The overall health of Galveston Bay earns a grade of "C" once again in the annual report card for the estuary.
Oil pollution is way down, thanks to there being no major spills, but wildlife populations of important catches like blue crab are low.
Lisa Gonzalez is president of the Houston Advanced Research Center, or HARC, which partners with the Galveston Bay Foundation to issue the report card each years, tells Newsradio 740 KTRH that it’s the fourth straight year of an overall “C” grade.
The report card can be seen in full here.
It rates 22 environmental and economic factors in issuing the grade.
Among the strong points: much lower oil pollution. But the top challenges include wildlife -- particularly the falling count for blue crab, which is an important catch for fishermen.
“Galveston Bay is a vibrant, resilient ecosystem, but faces an uncertain future,” the report card states. “…People, industry, and commerce often come with environmental challenges. Galveston Bay’s most significant problems are tied to pollution, declines in habitat acreage, and the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise. That Galveston Bay could receive a grade of C for overall health despite facing these monumental issues shows how resilient it is.”
The report “offers hope that we can change our negative impact on water quality, wetlands, seagrasses, and wildlife,” it states, because “a healthier Galveston Bay is in everyone’s interest.”