Education

...your guide to a healthy Earth


Welcome to GBF's Green Thing page. The Green Thing provides tips that you can use to protect Galveston Bay - at your home, in your office, or when you are out and about. Not only can you protect our local environment by using the Green Thing tips, many can save you money! For more information about the Green Thing tips, please contact Scott Jones at (281) 332-3381 x 209 or e-mail sjones@galvbay.org.

 

Green Tip for March 2014
Plan a Green Spring Break!!

Are you making plans for the kid’s coming spring break?  Are you staying close to home?  Perfect.  Take them to one or more of our many wonderful local nature centers, preserves, state and local parks, or wildlife refuges.  Or, when was the last time you took your kids fishing?  We know some spots!  This is a good tip for big kids, too.  So even if you don’t have younger ones in the house, head outside yourself!

Nature Centers, Education Centers, etc.

State Parks

Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas

Find fishing access locations using the GLO’s Texas Beach and Bay Access Guide.

 

Green Tip for February 2014
Weatherize Your Home and Help the Bay!

Cold fronts continue to make their way to the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, leaving us shivering.  Weatherize your home to cut your heating costs now and for many winters to come...  and help the bay the bay at the same time.

By simply adding attic insulation, sealing cracks and gaps in door and windows, and tuning up your heating system, you can make heating your home more efficient and help reduce the amount of energy that needs to be produced at our local power plants.   That means less fossil fuel emissions to the air and less atmospheric deposition of those same pollutants to Galveston Bay.

If you use a wood burning fireplace, please make sure the chimney is clean of sooty deposits so it performs safely and more efficiently.  When you are not using your fireplace, close the flue and block the hearth to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.

Visit Take Care of Texas - Around the House to learn more.

 

Green Tip for January 2014
Are Freezes Zapping Your Landscape and Gardens? Give Native Plants a Try!

There are many reasons to use native plants in your landscapes and gardens: beauty, low maintenance, less need for watering, fertilizers, and pesticides.  And they provide food and shelter for our resident species of birds, furry creatures, and beneficial insects.  One other thing they can do very well is withstand our freezes!  Unlike many of the exotic and tropical plants typically available in the retail trade, native plants are suited to our climate including the cold weather we can experience at this time of year.  You can find native plants!  More and more retailers offer and even specialize in them.

While natives and non-natives may not look great after a freeze, established natives will spring back much better than tropicals.  In fact, many natives do just fine, and some like native yaupon holly even provide more palatable food to birds and other animals after a freeze.  With natives, you do not need to spend hours covering and uncovering them when the temperatures drop.  With most, you can cut back the dead plant material at the right time and watch it come back in the spring!

Click the following links to learn more about native plants and where to find them:

 

Green Tip for the Week of December 9, 2013
Have a Green Holiday!

'Tis the season for buying gifts and celebrating.  It is also the season when we create some big unintended consequences for the environment.  Here are some simple ideas to help you lessen your impact and help the bay:

  • Purchase someone a Galveston Bay Foundation membership!  Your membership fees go a long way in helping us protect the bay!
  • See About.com’s Green Gifts for other gift ideas.
  • Consider buying a real Christmas tree instead of an artificial.  You can have it recycled into mulch or used to help Brazoria County beaches after the holidays.  Your local government may pick up trees for recycling; please check with them for dates before placing your tree on the curb.  You can also click on Earth 911.com and enter “Christmas Tree” and your location to find other recycling options.  Or, you can buy a living tree to plant after the holidays...  if you do, try to find a local or adapted tree species such as Southern red cedar.
  • Go to TCEQ's News You Can Use to see how you can Take Care of Texas This Holiday Season.

Green Tip for the Week of December 2, 2013
Cleaning Your Drains after the Holidays... The Green Way

Holiday cooking may have left you with partially clogged or foul-smelling drains.  The extra grease and oils from Thanksgiving meals may be part of the cause.  Try a natural approach to keeping your drains clean.  Doing so may prevent headaches or costly repairs and helps keep our public sewers from overflowing into our Galveston Bay waterways.

Make a home-made drain cleaner with natural ingredients such as baking powder, vinegar, and salt.  Click on Howstuffworks.com’s How to Unclog a Drain for the recipes and other info.

 

Green Tip for the Week of November 25, 2013
Keep Cooking Oil, Fat and Grease Out of Your Drains During the Holidays to Help Galveston Bay!

