Coastal environmental protection is an integral part of the Texas General Land Office mission.
The agency addresses coastal environmental damage both proactively and reactively, through efforts such as educating the public to change bad habits, and cleaning up messes caused by others.
The agency’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program oversees the Texas coast around-the-clock, placing emphasis on preventing spills but responding rapidly when they occur. As a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustee, the Land Office takes action to restore natural resources damaged by oil and other hazardous materials in coastal waters.
In addition, the Land Office is one of many Texas agencies in the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program.
The Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network (TCOON) is a State-of-the-Art water level monitoring network operating 24 hours a day seven days a week. TCOON currently consists of 31 active stations along the Texas coast, from Sabine Pass to Port Isabel, measuring many different environmental and physical parameters such as water levels, wind speed and direction, water and air temperature, and atmospheric pressure. A select few TCOON stations collect and report salinity levels.
Likewise, the agency’s Beach Watch program keeps track of bacteria levels at the most popular Texas beaches, posting the findings online for anyone with Internet access to see.
Adopt-A-Beach is an all-volunteer effort dedicated to preserving and protecting Texas beaches. Since the first cleanup, approximately 400,000 volunteer participants have helped remove 7,700 tons of trash. See how you can help.
While sandy beaches are important, coastal preserves and wetlands are also essential, so they receive well-deserved attention from the Land Office. These programs and others involving the Land Office help keep our coast clean and healthy, for both people and wildlife.
Natural Resources Restoration
Environmental damage caused by oil or hazardous material spills can devastate an area.
After an oil spill or hazardous substance release, response agencies clean up the substance and work to reduce or eliminate the damage to human health and the environment. But sometimes these efforts do not fully restore injured natural resources or address their lost uses by the public.
The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Program is the legal and technical process designed to restore the damaged area and ensure that those responsible—and not taxpayers—pay for restoring the affected area.
The Texas General Land Office NRDA Trustees act on behalf of the public to identify the injured natural resources and determine the extent of the impact. They also recover damages from the responsible party to plan and carry out restoration activities. In Texas, three state agencies are designated as NRDA trustees: the Texas General Land Office (GLO), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
On the federal level in Texas, the NRDA trustees are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) with authority delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).