Waters of Matagorda Bay

The Jim Blackburn Documentary Project


Working Title: Calming the Waters


Project Web Site



"Calming the Waters" presents a plan for protecting and enhancing Texas' coastal environment — its rivers, bays, and wetlands — that support habitat for birds, sea life and plant life, and correspondingly ensure a healthy place for its human inhabitants. The film takes its ideas and urgency from the career-long work of environmental lawyer and Rice Professor Jim Blackburn, and his recent book: "A Texan Plan For The Texas Coast".


Our purpose is to raise public awareness about the importance and fragility of Texas' coastal waters and to educate citizens about ways to save this endangered resource in a state frequently unfriendly to its environment. We will do this via presentations of the documentary on Texas' PBS broadcasters (12 stations), to primary and secondary Texas schools through donated program DVDs, and similarly to Texas nonprofits with a like mission of promoting environmental literacy.


We believe that the need for this story about Jim Blackburn and his work could not be more timely or critical. Texas has been locked for years in an unmovable battle between the voices for environmental protection and business expansion and jobs. Blackburn is a brilliant pragmatist who has developed an approach to environmental issues that can succeed in a bi-partisan way...before irreversible damage is done. From working for development of the Texas Coastal Exchange, the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area, various ideas for Eco Businesses, and his instrumental involvement with Rice University's SSPEED Center that works to address Gulf Coast severe storm impacts, he sets the stage for everyone — industry, agriculture, government, and the environment — to win.

After the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, Blackburn's ideas about the fragility of our coastal environment are even more essential. No one in this region has focused more on practical ideas for its conservation and how that protects us all. Our documentary will pull greatly from his two books on the subject: "The Book of Texas Bays" and "A Texan Plan For the Texas Coast". The later, just published, lays out information that we want to insure makes it to the general public. And, we have included a young audience in that outreach as well. Included in the budget is distribution of the program to Texas schools on DVD. Our children will inherit all the decisions made about their communities today as it pertains to the environment, so they need an early start in their understanding of its natural dynamics and how it will shape the health and quality of their lives.


The potential audience estimates break down as follows: PBS viewership: 600,000 single statewide broadcast. DVD/Streaming: 50,000 students during a school year.






4319 Spellman Road

Houston, TX 77035



Documentary Alliance, a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to eliminating the cultural amnesia that robs Americans of the valuable lessons of the past. We do this by using film, video and multimedia to fashion thoughtful and thought provoking programs about history, culture, and science.