Mission/Aransas Watershed Wetland Conservation Plan




Elizabeth H. Smith and Suzanne J. Dilworth

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Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Center for Coastal Studies


The concept of wetland preservation or restoration is generally directed in the interest of animals that depend on these systems for survival (e.g., waterfowl, fish, etc.)/ Wetland systems are critical to maintaining clean water resources, storing floodwaters, reducing erosion, and providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Loss of wetlands often increases costs to society to repair or replace these functions that wetlands provide. With increasing population size in coastal areas, the development of a wetland conservation plan is essential to plan for future economic growth while, at the same time, protecting the natural resources people equate with coastal communities. The development of a wetland conservation plan in the Mission/Aransas Watershed highlighted several issues. First, the plan is designed to provide voluntary alternatives for local government and public use. Nonregulatory approaches are fairly new in the scope of land use planning; however, several programs are now available that provide technical and financial assistance. Development of this plan highlighted the opportunity these programs bring to coastal planning efforts. Second, the burden of responsible planning rests primarily with local government officials who often are involved in adhering to or resolving regulatory mandates when dealing with local issues. This plan enabled the local government to meet with natural resource agency personnel, academic staff, and nonprofit organization volunteers who are interested in assisting in community projects. Third, the goals, objectives, and alternatives developed in the plan are intended to server as tools well into the twenty-first century as local government leadership changes and economic/ecologic planning is implemented. The advantage of voluntary planning over regulatory compliance in coastal development will increase as public awareness and understanding of wetland functions and values increase


99 pgs.


coastal zone management, wetland conservation, estuarine ecology