If you place fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down your sink drain, you may be contributing to overflows of sewage into our bayous, streams, and Galveston Bay.  FOG solidifies in your home’s pipes and in the larger sewer system down the line, causing clogs, backups, and untreated sewage being discharged into our waterways.  You can help prevent this from happening!
The easiest way is to not put FOG down the drain in the first place.  Instead, place it in a container such as a coffee can and place it the trash.  Wipe out greasy or oily pans with a paper towel as much as you can before rinsing or washing.  Scrape food off of plates and place in the trash rather than down the garbage disposal.  Houston residents can take it a step further by recycling used cooking oil through a City program.  Learn more by clicking on:

 

Green Tip for the Week of November 18, 2013
Recycle Electronics...E-Cycle!

To help Galveston Bay and the overall environment, recycle your old electronic items like computers, monitors, televisions, and cell phones!  They contain heavy metals such as lead and mercury that can harm fish, wildlife, and humans if disposed of improperly.  Local governments, retailers and manufacturers make it easy.  For more information on recycling, click on:

  • Earth 911.com and enter the item you want to recycle and your zip code in the search function to find locations.  It’s a good idea to check with the location listed before you go there to make sure the information posted on the website is accurate.
  • City of Houston’s DROPoff Houston

 

Green Tip for the Week of November 11, 2013
Celebrate America Recycles Day

This Friday, November 15th is America Recycles Day.  Take part at events in the Houston-Galveston area, and celebrate everyday by practicing the Four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy.  For more information and tips, go to the America Recycles Day webpage.

 

Green Tip for the Week of November 4, 2013
Now's the Time to Turn Off Your Lawn Irrigation System

With the cooler temperatures, lawns start to go dormant this time of year.  Between that natural occurrence and the soaking rains we have been getting, you can turn off your lawn irrigation system now.  If we go back into abnormally dry conditions again this winter, you can always turn it back on only if needed.

Water conservation is always the right thing to do!  Please do your part!  Go to http://waterlesssavemore.com/ and http://watrnews.com/ to learn more.

 

Green Tip for the Week of October 28, 2013
Have a Green Halloween!

Don't play a trick on the environment this Halloween!  You can have an environmentally-friendly Halloween by being choosy about items you make or buy for this holiday, following the principles of the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and rebuy.  What can you do to have a green Halloween?

  • Substitute reusable cloth bags or pillow cases for children’s plastic Halloween bags or reuse bags from last year.
  • Buy treats with as little packaging as possible; give simple treats that have paper wrappers if possible.
  • Make your own costumes out of used clothing or reuse last year’s model.
  • Compost your pumpkin.

Click on About.com's Green Halloween Tips to learn more! 

 

Green Tip for the Week of October 21, 2013
Celebrate Texas Native Plant Week!

October 20-26 is Texas Native Plant Week! Celebrate by planting native varieties now! Fall is the best time to place many native plants in your garden. Native plants are beautiful and hardy, Galveston Bay- and wildlife-friendly, and can save you money! Natives are adapted to our extreme weather and insect and fungal pests. So you will not have to water them once established nor apply expensive and potentially polluting pesticides and fungicides. And native plants provide food and shelter for a host of colorful and melodic birds; beneficial insects such as butterflies, dragon flies, bees; and small animals like lizards and frogs.

Click on the links to learn more:

 

Green Tip for the Week of October 14, 2013
What to do if You Find Injured Wildlife

If you find an injured bird or other wildlife, it’s important that you know the do’s and don’ts to help the animal and protect yourself.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has some good general information here, including when you should or should not intervene, and who to call if you do have an animal that needs help.

 

Green Tip for the Week of October 7, 2013
Plant Trees Now!

Want to improve the environment and save on energy costs?  Plant trees!  Native and suitable non-invasive adapted trees planted on the south and west sides of your house can provide needed shade and reduce temperatures and your electric bill.  Trees also reduce soil erosion, take up carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and provide habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and other animals.

Planting trees in the Fall gives them a good head start on being established before the heat of next summer.  Click on the links to learn more:

 

Green Tip for the Week of September 23, 2013
Easy Ways to Save Water! Fifth in a Series...Convert Your Toilet to Low Flow

Continuing our theme of easy ways to save water, which is good for the environment and your wallet, here’s the fifth in a series.

Newer toilets are low flow models that actually work really well.  They are a great solution for water savings since toilet flushing accounts for about a third of household water use.  However, if you have a toilet that is about 10 years or older, you can convert it to a low flow toilet by simply reducing capacity of the tank.  You can do that by placing a container in the tank.  Click here to see how to do it.  The other option is to replace it with a new one…

Remember, Galveston Bay depends on freshwater inflows from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers, which are also the sources of water for our own uses.  So let’s conserve it!

