CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Dr. Michael Wetz, Associate Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has received the Higher Education Award from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation for his efforts in leading the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-Baffin Bay volunteer water quality study.
The Higher Education Award was presented to Wetz during the Coastal Bend Conservation & Environmental Stewardship Awards Banquet held December 4 at the NorthShore Country Club. The theme of the awards banquet was “Restoration in the Coastal Bend.”
The Higher Education Award is given to a university or college institution, individual professor, or instructor for dedication and effectiveness in educating Texans about the natural resources of the Coastal Bend. Wetz has displayed exceptional dedication to conservation of Coastal Bend bays and estuaries, namely Oso and Baffin Bays, through development of programs designed to assess water quality conditions in these systems. He has received numerous grants from local, state, and federal sources to implement these studies, and is currently collaborating with scientists at A&M-Corpus Christi and elsewhere to develop an ecosystem-level view of the health of Oso and Baffin Bays.
Other awards related to the Baffin Bay study given at this event included the Coastal Community Award given to Baffin Bay volunteers for farsighted public stewardship over the Coastal Bend’s natural resources, and for leadership in enhancing the Coastal Bend’s environment; and the President’s Award, given to Scott Murray for his outstanding vision and leadership in the Baffin Bay Natural Resource Conservation Assessments.
The Baffin Bay volunteer water quality study was established in Baffin Bay in early 2013. The program relies on a dedicated group of volunteer citizen scientists to collect important water quality data in Baffin Bay. The study has received funding from Kleberg County, the Coastal Conservation Association, Saltwater Fisheries Enhancement Association, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, and the Celanese Corporation. It will take about two to three years to fully understand the implications of this water study.
The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation is a public interest organization dedicated to the conservation of freshwater and coastal natural resources for current and future generations through consensus, facilitation, communication, advocacy, research and education. For more information, go to http://www.baysfoundation.org/events/eab/.