Solutions: GBEP Partners, Programs and Projects
The United States Congress recognized the importance of partnerships in addressing complex systems such as estuaries when it established the National Estuary Program (NEP) in 1987. Being part of the NEP required the use of stakeholders in identifying priority problems, characterizing those problems, and developing solutions. Development of The Galveston Bay Plan (The Plan), was the result the 5- year stakeholder led consensus-building process held in the Galveston Bay area. The Texas Legislature also recognized the importance of NEPs and partnerships in Texas through the passage of the Texas Estuary Act in 1999, which directs state agencies involved in resource management to work with the Galveston Bay Estuary Program (GBEP) and its sister program on the Lower Texas Coast, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program.
The success of any estuary program, and subsequent preservation of the Bay, hinges on the diversity and vitality of the partnerships that it forges. Although many of GBEP's partnerships stem from the workings of the Galveston Bay Council (Council) and its six standing subcommittees, there are many organizations who are not members of the Council or its subcommittees, whose work is critical to the preservation of Galveston Bay and other treasured resources associated with our bay ecosystem. These GBEP Partners represent industry; the environmental community; local, state, and federal governments, commercial and recreational fisheries, and maritime interests. Their efforts have resulted in Galveston Bay Plan-implementing projects and GBEP Partner Resources that can be utilized to help protect the bay.
GBEP is charged with coordinating and facilitating these partnerships to implement The Plan, save tax dollars, leverage federal, state, and local resources and expertise, minimize duplication, and enhance product results while lowering cost to individual organizations. Work accomplished through these partnerships are noted by the following Plan areas: