Updating the Habitat Conservation Blueprint
DateJan. 24, 2
Biggs, H; Gallaway, A; Guillen, G
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During 2006 the Galveston Bay Estuary Program (a division of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) contracted the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston at Clear Lake to update the Galveston Bay Habitat Conservation Blueprint (HCB) with the input and support of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program's Natural Resource Uses Subcommittee. In 1998, the Galveston Bay Habitat Conservation Blueprint was published by the Galveston Bay Foundation to assist in the habitat conservation and restoration efforts for the Galveston Bay System. This inventory of sites has been used as an efficient tool by many resource managers to restore and protect habitat. However, since the original version was published much has changed within the watershed. While many sites have been improved, others have been degraded either by land use changes, damage due to storms and flooding, or have become inundated with invasive species. In some cases flood control methods have altered the hydrology and habitat of many wetlands. Water quality at many sites is also continuously being threatened by the increase in population of coastal communities. Within the last 8 years natural resource experts and local organizations have published new watershed studies that are increasing our knowledge of critical wildlife habitats found within many Galveston Bay tributaries. With the changing landscape and increased knowledge of Galveston Bay systems, EIH hopes that updating the Blueprint will assist in the implementation of the Galveston Bay Plan and will be used as a tool for future restoration activities funded by other related programs such as the Coastal Impact Assistance Program. EIH and the Natural Resource Subcommittee would like to encourage the attendees at the SOB Symposium to offer input regarding information on the original HCB sites as well as nominate new sites in need of conservation and/or enhancement of habitat. The updated version of the Galveston Bay Habitat Conservation Blueprint will be available online at www.eih.uhcl.edu by late summer of 2007.