Transportation and Natural Resources
Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Program
The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve
The Balcones Canyonlands area in western Travis County provides habitat for a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth. Above ground are unique woodlands, wetlands and grasslands. Below ground is a honeycomb network of caves, sinkholes and springs containing highly specialized animals adapted to these unique environments. Still deeper are a series of aquifers, including the Edwards Aquifer that is the primary drinking water source for over 1.5 million central Texas residents.
For centuries, the Texas Hill Country supported a thriving community of wildlife including species such as the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo. Unfortunately, changing patterns of land use and urban expansion fragmented habitats and populations of these species declined. When scientists and community leaders came together to create a plan that would protect this natural heritage while allowing economic growth and development to continue, the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (or BCCP) was created.
In addition to providing landowners with locally managed solutions to address endangered species concerns, the BCCP called for the creation of a system of habitat preserves known as the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (or BCP). The BCP was created to protect eight federally listed endangered species, including two songbirds and six invertebrates. In addition to protecting these especially vulnerable animals, the Preserve protects habitat for other native plants and animals of the Texas Hill Country and contributes to clean air, clean water and quality of life for all Central Texas residents.
The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) is managed under the terms and conditions of the BCCP, a regional permit issued under section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and jointly held by Travis County and the City of Austin. A number of cooperating partners own and manage lands dedicated to the Preserve, including several private landowners, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Nature Conservancy of Texas, and the Travis Audubon Society.
The managing partners have acquired a total of over 30,444 acres in western Travis County since issuance of the BCCP permit in 1996 (as of June 2012). Ultimately, the BCP will set aside at least 30,428 acres of prime habitat, making it one of the nations largest urban preserves.
For more information about the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, please contact us.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:00 PM