Communications Report August 2016

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1 Communications Report August 2016 Facebook 1,457 total likes, 71 new likes 15 CBBEP Facebook posts about our projects and staff achievements Most successful post reached 26,000 people, 26,000! (PSA to Fish, Swim, Play 50 Yards Away) Videos (available on our website, YouTube, and Facebook) Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project Interpretive Sign News Coverage KRISTV Could algal blooms affect the Coastal Bend? KRISTV Wildlife sanctuary gets big grant to protect wildlife KRISTV 6 Investigates: Water release data does not measure all impacts Presentations Ray Mooney presented on Summary of All Key Research Findings and Next Directions at the Baffin Bay Symposium. June 28, 2016 Ray Mooney presented on our Nueces Marsh Restoration Project at Using Natural Designs for Resiliency Workshop at Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. August 2, 2016 Ray Allen participated in the Round Table Session of the Port Corpus Christi and The American Association of Port Authorities TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY INFLUENCER LUNCHEON AND PORT MEDIA TOUR. August 18, 2016 The CBBEP hosted the Bays Council Meeting to finalize FY2017 Workplan. The meeting included staff presentations from Jake Herring (Land Acquisition), Rosario Martinez (Nueces Marsh Restoration), and Lari Jo Johnston (Delta Discovery). August 18, 2016 Ray Allen interview with KRISTV Baffin Bay Symposium Speakers Bays Council Meeting

2 Distribution of Materials 200 satellite posters, Port Aransas Visitors Center 24 hats and 24 coffee mugs at Bays Council Meeting

3 Could algae blooms affect the Coastal Bend? - KRI Page 1 of 1 8/23/2016 Posted: Jul 06, :29 PM CDT Updated: Jul 06, :54 PM CDT Could algae blooms affect the Coastal Bend? By Emily Hamilton CORPUS CHRISTI - Several counties on the Florida coast are under a state of emergency because of fast spreading algae blooms along the coast. A huge part of Corpus Christi is the high numbers of visiting tourists every year, but algae blooms like the one in Florida can quickly turn away beach-goers and cause harm to the environment. An example of algae blooms. Could this happen in our bays? Ray Allen with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program says it's possible, but not likely. "Our situation here where we don't have that nutrient loading problem in our lakes doesn't lend itself to that kind of problem," Allen said. The Florida algae bloom is blamed on nutrient rich fresh water entering rivers and bays. Some say the bloom is an environmental catastrophe, and the effects in Florida are clear to see. "Smells bad, it looks bad, and then you get into the whole issue of economic impacts, especially in that part of Florida where tourism is such a major part of the economy," Allen said. Allen said our lakes and rivers are much healthier than Lake Okeechobee, which is the main source of Florida's problems. He says our main concern is of another color. "We've seen that here when we've had red tide blooms both on the gulf beaches and in our bay system," Allen said. Red tide kills the fish, causes respiratory issues, and can have a huge impact on tourism rates. "And so you have these kind of secondary and tertiary impacts associated with harmful algal blooms. But the most direct impact is on immediate water quality in the bay and in the ocean," Allen said. Allen added that one of the biggest factors causing the algae blooms in Florida is poor water circulation. This is something our local scientists say they pay very close attention to.