 

Green Tip for the Week of September 16, 2013
Easy Ways to Save Water! Fourth in a Series...Washing the Dishes

Continuing our theme of easy ways to save water, which is good for the environment and your wallet, here’s the fourth in a series.

You can save water washing your dishes, whether you use a dishwasher or by hand.  You can wait to run your dishwasher until you have a full load; you can choose a water savings setting.  You probably do not have to pre-rinse!  See these and other tips by clicking here.

Remember, Galveston Bay depends on freshwater inflows from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers, which are also the sources of water for our own uses.  So let’s conserve it!

 

 

Green Tip for the Week of September 9, 2013
Easy Ways to Save Water! Third in a Series...

Continuing our theme of easy ways to save water, which is good for the environment and your wallet, here’s the third in a series.  Take care of the soil that your lawn depends upon by doing these three things: (1) aerate the lawn to remove thatch and improve infiltration of water into the soil, (2) apply organic fertilizer or finely screen compost to the lawn, (3) water it in well.  You’ll be surprised how much healthier your lawn will be in a short time.  And you won’t need to water it near as much in the future; no more than once a week.  For more info, see:

Remember, Galveston Bay depends on freshwater inflows from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers, which are also the sources of water for our own uses.  So let’s conserve it!

 

Green Tip for the Week of September 2, 2013
Easy Ways to Save Water! Second in a Series...

Continuing our theme of easy ways to save water, which is good for the environment and your wallet, here’s the second in a series.

Instead of washing it at home, please consider taking your car to a commercial car wash or a self-service facility.  Many of the commercial washes recycle their water, which saves so much of it.  Plus, the water from both commercial and self-serve washes’ goes into the sanitary sewer and is cleaned at our wastewater treatment plants, as opposed to the wash and rinse water running off your driveway and down the storm water drain!

Remember, Galveston Bay depends on freshwater inflows from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers, which are also the sources of water for our own uses.  So let’s conserve!

 

Green Tip for the Week of August 26, 2013
Easy Ways to Save Water! First in a Series...

There are reports of the collapse of Florida’s oyster industry due to lack of freshwater flowing down the Apalachicola River into Apalachicola Bay.  The Apalachicola oysters, just like those in Galveston Bay, not only provide food and jobs but are also make habitat for fish and cleanse the water naturally.  They need inflows of freshwater to keep the water from getting too salty for too long.

Galveston Bay depends on freshwater inflows from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers, which are also the sources of water for our own use.

There are simple things you can do to save water so it can keep flowing to our bay.  It all boils down to not wasting this precious resource.  For starters, turn off the water when you brush your teeth.  That alone saves about a gallon of water that would otherwise be wasted.  Think of how much water that adds up to in the Houston area!  It’s in the millions!

 

Green Tip for the Week of August 5, 2013
Don't Forget to Take the Reusable Bags When You Shop!

Be sure to remember to start using reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic bags that fill our landfills and litter our waterways and streets.  Most grocery and other types of stores now sell the reusable bags – they are inexpensive, have strong handles, and hold more than plastic bags.  Extra tip: buy a set for each vehicle you use for shopping and leave them in your vehicle so you don’t forget them!

 

Green Tip for the Week of July 29, 2013
Green Travel

If you are trying to get that vacation in before the summer is over, you can travel green!
Check out the tips at Independent Traveler.com.  Also click on their Go Green Travel Center.

 

Green Tip for the Week of July 22, 2013
Recycle Styrofoam!

In keeping with the recycling theme this week, please try to recycle your Styrofoam!  It can be reused rather than just take up space in landfills!  To find a location in which to take it, go to the Earth911.com’s Recycling Search and then enter Styrofoam and your zip code.  Save it up and take it when you have a bunch!

 

Green Tip for the Week of July 15, 2013
Make Sure You are Up to Date on Your City's Recycling!

Depending on markets for recyclable materials, some items that you may not have been able to recycle in the past are now recyclable.  The best way to find out is to check on your city’s solid waste or recycling webpage to get the latest.  Post the list on your refrigerator and make sure you recycle all that you are allowed!  And, if you try to base your purchases on what is recyclable, you can complete the loop!

 

Green Tip for the Week of July 9, 2013
Reduce Air Pollution to Reduce Water Pollution

What goes up, must come down.  It’s the same way with air pollution.  Many of the air pollutants we generate come back to the earth and our waterways either directly or in the rain.  Here are a couple of things you can do to help reduce it:

  • Reduce air pollutant emissions from your vehicles by keeping them maintained, driving less, driving the speed limit, avoiding idling, and when it's time to purchase a new vehicle consider a more fuel-efficient model.  For more information, see Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Drive Clean Across Texas.
  • Reduce emissions from your lawn work by keeping equipment tuned and properly serviced. When it's time to replace equipment, consider purchasing electric models; there are more cordless options today.  Click on TCEQ's Take Care of Texas - In the Yard.

 

Green Tip for the Week of July 1, 2013
Be Aware of Seafood Consumption Advisories!

While Galveston Bay is an outstanding place to fish, you need to be aware of seafood consumption advisories and follow them to reduce risks to your health from the presence of pollutants.  The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a seafood consumption advisory for all species of fish and blue crab in parts of the Houston Ship Channel and San Jacinto River.  An advisory for all species of fish also exists in Clear Creek upstream of Clear Lake.  Other parts of the bay have advisories, but for a lesser number of species.

This is not a ban on the possession and consumption of fish, but everyone should follow the health department’s advice, especially women of childbearing age and children under 12.

Be informed!  See our seafood consumption advisory webpage at http://galvbay.org/advocacy_seafood.html.

 

Green Tip for the Week of June 24, 2013
Summer Lawn Care Tip that Saves Water!

Don’t fertilize your lawn during the hot summer months.  Fertilizing now stimulates the growth of the grass and increases its need for water, making it more susceptible to drought, as well as making it more vulnerable to disease and insects.  Instead, wait until the fall to fertilize.  For more information, visit the Texas Coastal Watershed Program's WaterSmart Landscapes for the Upper Texas Coast…click on Fertilization of Lawns.

 

Green Tip for the Week of June 17, 2013
Don't Mow Too Low to Save Your Lawn and Lower Your Water Bill!

Summer officially arrives on Friday, and soon you may see your lawn exhibiting that familiar stressed, wilted look as the days get hotter and the rains decrease.  You can prevent that from happening by changing how you maintain your lawn.  Here are some tips that will reduce the stress on your grass and the amount of water it needs:

First, do not mow your grass too low.  Grass that is mowed at the proper height has a healthier root system and uses less water than a lawn that is cut close to the ground.  Set your mower to the recommended heights referred to below, or even higher.

Second, do cut off too much at each cutting.  Mow often enough so that you do not cut off any more than 1/3 of the grass length to ease stress during our hot summers.

Third, don’t bag your grass clippings; leave them on the lawn.  You’ll allow nature to work by recycling nutrients that are released as the clippings decay back to the earth and build healthy soil.  This is much more aesthetically pleasing if you do not mow too low and easiest if you use a mulching mower.

In addition to using less water, healthy grass needs less fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.  Bottom line, you spend less money and prevent harmful pollutants from running off your lawn and into our waterways by not mowing too low!  Find out how low to mow different types of grass and other helpful hints using these links:

If someone else maintains your yard, please have them follow these guidelines.

 

Green Tip for the Week of June 10, 2013
How to Dispose of Medicines in a Green Way

There is a growing problem of medications getting into our wastewater after it is flushed down the toilet or dumped into a sink drain.  These drugs are not treated at our sewage treatment plants.  As a result, they can affect the water quality of our rivers, bayous, and the bay.  Throughout the nation, we are seeing some disturbing changes in populations of fish, amphibians, and other aquatic species.  These medications can wind up in our drinking water supply as well.

You can help!  Don’t dispose of your medicines in the toilet or drain unless the disposal instructions on the container direct you to do so.  Most medications can be safely discarded in the trash, but there are even better ways to deal with them.  Click on the FDA’s disposal guide and Dispose my meds to learn how.

 

Green Tip for the Week of June 3, 2013
Do You Really Need that Lid and Straw?

When you are eating at a fast food place or other establishment that places lids on cups and straws in drinks, let them know you don't need either. All the lids and straws we use sure to add up! We can save on air and water pollution and landfill space if we cut down on our collective use. Every little bit you can do helps!

 

Green Tip for the Week of May 27, 2013
Do You Really Need that Bag?

We are all just used to having our purchased items placed in a plastic bag when we shop.  If you are just getting one or two, or more, items you can easily hold, let the sales person know that you don’t need a bag.  We could use so many less bags if we all did just that one little thing.

 

Green Tip for the Week of May 13, 2013
Coffee Grounds in the Compost Pile?

