TWRI and a coalition of groups has been given the green light to draft a watershed protection plan for the Petronila and San Fernando Creek watershed. This watershed feeds the Baffin Bay of southeastern Texas.
Texas Sea Grant
The Texas Sea Grant College Program is a collaboration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Texas and universities across the state. They are headquartered at Texas A&M University in College Station, but their extension agents are stationed in communities all along the Texas coast. Their mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.
Beginning in September 2019, Texas Sea Grant began working with local stakeholders in the Baffin Bay watershed to bring informational resources to the area and learn more about local water quality and potential best management practices to improve future resource management. The project aimed to garner local support from residents and stakeholders in the region to pursue a full watershed protection plan (WPP) and will culminate in a final report, available Summer 2021, that will help inform WPP development.
In this project, Sea Grant will continue engaging watershed stakeholders and contribute to WPP development. Learn more about their efforts at:
Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program
The Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is a local, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to researching, restoring and protecting the bays and estuaries of the Texas Coastal Bend, while supporting continued economic growth and public use of the bays.
CBBEP currently co-facilitates the Baffin Bay Stakeholder Group with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Their efforts initiated activity that will ultimately lead to the development of a WPP for the Baffin Bay and its subsequent implementation. CBBEP will continue to engage watershed stakeholders and assist with facilitating stakeholder input to the WPP development process. To learn more about CBBEP and their efforts in the Baffin Bay watershed, visit: https://www.cbbep.org/baffin-bay/.
Nueces River Authority
The Nueces River Authority (NRA) was created in 1935 to manage, develop and protect the water resources of the Nueces River Basin. In this role, they serve as a Texas Clean Rivers Program partner and conduct water quality monitoring activities across their service area. They also extend this monitoring into adjacent basins including the Baffin Bay. NRA currently monitors four sites quarterly in the Baffin Bay watershed and also conducts other special project monitoring as funding allows.
NRA will support WPP development by collecting additional water quality data in Petronila and San Fernando creeks over the course of one year. They will also participate as a key watershed stakeholder during WPP development discussions.
To learn more about the NRA and their monitoring program, visit http://www.nueces-ra.org/.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi – Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies
The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi seeks to find science-driven solutions for Gulf of Mexico problems in order to advance its long-term sustainable use and conservation.
The mission of the Coastal Ecosystem Processes lab is to provide a sound scientific basis for stakeholder-led efforts aimed at solving coastal water quality challenges. They have actively engaged with local volunteers to collect rigorous water quality data in Baffin Bay and have conducted analyses to better understand the drivers of water quality degradation. These efforts were instrumental in invigorating the local stakeholder community to form the Baffin Bay Stakeholder Group.
HRI will continue to engage watershed stakeholders during the WPP development process and will play a critical advisory role for data assessment and WPP content development.
To learn more about HRI, visit https://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/.
The Coastal Ecosystem Processes research program overview is available at https://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/research/coastal-ecosystem-processes.
Dr. Lucas Gregory currently serves as an assistant director and quality assurance officer for TWRI.
Clare Entwistle Escamilla, TWRI research specialist, provides leadership for various research and extension projects, working with university faculty, state, local and federal governments and stakeholders, to address statewide water related issues.