Tag Archives: Galveston Bay

Don’t cut off water to Galveston Bay, TCEQ Commissioners

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.

Read more here.

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

What? You didn’t!

The thing that keeps me hopeful when the Texas Legislature and the TCEQ do things like they did yesterday, is knowing that people often do the right thing despite the Legislature and TCEQ.  There’s hope that rationality could prevail.

So what happened yesterday?

The TCEQ passed a terrible environmental flows rule and the State House of Representatives passed a terrible TCEQ Sunset bill.

First, Environmental Flows…

TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia did the right thing!  Feel free to thank him with an email – bgarcia@tceq.texas.gov

The other two TCEQ Commissioners, Chair Bryan Shaw and Carlos Rubinstein tried to break our hearts with a terrible new environmental flows rule that leaves our friends the oysters, the shrimp and the fishing and tourism industries of the Texas coast too salty for life.  Need more info. so that you can make a comment on Matt Tresaugue’s Houston Chronicle article?  Here’s what Ken Kramer, Director  of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club says about the decision yesterday.

At today’s Commission meeting the public comments were strongly in favor of stronger standards, and those comments came from a diversity of folks – oystermen, seafood restaurant owners, seafood wholesalers, the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Coastal Conservation Association of Texas (recreational anglers), National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club. A few comments were made in favor of weak standards by representatives of water supply interests, who thus far have sought to stonewall or control the process for development of standards so as to avoid any meaningful environmental protections.

Read more.  Ken pointed to the large river systems authorities — the Trinity River Authority and Sabine River Authority as being the groups that blocked a meaningful result.  Now Texans have to disregard the TCEQ’s poor rule and make wise initiatives to leave enough water in the rivers to make it to the bays and estuaries.

What else could have happened yesterday?

Readers stay tuned for…What?  You didn’t! Part II…on the Texas State House of Representatives vote on the TCEQ Sunset bill.

Posted by Donna Hoffman, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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