GDRP is dedicated to bringing dolphin awareness and education opportunities to the Houston – Galveston region and all of Texas. We have developed classroom curriculum, outreach materials and a field assistant volunteer program to help students, public interest groups and citizen scientists learn and spread the word about why dolphins are an important part of our ecosystem.
Our dolphin activity trunk provides classroom curriculum and activities for teachers to bring directly to students.
What can you do?
Follow these tips to help and support healthy dolphin populations in Galveston Bay and all along the Texas coast.
Dolphins are wild animals and protected from harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. When dolphins interact with boats it puts them at risk for injury. Dolphins are fun to watch, but always stay at least 50 yards away while observing them and put your engine in neutral. Never try to swim with, chase, corral, tease, touch or grab wild dolphins!
Dolphins can become entangled in discarded fishing line or ingest fish with hooks in them, especially when they get acclimated to an ‘easy’ meal when fishermen are around. Fisherman should always reel in lines if dolphins are near, never cast toward dolphins, reuse leftover bait and avoid releasing fish near dolphins. Always recycle used fishing line!
Don’t feed wild dolphins
Wild dolphins need to hunt for their food. Feeding them is illegal, dangerous and harmful to their health. Dolphins acclimated to receiving food from humans may engage in begging behavior and spend less time engaged in healthy dolphin activities.
Report injured or dead dolphins
The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) works with federal management agencies to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in Texas.
Please call 1-800-9-MAMMAL to immediately report details of any dolphin stranding, injury or death.
Have you seen dolphins in Galveston Bay?
Tell us about it and contribute to our public opportunistic sighting database.
In partnership with the education department at the Houston Zoo, the GDRP developed materials to raise awareness on dolphins, their habitats, and ecosystem role at booth events. Booth materials include a large banner/display that highlights how the public can help conserve wild dolphins and a large interactive display with a dolphin photo-ID game. You can find us at the Environmental Institute of Houston or Galveston Bay Foundation booths at many festivals and fairs in the Houston-Galveston area!
Field Assistant Volunteer Program
Our Field Assistant Volunteer Program (FAVP) provides a unique opportunity for citizens to play an integral part in scientific research. FAVP volunteers complete a half-day workshop and receive training aboard our research boat to become assistants during our monthly boat surveys. The GDRP has hosted three workshops that have resulted in the training of 46 volunteers. Since inception of the program, at least one volunteer has participated in over 75% of boat-surveys conducted by the GDRP. When FAVP recruitment and training opportunities become available, they are shared here and in our newsletter. Please also consider joining the Galveston Bay Foundation volunteer e-mail list.