Galveston Bay is a study in contrasts -- and those contrasts are the reason comprehensive ecosystem mangement is vital to the survival of Galveston Bay, and all who benefit from it.