Did you know that coffee grounds and unbleached coffee filters can be placed in a compost pile.  You can put a lot of other things that might otherwise go into the trash in a compost pile!  Learn more by clicking on Mulching and Composting: A Take Care of Texas Guide.

 

Green Tip for the Week of May 6, 2013
Help Migratory Birds!

Saturday, May 11th is International Migratory Bird Day.  The Galveston Bay area and the Upper Texas Coast is home to the highest numbers of birds during the Spring Migration.  These birds are stopping in our area to rest and feed during their long trip from Mexico, Central and South America to points north.  The birds are not only beautiful, but they are part of the ecosystem and are the source of millions of ecotourism dollars.  Help take care of them, and our year-round resident birds, by providing some habitat in your own backyard: add native plants to your landscape to provide them food and shelter.  Click here for some great examples from the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter.

 

Green Tip for the Week of April 29, 2013
We Really Need to Talk About...Flushable Products

Did you know that flushing “flushable” products down the toilet, including feminine hygiene products, are bad for water quality and potentially bad for your wallet?  Click on Networx’ How Bad for Plumbing are Disposable Wipes? to get the facts and save yourself from a big headache!

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Green Tip for the Week of April 22, 2013
What You Can Do for Earth Day!

April 22nd is Earth Day!  A day to reflect on all our planet provides us – air, water, food, and quality of life.  It is also a day to resolve to take action to do the little things you can do to protect it.  The theme of Earth Day 2013 is The Face of Climate Change.  Climate change is affecting all corners of the Earth.  An example is rising sea levels which will ultimately change the location of the wetlands that are so crucial to Galveston Bay.  You owe it to yourselves and your children to learn as much as you can about climate change and then take steps to reduce your own contributions to the problem.  After all, reducing air pollution can also improve human and environmental health.  Food for thought: Climate Change presentation by Katherine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.  More useful info is here.

Learn more about Earth Day 2013 by clicking here.

 

Green Tip for the Week of April15, 2013
Learn About Birds, Part 2!

Fishermen and boaters can learn about the birds they are likely to encounter while out on the bay with Breeding Birds of the Texas Coast: A Fisherman’s and Boater’s Bird Guide.  Remember to Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away!”

 

Green Tip for the Week of April 9, 2013
Learn About Birds at FeatherFest!

We can boast that the Galveston Bay area has the highest number of migratory birds in the nation!  Not only are these visitors beautiful, they and our year-round resident birds are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem.  Take part in Galveston FeatherFest 2013 from Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14 to learn about them and see them for yourself!  FeatherFest even has free live birds of prey shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  There’s no better way of gaining appreciation of the great Galveston Bay birding than by seeing them up close and personal.

For more information, click on http://www.galvestonfeatherfest.com/.

 

Green Tip for the Week of April 1, 2013
A More Earth-Friendly Cup of Joe!

If you drink coffee, you can choose to purchase a more environmentally-friendly product.  You can find coffee that is organic and/or shade grown/bird -friendly, as well as a brand certified as being grown with fair trade practices/fair labor standards.

Organically-grown coffee can result in fewer pesticides and energy use to grow the crop, and therefore less air and water pollution.  Shade-grown/bird-friendly coffee is grown in the understory of forests with more sustainable practices instead of on a large sun-grown plantation where the forest canopy has been removed.  Shade-grown/bird-friendly coffee results in less habitat destruction, soil erosion, and water pollution.  For more info, see http://www.coffeehabitat.com/.

 

Green Tip for the Week of March 25, 2013
Be Informed on Galveston Bay Issues

Please visit the Galveston Bay Foundation’s Advocacy webpage to learn about important issues facing the bay, from water quality to freshwater inflows to Superfund sites.  Not only do we provide the latest information, we let you know how to get involved in the discussion and solutions to challenges facing the bay, including reporting spills and dumping.  Click here to go to the page.

 

Green Tip for the Week of March 18, 2013
Fix a Leak This Week!

It's so important that we are efficient with our water use! Why? Because Galveston Bay is an estuary that depends on fresh water to mix with the salt water from the Gulf of Mexico! Also, if we were more efficient with our water use, we would not need to build as many reservoirs that destroy extremely valuable river and bottomland habitat.

You can do something easy to help keep the water flowing in our rivers, and not down the drain. Take part in the WaterSense Program's 'Fix a Leak Week' during March 18-24. It's easy to practice water efficiency; instructions are included! Click on EPA's WaterSense website to find out how!

