Study under way to evaluate environmental health


Nov. 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Updated Nov. 2, 2010 at 6:02 a.m.

James Dodson

James Dodson

Work is under way to better understand the area's environment.

About 40 people gathered at the Victoria Community Center Monday for the San Antonio Bay Partnership's "Science and the Stakeholder" workshop.

The meeting was the first step in a planning process to develop a management plan for the San Antonio Bay system, said James Dodson, the group's facilitator.

Meeting attendees gathered to identify issues, such as trends and resources for bird populations, aquatic communities, hydrology and more.

"All of these factors influence the total health and overall ecological value of the system," he said.

Information will be compiled into a report that evaluates the estuary's overall health, said Norman Boyd, ecosystem leader of the San Antonio Bay system.

He encouraged members to look at environmental data and see if their questions are answered. If there's something they still want to know, pass that message along, he said.

"We want this to be a user-friendly report that people can understand, even if they aren't a scientist," Dodson said.

The project is important, he said.

While people often study estuaries in Corpus Christi and Galveston, fewer studies take place for those not directly next to heavily-populated areas.

"Every estuary should have something like this," Boyd said. "

Ann Goodman and Debbie Rhodes, both with Victoria West High School's science department, attended the meeting to see about getting students involved in environmental activities.

It could be a good opportunity for students who hope to go into scientific careers to get hands-on experience that makes a difference, Goodman said.

San Antonio resident David Reichert attended the meeting because he said he was interested in environmental issues. Reichert is a lifetime canoeist who also recently got involved in the master naturalist program.

"I came to see what I could learn," he said. "It's been interesting."

The project will take teamwork from various organizations all coming together to do their part, said Leo Trevino, deputy director of the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program.

"No one organization can do it all," he said. "The word 'partnership' is even in the name as a reminder there are other people working together for a common goal."

The workshop continues Tuesday.



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