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«Recreation Plan Recreation Grants Branch State Parks Division 4200 Smith School Road • Austin, Texas 78744 © 2012 TPWD. PWD ...»

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Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan http://nerrs.noaa.gov/Reserve.aspx?ResID=MAR http://nerrs.noaa.gov/Doc/PDF/Reserve/MAR_MgmtPlan.pdf The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (Reserve) is a 185,708acre contiguous complex of private, federal, and state-owned lands and waters that includes high-quality freshwater wetlands, riparian habitats, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. Located along the Texas Coastal Bend, these unique and diverse estuarine habitats support a host of endangered and threatened species including the endangered whooping crane. The Reserve Management Plan identifies priority acquisition and boundary expansion opportunities, including acquisition of additional high-quality wetlands that will protect the integrity of the Reserve and be used to further promote conservation of Texas coastal resources.

Texas Gulf Coast Restoration Priorities http://www.sgmsummit.org/stepping-stones/pdf/04-RestorationPriorities.pdf In response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, non-governmental organizations and academic partners in Texas developed a document titled Texas Gulf Coast Restoration Priorities (Document). The Document identifies coastal wetlands and marshes as priority habitats, and identifies priority areas for wetland restoration and protection.

Texas Wetlands Conservation Plan http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_pl_r2000_0005.pdf The Texas Wetlands Conservation Plan focuses on non-regulatory, voluntary approaches to wetlands conservation that enhance the ability of landowners to use existing incentive programs and other land use options through outreach and technical assistance; develop and encourage land management options that provide an economic incentive for conserving existing wetlands or restoring former ones; and ensure coordination of regional wetlands conservation efforts. Chapters 5-10 of the TWCP identify specific regional and statewide issues of concern and recommended conservation actions to address those issues.

National Wetlands Priority Conservation Planhttp://www.fws.gov/policy/660fw4.html

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for preparing the National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan (NWPCP), authorized by the 1986 Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (EWRA). The NWPCP’s ongoing program provides decision-making guidance on acquiring important, scarce, and vulnerable wetlands and establishing other non-acquisition protection measure priorities. Section 301 of the EWRA requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish, periodically review, and revise a National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan that identifies federal and state acquisition priorities for various types of wetlands and wetland interests. The NWPCP is an ongoing program and continues to provide guidance for making decisions regarding wetland acquisition.

Chapter 3 – Texas Wetlands Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan The NWPCP applies only to wetlands that would be acquired by federal agencies and states using LWCF appropriations.

Texas Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/land_and_water_plan/ The Texas Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (LWRCRP) serves as the strategic plan of TPWD. The goals and objectives identified in the Plan are intended to promote stewardship on public and private lands and waters; protect unique natural and cultural resources; encourage partnerships with all stakeholders;

and utilize science as the backbone of decision-making. To enhance coordination and cooperation with partners on the implementation of the Plan, TPWD initiated the development of 12 planning regions known as Texas Conservation and Recreation Forums. The Forums are used to identify local conservation needs and priorities and help guide the collective conservation actions of TPWD and partners.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 3 – Texas Wetlands

Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands Introduction Texas houses an amazing diversity in unique ecological settings. In addition to the various wetlands, there are a whole host of beautiful and ecologically valuable places across the state. The state is divided up into 12 distinctly different Level III ecoregions and 56 Level IV ecoregions, as defined by the U.S. EPA ecoregion framework. TPWD uses the Level III ecoregions as a planning tool when planning for natural resource management. By creating, maintaining, and promoting parkland, recreation providers can help conserve the rich and varied natural resources of Texas. This chapter summarizes results of an inventory of all municipal, county, state, federal, and nonprofit, or otherwise publicly-owned conservation and recreation lands in Texas. The inventory fulfills a requirement by Chapter 11 of the Parks and Wildlife Code as well as a requirement by the LWCF SCORP guidelines. The following sections will outline the methodology utilized to obtain the best available data, explain the detailed data structure and storage methods employed, and will offer the analytical results from the geospatial analysis.

Methodology Data Compilation and Creation Prior to undertaking this massive endeavor there was not a single existing data source that contained all of the required information or was determined to meet the quality and coverage of the inventory requirement. In order to gain the best level of detail for conservation and recreation lands across the states, a number of approaches were employed.

The first attempt for geospatial data collection was made by contacting the largest regional planning entities, including the different Council of Governments (COGs) and referencing the previous statewide inventory. While most regional planning entities did not have the requested data, existing regional and statewide data sets were used to the

extent possible. These sources included:

• StratMap (https://www.tnris.org/StratMap)

• North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG, http://gis.nctcog.org/)

• Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC, http://www.h-gac.com/rds/)

• Ark-Tex Council of Governments (ATCOG, http://www.atcog.org/)

• Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG, http://www.ctcog.org/)

• Coastal Bend Council of Governments (CBCOG, http://cbcog98.org/)

• TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, Statewide Inventory, 2002.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 4 – Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands As the vast majority of COGs did not have the appropriate level of geospatial data, it was necessary to make direct contact on other levels of governance. TPWD initiated

direct contact with the following entities:

• Texas Cities over 10,000 in population (243 contacts)

• Texas Counties over 15,000 in population (142 contacts)

• Texas River Authorities (12 contacts)

• Texas Council of Governments (23 contacts)

• Non-Governmental Entities (conservation organizations, 37 contacts) Federal agency web resources were utilized to download boundary data for their respective properties or, in the case of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, contacted directly. For city, county, and utility districts a combination of sources were used to perform data compilation. These included city websites, city park master plan documents, utility district websites, the TPWD website, chambers of commerce websites, county appraisal district data, fishing guide sites, etc. Many indirect sources contained only suggestive or partially correct information depicting the location, configuration, or size of a property. In these instances multiple references were combined to create a best fit for the boundary definition of the property. GIS analysts placed heavy reliance on multiple sources and dates of aerial imagery available to place and configure unsupplied, erroneous, or incomplete boundaries, thus creating the most complete statewide inventory of publically accessible recreation and conservation lands ever compiled in Texas.

