The drought’s devastating impact on the Galveston Bay oyster industry has made national headlines. Chances are you’ve heard the news. Extremely salty conditions in the bay due to reduced river flows are causing oyster predators and disease to thrive, harming one of the state’s leading industries. However, this is only part of the story.
Friday, Norman Johns, with the National Wildlife Federation, Ken Kramer, with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Scott Jones, with Galveston Bay Foundation, andTracy Woody, an oysterman with Jeri’s Seafood spoke out in a plea in the Houston Chronicle — “Oystermen, seafood eaters, restaurant owners and anyone else who loves Galveston bay and relies on it for their livelihood should be warned.”
New TCEQ rules limiting environmental flows, unless revisited, will “allow water flowing into the bay to be reduced to a drought-level trickle on a regular basis.” And they ask concerned Texans to get involved in the same rule-making process that has begun for the bays further south on the Texas coast.
Johns, Kramer, Jones, and Woody ask —
So, where do we go from here?
First, TCEQ must revisit these rules and make them stronger.
Also, water rights holders should be encouraged to participate in voluntarily efforts to ensure sufficient water flows into Galveston Bay. Through strategies such as voluntary donation or sale of existing water rights to environmental purposes and dedication of wastewater return flows, we can make the best use of our existing water supply and protect the long-term health of the bay and our economy. We commend the city of Houston for its recent dedication of approximately half of its wastewater return flows to this purpose as a critical first step in this effort.
Secondly, TCEQ must not make the same poor decision as they did for the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers and Galveston Bay area by enacting insufficient flow rules in other Texas river and bay systems. In the coming months, the commissioners will consider regulations to protect fish and wildlife in Central Texas rivers and Matagorda, Lavaca, Mission, Copano, Aransas and San Antonio bays. We urge them to take this opportunity to protect these natural treasures by adopting strong environmental flow standards.
Please join us in delivering this message to the TCEQ – Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioners Carlos Rubinstein and Buddy Garcia.
Can you call or email the Commissioners today?
Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D. 512-239-5510
Commissioner Buddy Garcia, 512-239-5515
Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein, 512-239-5505
Posted by Donna Hoffman, September 19, 2011