A Conceptual Report - The Management of Bay and Estuarine Systems in the Texas Coastal Zone - Phase II
University of Texas at Austin Division of Natural Resources and the Environment
Coastal Management Program
Interagency Council on Natural Resources and the Environment
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Many policy decisions which will affect Coastal Zone activities must be made within the near future with inadequate quantitative economic, social, and environmental criteria. It is feasible to have an interim state policy allowing continued economic growth in the Coastal Zone but constraining such activities to coastal environmental units that would receive minimum detrimental environmental impact, thereby retaining as many options as possible for the State in the future. Each coastal environmental unit was evaluated in terms of its natural capability to sustain human use that affects its physical, hydrological, geological, chemical, and biological properties, and is grouped in an appropriate resource capability class. Each coastal environmental unit has at least one human activity which if uncontrolled would exceed the natural capacity of the unit. The problem of pollution of the groundwater aquifers and the lack of controls on groundwater use are emphasized. Other coastal environmental units such as the freshwater input, the coastal barriers, the wetlands and the grassflats, and the oyster reefs are termed threatened because they are in a delicate natural balance, are particularly susceptible to certain uses, and are important in the protection of life, property, or the natural coastal ecosystem. Although the major emphasis in this report is on those activities of man that may detrimentally affect coastal environmental units and resources, compatible uses also are outlined. Hypothetical examples are given to indicate the economic and social consequences arising from the implementation of management tools to lessen detrimental environmental impact. The conclusions outlined present positive steps needed to develop an effective Texas coastal management program.