 

Green Tip for the Week of March 11, 2013
How to Deal With Dog Poop!

Please clean up after your pet! Pet waste contains bacteria that runs off of our lawns and streets during rainstorms and contributes to pollution of area waterways, making them unsuitable for swimming and other forms of contact recreation. Pet waste can also add excess nutrients to the water, causing overgrowth of algae which leads to fish kills.

It's best to pick up after your pets as soon as possible, especially when you are walking them. For your own backyard, try this: (1) buy a small galvanized waste can with a lid and a big enough diameter for your pet scooper or shovel width to fit, (2) place a layer of cat litter in the bottom and/or place a plastic liner in it (try to reuse other plastic bags before buying new ones just for this purpose), (3) pick up your pet's wastes daily and drop it into the container, and (4) weekly or every two weeks place the contents of the small container into the larger bag with your outgoing trash.

This way you can manage the pet wastes and keep from adding too much more plastic to the waste stream. If you can get by without using a liner in the small container, all the better! For more info, see H-GAC's Pet Waste webpage.

Green Tip for the Week of March 4, 2013
Have a Green Spring Break!

Are you making plans for the kids’ spring break?  Are you staying close to home?  Perfect.  Take them to one or more of our many wonderful local nature centers, preserves, state and local parks, or wildlife refuges.  Places to see and things to do:

State Parks

Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas

 

Green Tip for the Week of February 25, 2013
Vote Now for City of Houston's One Bin for All!

The City of Houston is one of 20 national finalists to receive a grant to help implement a program that makes it easy for you to recycle just about everything in your trash bin at the curb, called One Bin for All.  Help them win by voting now!  Not only is it easy on you, it create jobs, and it’s great for the environment!  Click here to see to learn more and then click the link inside see City of Houston’s video about One Bin for All and to vote.  It’s video number 7.  Voting ends March 6th!  You can also check out::

Green Tip for the Week of February 18, 2013
Don't Add Mulch Until Your Perennials Are up!

It’s a great thing to add mulch to your flower beds and around trees and shrubs.  It conserves water and moderates soil temperatures.  But if you are thinking of adding a new layer, wait until your perennial plants have sprouted back up.  For more information, see:

Green Tip for the Week of February 11, 2013
Don't Let Water Runoff!

When watering your yard, please make sure that water is not running off of it and down the gutter.  Save our precious water and lower your water bill by watering only when needed, and for only as long as needed.  Click on U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Watering Tips and TCEQ’s Take Care of Texas to learn more.

Green Tip for the Week of February 4, 2013
Make Plans to Help a Local Gem! Clear Creek Clean Up!

If you aren’t already helping remove abandoned crab traps, please make to stay local on February 16th and participate in the 14th Annual Clear Creek Clean Up from 8am-4pm.  Volunteers will gather at the FM 270 boat ramp on Clear Creek in League City.

Click here to learn more!

Green Tip for the Week of January 21, 2013
Did You Remember to Turn Off Your Lawn Sprinklers?

Lawns don’t need water in the winter… They are dormant.  Please help save precious water by turning off your lawn irrigation system.

Go to http://waterlesssavemore.com/ and http://watrnews.com/ to learn more.

Green Tip for the Week of January 14, 2013
Plan to Help Rebuild Brazoria County Sand Dunes This Weekend!

This weekend, please volunteer to help rebuild sand dunes at two Brazoria County beaches: Surfside Beach and Quintana Beach.  Dunes Day will be held on January 19, 2013.  At 9:00AM, volunteers will meet at and Stahlman Park in Surfside and Quintana Beach County Park to rebuild, restore and strengthen the dune line by staking Christmas trees to form a sand-catching barrier.  There will be a lunch following the staking of the trees.  For more information about the Dunes Day, call (979) 233-1461.

Green Tip for the Week of January 7, 2013
New Year's Resolution

Make a resolution to reduce negative impacts on Galveston Bay and the natural environment in 2013 by following our weekly Green Thing tips!   Or better yet, increase your positive impacts!  You are sure to find things you can do to help Galveston Bay directly or indirectly.

Green Tip for the Week of December 10, 2012
Take Part in Christmas Bird Counts!

Want to do something really fun this holiday season, get outside and help the environment?  Take part in one of the National Audubon Society's 113th Annual Christmas Bird Counts in our area.  You do not have to be an expert, but you will be able to work with them and learn more no matter your bird identification skill level.  Many of the counts are kid-friendly!  In some cases, you can even do counts in your own backyard!

