Heavy spring rains helped relieve the state of Texas from a drought that has affected wildlife and natural habitats since 2011. Thanks to the shift in weather patterns and higher water levels across the state, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department anticipates a significant improvement for nature tourism in Texas.

Even though some lakes are still considered less than full, there is more water available this summer for fun water-related activities such as boating, fishing, and birding. Galveston Bay – one of the most productive estuaries in Texas – is reaping benefits from the rain. The Houston region relies substantially on the Bay to contribute billions of dollars each year to the local economy through petrochemical and seafood production, as well as through recreational activities such as fishing, birding, boating, water sports, and nature photography.

Every summer, Texas families flock to Galveston Bay to enjoy the wildlife. Galveston Island State Park draws birdwatchers, kayakers, fishers, and campers. It is the only place on the island where one can walk from the beach to the Bay, and it is the largest parcel of land on Galveston Island dedicated to environmental education and recreational use.

“We have made a conscious decision to become an education park,” said Park Superintendent Trey Goodman. “Hundreds of Houston school groups visit our park each year to learn about the natural habitats and ways to protect them. We’re preserving the park for future generations.”

Wetland loss, pollution, and seafood contamination are harmful to the health of the Bay. Partners like the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, state parks, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are ramping up their efforts to educate the public on ways to help preserve the Bay.

The partnership-driven public awareness campaign called “Back the Bay” helps raise awareness about the importance of preserving the Bay. It offers the following preservation tips for both residents and visitors of Galveston Bay.

  • Landscape with native plants.
  • Avoid fertilizer runoff.
  • Keep trash in your boat, not in the Bay.
  • Dispose of oil and chemicals properly.
  • Don’t water during the heat of the day.
  • Fix leaky pipes and faucets.
  • Clean up after your dog.

These tips help reduce litter, water waste, and harmful runoff that affects the Bay.

Preserving Galveston Bay is vital for economic sustainability, recreational use, hurricane prevention, education, and more. Citizens and visitors alike can join together with preservation organizations to help protect the Bay and its abundant resources.