New Implementation Plan to Support the GBRA/TAP-Shared Vision for Water and Habitat in the Guadalupe River System and San Antonio Bay
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and The Aransas Project (TAP) have created an action plan to advance implementation of the GBRA/TAP Agreement (GBRA/TAP Agreement). The Agreement Implementation Plan seeks to realize GBRA’s and TAP’s shared vision for future habitat and water in the Guadalupe River System and San Antonio Bay.
The plan identifies four key goals to guide GBRA’s and TAP’s efforts over the next few years to meet the long-term water and habitat needs within the Guadalupe River System and San Antonio Bay, recognizing that people, commerce and industry, whooping cranes, and natural ecosystems rely on a well-functioning river system and bay.
These four goals include:
- Permanently protecting habitat for whooping cranes through land conservation and other measures
- Delivering enough water in the right places in the San Antonio Bay ecosystem to protect critical bay ecological processes from drought
- Exploring the use of ecosystem service payments to interested landowners to protect and restore seeps and springs in the central watershed south of the Balcones Escarpment
- Restoring the Guadalupe River Delta
GBRA and TAP have identified key actions and next steps to advance progress on these four goal areas in 2018.
Both organizations recognize that making progress towards these goals will require involvement of and partnerships with a range of other stakeholders.
GBRA and TAP do not seek to replicate or replace other important planning and implementation activities in the region, but instead they aim to direct their resources and efforts to catalyze, champion, and/or support activities aligned with these goals. GBRA and TAP welcome input from stakeholders on these goals, as well as expressions of interest to explore opportunities to collaborate on implementation efforts around these goals. GBRA and TAP also anticipate reaching out to current and prospective partners in 2018 to explore specific opportunities.
GBRA and TAP wish to thank the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation (www.CGMF.org) for a generous grant to support development of the Agreement Implementation Plan. As part of the process, GBRA and TAP commissioned interviews with key stakeholders and partners in the region to inform the development of the action plan.
The planning process began in June 2017 and was completed in December. GBRA and TAP are beginning work to advance progress towards these goals in 2018.
The GBRA/TAP Agreement was finalized in 2016, after years of litigation over freshwater inflows for San Antonio Bay and the long-term success of the only remaining flock of wild whooping cranes in the world.
The work under this Agreement considers both habitat issues for the whooping cranes as well as long-term water availability for humans and nature.
GBRA was established by the Texas Legislature in 1933 as a water conservation and reclamation district. GBRA provides stewardship for the water resources in its 10-county statutory district, which begins near the headwaters of the Guadalupe and Blanco rivers, ends at San Antonio Bay, and includes Kendall, Comal, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun, and Refugio counties.
GBRA provides services that include hydroelectric generation; water and wastewater treatment; municipal, industrial, and agricultural raw water supply; and recreational operations.
The Aransas Project, a Texas 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, is an alliance of citizens, organizations, businesses, and municipalities who want responsible water management of the Guadalupe River Basin and bays that represents all interests throughout the basin. TAP supports responsible water management that is reasonable, sustainable and environmentally sound—all the way to the bay.
The Agreement Implementation Plan is available online at: http://thearansasproject.org/basin-management/update-on-implementation-of-the-agreement-january-2018/