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5 6 Investigates: Water release data does not measure Page 1 of 6 8/23/2016 Posted: Jul 25, :29 PM CDT Updated: Jul 26, :51 PM CDT 6 Investigates: Water release data does not measure all impacts By Rick Spruill CORPUS CHRISTI - Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon combine to form our reservoir system and it can hold about a million acre feet of water. Most years, though, the system is less than half full and that worries those who live on Lake Corpus Christi (Choke Canyon is a Bureau of Reclamation site and therefore, has no water front development). Billions of gallons a year leave our lake and go to Nueces Bay. Reservoir levels are affected by many things - daily demand, drought and evaporation. But, there's a fourth: the demand for freshwater releases dictated by an agreement between the City of Corpus Christi, the Nueces River Authority and the State of Texas. The releases are designed to mimic the natural flow of water along the Nueces River and into the Nueces delta. The freshwater release, called "inflows," help the Nueces Bay delta support basic food chain organisms which cannot survive if the place is so salty, or "hyper-saline." Kelly Harlan, a corporate pilot who pays close attention to the lake levels, is not buying it. Harlan is one of two men who created the Facebook Page "Stop Draining Lake Corpus Christi" earlier this month. In a few weeks, it has almost 4,000 followers. Harlan says most people understand the relationship between freshwater and bay salinity. But, he says when the city created Lake Corpus Christi, they created another ecosystem, too, an ecosystem damaged when the lake levels, drop. "We're not saying it's wasteful release...what we're saying is just doesn't make common sense. " But Lake Corpus Christi is a misnomer. It is not a naturally-occurring lake. It is a man made reservoir intended to capture and store water from the Nueces River and the vast Nueces River watershed. Rocky Freund with the Nueces River Authority explains that damming up the Nueces River noticeably reduced natural inflows in the bay. "People realized that putting a large reservoir up here would really reduce the amount of water that made it to the bays and estuaries." As a result, environmental leaders, city officials and state stakeholders came up with a plan.. It allows for water releases based on targeted amounts. Those amounts are based on freshwater inflows into the delta and the Rincon Bayou, which feeds the delta. The inflows are measured by gauges and salinity levels are monitored by stations situated throughout Nueces Bay. At most, the agreement calls for about 158,000 acre feet - that's about 51.5 billion gallons. It is adjusted based on drought conditions and whether or not the city has placed water users in drought restrictions. But, while the order requires scientists to keep track of how the freshwater alters bay salinity and how it benefits bay life, it does not require an economic study of how lower

6 6 Investigates: Water release data does not measure Page 2 of 6 8/23/2016 lake levels affect the ecosystems now situated on the lake bed, or property owners along the shoreline. Ray Allen with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program acknowledges there is no requirement to study the economic impact, upstream, but that the benefit downstream, is apparent. "That's where the food chain starts...and what you end up with is at the top of the food web. the predator fish - the big trout, the red fish. the drum, the flounder. All that system just works it way up - brown pelicans eat fish. If you don't start at the bottom, you don't get the top." Harlan points to Baffin Bay as an example of place where, at least at first glance, game fish thrive in a hyper-saline environment. "You can... sure catch some big trout and big redfish probably bigger than Nueces Bay, and Baffin Bay is famous for not having any inflows."

7 Posted: Jun 22, :30 PM CDT Updated: Jun 22, :43 PM CDT Wildlife sanctuary gets big grant to protect habitat By Samantha Miles CORPUS CHRISTI - Driving down Highway 361, you may think the Packery Flats are nothing more than a parking lot. But a bird's eye view reveals hidden trails and a quiet wildlife sanctuary. "When you come out and see something this beautiful, you want to find out how you can help and how you can protect the area," Kathryn Tunnell, Communications Manager for Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, told KRIS 6 News. And that's exactly what the Packery Flats Coastal Habitat management has done. Kathryn Tunnell shows us the map of sanctuary improvements at Packery Flats (KRIS) However, they noticed that as the number of people visiting the sanctuary increased, there were also more vehicles driving on vulnerable wildlife habitat, causing damage to the ecosystem. There was also more littering. This all raised a lot of concern. "If we don't protect it, then those habitats will decline, and unfortunately the animals will probably leave," Tunnell explained. As a solution to this, they designed a $115,000 project that will help protect the sanctuary. They added 750 bollards to keep visitors on paths that are meant for walking only. Before these improvements, there was just one bollard blocking off a walking path. Lots of cars were driving over it, wearing away the path. Now they've added several bollards making it very clear to not drive past the parking area. They've also posted signs showing people what each section offers. The first parking area leads to a hiking trail. The second parking area offers areas for driving. "You can actually drive straight up to the water, launch a kayak, launch a stand up paddle board or just go fishing," Tunnell said. She says their goal is to get people to visit, and care about the sanctuary. "While we promote the use of the area, we really need people to use it responsibly."

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