Since the Galveston Bay Estuary Program belongs to a network of National Estuary Programs (NEPs), we partake in the development of a consensus-based Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). This CCMP —The Galveston Bay Plan (The Plan) — guides the conservation and restoration of the estuary. Based on scientific research, The Plan is designed to protect and restore our Galveston Bay. It identifies problems, solutions and actions to rectify the Bay’s growing needs. The Plan established 82 management initiatives to address 17 specific priority problems.
“The Plan prescribes custom-tailored management initiatives to solve […] problems utilizing a comprehensive, ecosystem-based approach” (The Galveston Bay Plan, 1994, pp.2-3).
In the spring of 1995, The Plan was approved by the Governor of Texas and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Upon The Plan’s approval, the Estuary Program shifted from a federal operation to a state run program. The Plan identifies TCEQ — the state agency responsible for management of federal Water Quality Act programs — as the lead administrator of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.*
*Since base funding was not secured in 1995, the Galveston Estuary Program was jointly administered by Texas General Land Office (GLO) and TCEQ from 1996-1998. Subsequently, in 1999 the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Estuaries Act (SB 708), which also identifies the TCEQ as the lead administrator.