History of the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation
The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation is a public interest organization [non-profit 501(c)(3)] dedicated to the conservation of freshwater and coastal natural resources through communication, advocacy, research, and education. In 1989, a group of private citizens, elected officials and community leaders gathered to discuss the creation of a new organization modeled on the Galveston Bay Foundation. The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in 1991, and its membership was concerned with protecting the future biological health of Coastal Bend bays and estuaries.
One of CBBF’s first goals was to secure “Estuary of National Significance” for Corpus Christi and surrounding bays. This important designation from the US Environmental Protection Agency was necessary before a National Estuary Program could be established in the Coastal Bend. CBBF members played leading roles in setting up the estuary program, now known as the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Inc.
In 1991, CBBF also began a series of free public information forums held at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. These forums have featured prominent speakers discussing critical environmental information about Coastal Bend bays and watersheds, and have proven to be one of our most popular programs.
That same year CBBF began an education program for Coastal Bend youth. In partnership with area industry, CBBF sponsored a long-term water and sediment quality sampling project that exposed hundreds of students to knowledge about marine environments and sampling techniques. A number of education and outreach projects followed.
The establishment of the Coastal Bend Land Trust in 1998 has been one of our proudest accomplishments. CBBF obtained substantial funding for the land trust, and it is now an independent organization with its own board of directors and articles of incorporation.
Since 1999 CBBF has organized Earth Day-Bay Day, a free outdoor education and recreation festival for Coastal Bend residents. Earth Day-Bay Day is aimed at increasing citizen awareness of the importance of protecting Coastal Bend bays and freshwater inflows, as well as encouraging recycling, litter abatement, and habitat protection. The event has grown in attendance and importance, with over 7,500 visitors in 2012.
The population of Texas is expected to almost double in the next fifty years, from approximately 21 million at present to over 40 million in the year 2050 (Texas Water Development Board). More than half of those individuals are expected to live within 50 miles of the Texas Gulf Coast. Population growth and natural drought cycles make water one of the most critical issues facing Coastal Bend residents in the foreseeable future.
The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation has been at the center of water and natural resource issues in the Coastal Bend for 12 years helping find fair and equitable solutions for people, industry, agriculture, and wildlife. Our public forums, education outreach programs and other projects, such as Earth Day Bay Day, keep the public informed about the urgent need for conservation of natural resources and the protection of natural habitats. The conservation of freshwater and coastal natural resources remains the goal of CBBF; and we seek to achieve this goal through communication, advocacy, research, and education, the cornerstones of our organization.