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Rising sea levels and coastal storms are expected to contribute to the loss of beaches and barrier islands (Hanemann et al. 2003). Increased human activities have diminished major sand sources, resulting in either the total loss or a more transitory nature of some beaches as they erode at increased rates (Riggs and Ames 2003). Modifications to some coastal features such as barrier islands include construction of barrier dune ridges, planting of stabilizing vegetation, and urban development that can curtail or even eliminate the natural processes that help maintain these systems (Smith et al. 2008).
Because of the position on the landscape, these wetlands are the first to interface with Chapter 3 – Texas Wetlands Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan the coastal marine environment (Day et al. 2008) and bear the brunt of tides, wave action, and any increased inundation that cause erosion, movement and scouring of intertidal sediments. These stressors have resulted in changes to tidal non-vegetated wetlands corresponding to the location of coastal storms, erosion, translocation and redeposition of sediments and have been reflected in the data reported here.
Intuitively, the locations most vulnerable to sea level rise have the lowest regional coastal slopes (Beavers 2002) and possess physiographic characteristics that make them susceptible to sea water intrusion, erosion, or inundation. Tidal non-vegetated wetlands (beaches, sand bars, shoals, sand and mud flats, and small barrier islands) have been especially susceptible to increases in sea level and other climatic changes, such as warming sea temperatures and increasing coastal storm frequency and intensity.
Mangroves and other forested ecosystems directly adjacent to saltwater coastlines also have been prone to change because of their narrow environmental requirements and geographic and climatic limitations along tidal fringe environments. Their susceptibility to physical–structural damage and the reduced ability of some shorelines to withstand coastal storms put these forested wetland communities at risk.
More frequent or longer lasting droughts and reduced freshwater inflows may increase the incidence of extreme salt concentrations in coastal ecosystems, resulting in a decline of mangroves (Krauss et al. 2008) and other maritime woody species. Along portions of the west coast of Florida, saltwater intrusion has already replaced forested habitats with salt marsh or more salt tolerant species—a more subtle ecological shift than the drowning of coastal vegetation by rising sea levels associated with saltwater inundation (Williams et al. 1999). In the future, mangrove forests may be diminished in both stature and extent (Doyle 1997) as their extent, stability, and ecological integrity are threatened by increased wave action, coastal storm events, changes in water temperature, depth, and duration of tidal inundation.
Texas Wetlands: Conservation Strategies and Priorities Texas Conservation Action Plan http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/tcap/ The Texas Conservation Action Plan (TCAP), also known as the Texas Wildlife Action Plan or Texas Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, identifies fish and wildlife species and their habitats (including wetland habitats) of greatest conservation need, describes major stressors affecting these species and habitats, and recommends specific conservation actions. Recommended actions identified in the TCAP were developed with stakeholder input obtained through ecoregional planning workshops.
Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 3 – Texas WetlandsEcoregional Conservation Plans Developed by The Nature Conservancy http://east.tnc.org/ http://www.conservationgateway.org/content/planning-nature-conservancy Ecoregional Conservation Plans developed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and partners include portfolios of conservation areas important to the protection of biodiversity. Preservation of areas identified in Ecoregional Conservation Plans necessitate a broad array of conservation actions ranging from land and water stewardship and protection (where elements currently occur) to more permanent protection tools, such as conservation easements and land acquisition.
North American Waterfowl Management Planhttp://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/NAWMP/
In 1985, waterfowl populations had plummeted to record lows. Historical data indicated that since the first settlers arrived, 53% of the original 221 million wetland acres found in the contiguous United States had been destroyed. The picture was the same across Canada, where a large percentage of the United States' wintering waterfowl nest.
Waterfowl were then and are now the most prominent and economically important group of migratory birds of the North American continent. By 1985, approximately 3.2 million people were spending nearly $1 billion annually to hunt waterfowl. By 1985, interest in waterfowl and other migratory birds had grown in other arenas as well. About
18.6 million people observed, photographed, and otherwise appreciated waterfowl and spent $2 billion for the pleasure of doing it.
Recognizing the importance of waterfowl and wetlands to North Americans and the need for international cooperation to help in the recovery of a shared resource, the U.S.
and Canadian governments developed a strategy to restore waterfowl populations through habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement. The strategy was documented in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (Plan) signed in 1986 by the Canadian Minister of the Environment and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the foundation partnership upon which hundreds of others would be built.
The Plan is innovative because its perspective is international in scope, but its implementation functions are based at the regional level. Its success is dependent upon the strength of partnerships, called "joint ventures," involving federal, state, provincial, tribal, and local governments, businesses, conservation organizations, and individual citizens. Joint ventures develop implementation plans focusing on areas of concern identified in the Plan.
Partners' conservation projects not only advance waterfowl conservation, but make substantial contributions toward the conservation of all wetland-associated species.
There are 21 joint ventures actively working to implement the Plan. The five listed below have a geographic scope and mission focused on conservation of wetlands and associated species in Texas.
Chapter 3 – Texas Wetlands Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Gulf Coast Joint Venture http://www.gcjv.org/ The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) is a partnership among federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners dedicated to the conservation of priority bird habitats along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast. The GCJV is divided geographically into five Initiative Areas, three of which are geographically focused within Texas (Laguna Madre Initiative Area, Texas Mid-Coast Initiative Area, and Chenier Plain Initiative Area). Specific conservation goals, objectives, and strategies have been developed for each of these Initiative Areas, along with portfolios of proposed priority conservation projects.
Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venturehttp://www.lmvjv.org/
The Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture (LMVJV) is a self-directed, non-regulatory private, state, federal conservation partnership that exists for the purpose of implementing the goals and objectives of national and international bird conservation plans within the Lower Mississippi Valley region. The LMVJV is focused on the protection, restoration, and management of those species of North American avifauna and their habitats encompassed by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. The geographic scope of the LMVJV consists of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and the West Gulf Coastal Plain, an area that includes eastern Texas. The LMVJV has developed a number of documents that identify wetlands priorities in the region (e.g., Western Gulf Coastal Plain Shorebird Conservation Plan).
Oaks and Prairies Joint Venturehttp://www.opjv.org/
The Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV) is a regional, self-directed partnership of government and non-governmental organizations, corporations and individuals that works across administrative boundaries to deliver science-based avian conservation within the Edwards Plateau, in addition to the Oaks and Prairies ecoregions. The OPJV Concept Plan identifies the process that is implemented by the OPJV to identify specific conservation goals and priorities in the region.
Playa Lakes Joint Venturehttp://www.pljv.org/
The Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) is a non-profit partnership of federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation groups, private industry, and landowners dedicated to conserving bird habitats in the Southern Great Plains, including rivers and streams, playas, saline lakes, and other wetlands. The PLJV has developed a number of decision support tools that identify priorities for habitat conservation in the region, including Area
Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 3 – Texas WetlandsImplementation Plans for the Shortgrass Prairie and Central Mixed-Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Regions of Texas.
Rio Grande Joint Venture http://www.rgjv.org/ The Rio Grande Joint Venture (RGJV) is a regional, self-directed partnership that delivers science-based bird and habitat conservation in the Chihuahuan Desert (located in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and north-central Mexico) and the Tamaulipan Brushlands (located in south Texas and northeastern Mexico).
National Fish Habitat Action Plan
Determined to reverse the declines of America's fish habitats, a diverse group of partners known as the National Fish Habitat Partnership joined together to develop and implement a nationwide strategy to protect, restore, and enhance aquatic habitats. This nationwide plan, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, is being implemented through voluntary, locally-driven partnerships known as Fish Habitat Partnerships, two of which have a geographic scope and mission that encompasses wetland habitats in Texas.
Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnershiphttp://southeastaquatics.net/
The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) is a regional collaboration of natural resource and science agencies, conservation organizations, and private interests developed to strengthen the management and conservation of aquatic resources in the southeastern United States (from Texas to Virginia). The SARP supports and facilitates on-the-ground and in-the-water science-based action to improve and protect aquatic habitats and resources. The SARP has developed a strategic plan known as the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan that identifies priority conservation strategies and actions in the region. The SARP also promotes a set of regional conservation focus areas, one of which is concentrated on the restoration and preservation of aquatic habitats in the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion of Texas.
Desert Fish Habitat Partnershiphttp://www.nature.nps.gov/water/DFH_partnership.cfm
The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership (DFHP) conserves native desert fish by protecting, restoring, and enhancing their habitats in cooperation with state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies, federal resource agencies, research and private organizations, and engaged individuals. The DFHP Strategic Plan identifies priority conservation strategies and actions to preserve aquatic habitats within the desert ecosystems of the western United States, including the Trans-Pecos region of Texas.
Chapter 3 – Texas Wetlands Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Coastal Bend Bays Plan http://www.cbbep.org/ http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/upload/1998_09_02_virtuallibrary_cbbin.pdf The Coastal Bend Bays Plan (Plan) developed by the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program provides a regional framework for conservation action in a 12-county area of Texas known as the Coastal Bend. The Coastal Bend includes three of the seven Texas estuaries – Aransas, Corpus Christi, and upper Laguna Madre. The Plan focuses on conservation of open water, submerged habitat, emergent wetland and upland environments critical to the preservation of natural resources in the region. The Plan identifies regional conservation goals and calls for efforts to identify habitat types that are most at risk and to work with landowners and local and state governments on ways to preserve sufficient, functional acreage of those habitats. The Plan identifies specific conservation tools necessary to attain this goal, including the use of conservation easements, tax abatements, or land acquisition.
Galveston Bay Planhttp://www.gbep.state.tx.us/http://gbic.tamug.edu/GBPlan/GBPlan.html
The Galveston Bay Plan developed by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program includes a Habitat Protection Action Plan (Plan). The Plan advocates an ecosystem approach to conservation that supports the maintenance of natural physical processes (e.g., sediment flows) and that ensures the existence of an optimal variety and distribution of habitats. Specific goals of the Plan include protection of existing wetlands through acquisition.
Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Strategyhttp://epa.gov/gulfcoasttaskforce/
The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Strategy (Strategy) developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (Task Force) is intended to drive action and guide the long-term collaboration that will be necessary to reverse widespread environmental degradation of the Gulf of Mexico and ensure a healthy environment and economic future. The Strategy builds on ongoing work and priorities of states, local communities, federal partners, academics, and nongovernmental organizations. The restoration framework outlined in the Strategy consists of four overarching goals that will guide collective actions at the local, state and federal levels: (1) restore and conserve habitat; (2) restore water quality; (3) replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources; and (4) enhance community resilience. In support of the four goals, the Task Force has identified specific actions that must be taken to reach the intended outcomes, including habitat protection through the expansion of state, federal, and private conservation areas.