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Chapter 4 – Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Data Structure The inventory data is a polygon data set maintained in the Texas State Mapping System (TSMS) projection. This is an official state projection using a Lambert Conic Conformal projection in meters based on the North American Datum 1983 (NAD83). Attributes for

each feature include the following:

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Data Storage The inventory is a geographic data set. The data consists of an ArcGIS 10 Polygon Feature Class in an enterprise geodatabase mounted on a Microsoft SQL Server relational database management system.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 4 – Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands To obtain a digital copy of this extensive data set please contact the following TPWD


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Inventory of Recreation and Conservation Lands in Texas Given the sheer physical diversity of the state, each of the 12 ecoregions has a little something different to offer the public in terms of recreation and conservation opportunities. In an attempt to quantify these opportunities, TPWD performed an extensive inventory of the recreation and conservation lands that have public access.

By contacting recreation providers ranging from the federal government to small municipalities to non-profits, TPWD was able to establish a solid baseline analysis of the geographic properties of publically-accessible recreation and conservation lands across Texas. Moving forward, the data will be made available by request, thus improving future planning efforts across the state. There are several spatial analysis tools available to quantify the acreage and location of parklands and recreation facilities.

Owing to the current level of detail within the collected data, the inventory was analyzed in the context of spatial location and ownership. Ownership was classified by the categories established during data collection while location was related to political subdivision, primarily state, county, and Level III ecoregions. This section will attempt to provide an overview of the available recreation and conservation lands in Texas and will start with an examination of Texas as a whole and will then move into an analysis of ecoregions, followed by county-level results.

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Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 4 – Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands Ecoregions Twelve unique ecoregions cover the state and are depicted below in Figure 4.2. In order to gather an appropriate picture for the amount of recreation and conservation land in each ecoregion, values were calculated for the acreage and percent and this analysis can be seen below in Table 4.2. However, no distinction has been made regarding the actual status or condition of any recreation-conservation parcel as it relates to native or natural conditions. Many parcels are urban in nature and/or heavily developed for active recreation facilities. Thus, these figures, while based upon existing properties and mapped ecoregions, may not depict a true sense of conserved lands in each ecoregion.

That being said, barring standardization in future data collecting endeavors, these results represent the best available data in the state. The following adaptation presents a brief description of each ecoregion, along with information on acreage of recreation and conservation lands.

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[Adapted from Griffith, Bryce, Omernik, & Rogers, 2007. Ecoregions of Texas.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Austin. 134 pp.] Arizona/New Mexico Mountains (Ecoregion 23) The Arizona/New Mexico Mountains are distinguished from neighboring mountainous ecoregions by lower elevations and an associated vegetation indicative of drier, warmer environments, due in part to the region’s more southerly location. Chaparral is common at lower elevations; pinyon-juniper, and oak woodlands are found at lower and middle elevations; and the higher elevations are mostly covered with open to dense ponderosa pine forests. Forests of spruce, fir, and Douglas-fir are common in the Southern Rockies and the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, but they are found only in limited areas at the highest elevations in this region. Only a small portion of this ecoregion occurs in Texas.

The Guadalupe Mountains on the Texas-New Mexico border comprise the southernmost peaks of the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains ecoregion. The portion of

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 4 – Inventory of Outdoor Recreation Lands

this ecoregion that occurs in Texas may be small, but 97.33% of the entire region is comprised of recreation or conservation land, amounting to 50,571 acres.

Chihuahuan Deserts (Ecoregion 24) This desert ecoregion extends from the Madrean Archipelago in southeastern Arizona to the Edwards Plateau in south-central Texas. It is the northern portion of the southernmost desert in North America that extends more than 500 miles south into Mexico. In much of the U.S. portion, the physiography of the region is generally a continuation of basin and range terrain (excluding the Stockton Plateau) that is typical of the Mojave Basin and Range and the Central Basin and Range ecoregions to the west and north, although the pattern of alternating mountains and valleys is not as pronounced as it is in the neighboring ecoregions. The mountain ranges are a geologic mix of faulted limestone reefs, volcanoes and associated basalt and tuff extrusive rocks, and rhyolitic intrusions. Outside the major river drainages, such as the Rio Grande and Pecos River, the landscape is largely internally drained. Vegetative cover is predominantly semi-desert grassland and arid shrubland, except for high elevation islands of oak, juniper, and pinyon pine woodland. The extent of desert shrubland is increasing across lowlands and mountain foothills due to gradual desertification caused in part by historical grazing pressure. The recreation-conservation properties in the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion amount to 6.46% of the entire region. This region contains the largest amount of recreation-conservation land in Texas at 1,456,806 acres. This region houses both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park, which account for a large portion of the conserved land.

High Plains (Ecoregion 25)

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