How do the counts help the birds and the environment?  The more we know about the population of our area birds the better idea we have of the state of their habitat, water quality, and general environmental quality.

The counts take place from December 14th through January 5th.  For more information, click on Houston Audubon Society's Texas Christmas Bird Counts.  Click on the 2012-2013 link for info on each site, including contacts so you can see whether they are kid-friendly.

Green Tip for the Week of December 3, 2012
The Drought is Back! So Water Less and Save More!

Moderate to severe drought conditions have returned to the Upper Texas Coast.  Water conservation is always the right thing to do, but is now that much more important.  Do your part by turning off your lawn irrigation system now.  Lawns go dormant this time of year, anyway!

Go to http://waterlesssavemore.com/ and http://watrnews.com/ to learn more.

Green Tip for the Week of November 26, 2012
Cleaning Your Drains After the Holidays

Holiday cooking may have left you with partially clogged or foul-smelling drains.  The extra grease and oils from Thanksgiving meals may be part of the cause.  Try a natural approach to keeping your drains clean.  Doing so may prevent headaches or costly repairs and helps keep our public sewers from overflowing.

Make a home-made drain cleaner with natural ingredients such as baking powder, vinegar, and salt.  Click on the following links for the recipes and more info:

Green Tip for the Week of November 19, 2012
Give Thanks for the Environment with an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving!

Give thanks for Galveston Bay and the environment by celebrating an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.  There are easy, sustainability-minded things you can do that will lessen your footprint on the planet as you feast!  What can you do to have a green Thanksgiving?  Click on About.com’s Top 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving.

Green Tip for the Week of November 12, 2012
Celebrate America Recycles Day!

This Wednesday, November 15th is America Recycles Day.  Take part at events in the Houston-Galveston area, and celebrate everyday by practicing the Four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy.  For more information, go to the America Recycles Day webpage.

Green Tip for the Week of November 5, 2012
Heating and Cooling: How to Program Your Thermostat

Save money and energy and help the environment at the same time by heating and cooling your home efficiently.  Programmable thermostats can help.  Make sure you set it correctly.  You can also set your manual thermostat to get these benefits.  Learn more by clicking on Energy Star’s Programmable Thermostats.

Green Tip for the Week of October 29, 2012
Have a Green Halloween!

Don't play a trick on the environment this Halloween! You can have an environmentally-friendly Halloween by being choosy about items you make or buy for this holiday, following the principles of the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and rebuy.

What can you do to have a green Halloween?

  • Substitute reusable cloth bags or pillow cases for children's plastic Halloween bags or reuse bags you already have on hand.
  • Buy treats with as little packaging as possible; give simple treats that have paper wrappers if possible.
  • Make your own costumes out of used clothing.
  • Compost your pumpkin.
  • Click on About.com's Green Halloween Tips to learn more! Please do your part!

Green Tip for the Week of October 22, 2012
Galveston County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event

Galveston County residents can take advantage of a FREE household hazardous waste (HHW) collection event to be held this Saturday, October 27th at Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque. HHW should never be thrown in the trash due to the toxic nature of the materials contained in it. Examples of household products that contain potentially toxic materials are kitchen and bathroom cleansers, paints and stains, automotive lubricants, electronics pesticides, and fertilizers. They should only be disposed of at an authorized event or a permanent HHW collection site.

Click here to see the event flyer!

Green Tip for the Week of October 15, 2012
Celebrate Texas Native Plant Week!

Celebrate Texas Native Plant Week by planting native varieties now!  Fall is the best time to place many native plants in your garden.  Native plants are beautiful and hardy, Galveston Bay- and wildlife-friendly, and can save you money!  Natives are adapted to our extreme weather and insect and fungal pests.  So you will not have to water them once established nor apply expensive and potentially polluting pesticides and fungicides.  And native plants provide food and shelter for a host of colorful and melodic birds; beneficial insects such as butterflies, dragon flies, bees; and small animals like lizards and frogs.

Click on the links to learn more:

Green Tip for the Week of September 24, 2012
Is It Safe to Eat Fish and Shellfish from Galveston Bay?

We are often asked whether it is safe to eat fish, shrimp, crabs, and oysters caught in Galveston Bay.  The short answer is yes, but with some important exceptions depending are where the seafood is harvested.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) has issued seafood consumption advisories in the Galveston Bay area due to the presence of toxic materials such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the edible portions of some fish and crabs.  It can be a little confusing, but the bottom line is that speckled trout and all catfish species have advisories on them bay-wide.  Once you get to Upper Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel/San Jacinto River downstream of Lynchburg Ferry, you can add blue crab to the speckled trout and catfish.  Once you get upstream of Lynchburg Ferry, you can add all other species of fish to the speckled trout, catfish, and blue crab. 

