Landowner Outreach in the Baffin Bay Watershed

Baffin Bay has long experienced a decline in water quality, as exemplified by a long-term increase in nitrogen and phosphorus loads and chlorophyll-a concentrations that have exceeded state criteria for nearly the past decade. As a result, prolonged harmful algal blooms, episodic periods of hypoxia, and fish kills have become more frequent over the past several decades. Two of the creeks that flow into Baffin Bay, Petronila and San Fernando Creeks, have documented water quality impairments and preliminary data suggests that the third tributary, Los Olmos Creek, is also experiencing degraded water quality.

To begin to address these concerns and improve the quality of water flowing from the watershed into Baffin Bay, stakeholders developed the Petronila and San Fernando Creek Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). This plan identifies a variety of measures and best management practices (BMPs) to be employed on a voluntary basis which will help improve the water quality in the watershed. Additionally, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program and the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, with the support of the Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler Program, have developed the Bringing Baffin Back™ initiative to help bring further attention and resources to the watershed.

However, there is a continued need to inform private landowners in the watershed of the issues facing Baffin Bay, what is being done, and what they can do to help. Additionally, resources and contact information for resource managers needs to be consolidated and shared with those landowners to assist those willing to implement best management practices on their land and to identify restoration opportunities.

As part of this project, four rounds of mailers will be sent to landowners in the Baffin Bay watershed to inform residents of ongoing initiatives and opportunities, promote management measures identified in the WPP, and promote participation in the Baffin Bay Stakeholder Group.