Environmental and economic impacts of recreational community development, Mustang Island and North Padre Island.




University of Texas, Center for Research in Water Resources.

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Center for Research in Water Resources, Division of Natural Resources and Environment, The University of Texas


The purpose of this multidisciplinary investigation was to (a) delineate possible future environmental and economic conditions on the barrier islands (Mustang Island and north Padre Island, Nueces County, Texas) at different levels of population growth; (b) test the capability of the methodology developed during the previous two years of research to function on a subregional scale and to modify initial management hypotheses; (c) formulate operating guidelines to mitigate significant detrimental environmental and economic impacts of future growth in the barrier islands; (d) respond to information requests by state, regional and local governmental entities; and (e) determine additional research needs. Three scenarios for the barrier islands were selected for evaluation based on suggestions from local and state agencies: (1) population and developmental growth based on what local government and public service people believe the level of growth will be; (2) population and developmental growth based on what local developers are planning for; and (3) developmental growth modified by rational management decisions based on environmental impacts derived from rational management decisions based on environmental impacts derived from application of the methodology to the first scenario. Complete iterations were performed for all three scenarios. Outside consultants were retained to provide information and expertise not held by members of the research team. Use of consultants parallels likely approaches by potential user agencies. Magnitudes of change were distinguished from their societal importance in determining environmental and economic impacts. Judgments of importance were made by the research team as examples of the kinds of decisions that must be made by the public or their designated representatives. Importance was ascribed to such changes as loss of life, loss of protection from natural hazards, and alteration of natural environments. Judgments of importance played an integral role in formulating operating guidelines and in delineating research needs. The application of the methodology on a subregional scale and in an iterative fashion to assess the effectiveness of modifications to initial management decisions further demonstrated the practicality of the methodology to user agencies. In addition, future unregulated growth on the islands (to 1990) will not have significant environmental consequences for the region (Corpus Christi Bay and surrounding counties), but will likely result in environmental problems on the barrier islands and increase the risk for the island inhabitants from natural hazards. Imposing management decisions on island development aimed as mitigating these environmental problems did not significantly affect either the local or regional economy nor the potential for developers to construct a marketable product.


2 volumes


coastal zone, coastal zone management, economics, environmental impact, natural resources