TDSHS recommends that children under 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant should not eat any of the species listed in these areas.  All other persons should eat no more than 8 ounces per month of the species listed in the areas noted above.

Also, in Clear Creek upstream of Clear Lake, TDSHS recommends that all persons not eat any amount of any species fish due to the presence of PCBs.

There are no TDSHS seafood consumption advisories on shrimp, oysters, or on fish other than those species listed in the areas noted above.  However, the harvest of molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels) is illegal in prohibited areas that are in proximity to potential sources of sewage pollution.  For example, the Houston Ship Channel/San Jacinto River upstream of Morgan’s Point is a prohibited molluscan shellfish harvest area.

Be informed!  See maps and complete details on our seafood consumption advisory webpage at http://galvbay.org/advocacy_seafood.html.  And, you can find more info on molluscan shellfish harvest areas on the TDSHS webpage.

Green Tip for the Week of September 17, 2012
Make Plans to Attend the Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup!

The Texas General Land Office’s Fall Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup will be held on Saturday, September 22nd from 9:00am-12:00 noon at locations all along the Texas coast, including six locations in the Houston-Galveston region.  You can help clean a beach, a bay shore, or a bayou shoreline.  Find out more at GLO’s Adopt-a-Beach webpage.

Green Tip for the Week of September 10, 2012
Celebrate National Estruaries Day!

Galveston Bay is an estuary, a place where freshwaters from our rivers and bayous meet the salty water of the Gulf of Mexico.  National Estuaries Day is last Saturday in September, so plan to celebrate Galveston Bay by volunteering to help plant marsh grass on September 29th!  How else can you celebrate National Estuaries Day?

  • Become a member of the Galveston Bay Foundation.
  • Visit estuaries.gov where you can learn all about Estuaries Day and things you can do to help protect estuaries.
  • Get out and enjoy the bay with your friends and family!  Look for dolphins while you ride the Bolivar Ferry; visit a park or wildlife refuge; enjoy a Galveston Bay fresh seafood meal.

Green Tip for the Week of September 3, 2012
Free Water from Your Air Conditioner!

Collect the condensate water draining from your home air conditioner.  Just place a bucket beneath the drain or hose coming from your system; you’ll see it dripping with the air conditioner is running.  You may be surprised how much water is produced – anywhere from a gallon to tens of gallons a day.  Use it to water your plants!  Note: This water is not potable and is not for human or pet drinking purposes!
For more information, click on the following links:

Green Tip for the Week of August 27, 2012
Be Aware of Seafood Consumption Advisories!

While Galveston Bay is an outstanding place to fish, you need to be aware of seafood consumption advisories that do exist and follow them to reduce risks to your health from the presence of pollutants.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a seafood consumption advisory for all species of fish and blue crab in parts of the Houston Ship Channel and San Jacinto River.  An advisory for all species of fish also exists in Clear Creek upstream of Clear Lake.   Other parts of the bay system have advisories, but for a lesser number of species.  This is not a ban on the possession and consumption of fish, but everyone should follow the health department’s advice, especially children and women who are pregnant, can become pregnant, or are nursing.

Be informed!  See our seafood consumption advisory webpage at http://galvbay.org/advocacy_seafood.html.

Green Tip for the Week of August 20, 2012
Garbage Disposal Tip to Keep Our Bay Clean

Please minimize your use of the garbage disposal so you do not accidently contribute to sewer overflows.  Instead of putting vegetables and fruits down the disposal, compost them or throw them in the trash.  Place non-compostable items like meat in the trash.  And never place any fats, oils or grease (FOG) in the disposal or any other drain; they can cause clogs in your plumbing or in sewer lines and lead to overflows of untreated sewage that drain to the bay.

Green Tip for the Week of August 6, 2012
Flooding and Hurricane Preparation: Recycle or Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Flooding due to summer storms or hurricanes can wash household hazardous wastes (HHW) into our waterways and the bay.  Items such as paints and stains, automotive lubricants, pesticides, and fertilizers can ultimately harm both fish & wildlife resources and people.  Please take stock of your HHW and recycle or properly dispose of those that you do not plan to use.  Take them to a permanent HHW collection center or keep them in a safe, dry location until a collection day is available in your area.  Check the following resources to learn more about HHW and find collection locations:

 

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