In order to better manage the San Antonio Bay System and ensure its long-term health and productivity, a Comprehensive Management Plan must be developed that addresses the major management issues within the System. The Plan should identify needs, opportunities, and priority actions across a number of implementation areas including, but not limited to: water quality, water quantity, habitat conservation/restoration, and public access.
The San Antonio Bay Partnership (SABP) received funding to begin the process of developing a Comprehensive Management Plan for San Antonio Bay from the Texas General Land Office, Coastal Management Program, Cycle 16 funding. The SABP adopted the community- and consensus-based planning approach and utilized the previous partnerships and collaborations that had been formed since the creation of the SABP. This resulted in strong stakeholder input throughout the development of the Plan, ensuring a higher-likelihood of its implementation following completion.
Under the guidance of stakeholder groups, the SABP and private contractors worked to draft both a habitat conservation plan and a coastal public access plan. Although, the two plans were developed in separate phases, they were written and structured in parallel so they could be included into a larger plan that includes all watershed programmatic areas. Although additional plan development is still needed for other implementation areas, development of the Habitat Conservation and Coastal Public Access Plan for the San Antonio Bay System represents an important step towards better management of the San Antonio Bay resources through implementation efforts that protect habitat and provide increased, well-managed public access to the coast. The Plan combines two closely related implementation areas, and identifies priority opportunities and actions in each, which can be used by the local community and natural resource agencies to justify the acquisition of funding, generate collaboration between stakeholders, and move quickly toward on-the-ground project implementation.
The plan development process also resulted in the production of open access maps for (1) conservation, restoration, and protection projects, (2) existing public access opportunities, and (3) public access enhancement projects. All mapping data is accessible to stakeholders via the open access Google Earth software and can be downloaded.
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