Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve's Ecosystem Based Management Tools Project

Created: 12/19/2010 - Updated: 10/28/2021

Summary

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is located in Aransas Bay northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas. The reserve is located in an area where rapid development and increased population growth have exacerbated pollution, habitat loss, habitat degradation, overfishing, invasive species, and coastal hazard threats. The Ecosystem Based Management Tools Project was designed to examine the links between land use strategies and their effects on coastal and marine ecosystems.

Background

The Mission-Aransas NERR in Aransas Bay, Texas, is led by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Mission-Aransas is one of 29 reserves in the NERR System (NERRS). Currently, NERRS protects over 1.3 million acres of estuarine waters and adjacent upland habitats. The reserve is located in an estuary that supports recreation, tourism, and commercial and recreational fisheries. In addition, the region is experiencing rapid development and increased population growth, which have exacerbated pollution, habitat loss, habitat degradation, overfishing, invasive species, and coastal hazard threats. These stressors are projected to increase with global climate change.

The Mission-Aransas NERR focuses on research and monitoring, education and outreach, and stewardship, and runs workshops and a Coastal Training Program out of its headquarters. As part of its Stewardship program, the NERR created the Ecosystem Based Management Tools Project. This project was created to increase understanding of the links between land use and effects on coastal and marine ecosystems.

Implementation

Partners on this project included the Mission-Aransas NERR, NatureServe, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center, Texas Coastal Watershed Program, and Placeways, LLC (assets acquired by City Explained, Inc. in 2016). The Ecosystem Based Management Tools Project used three decision support tools – CommunityViz, NatureServe Vista, and N-SPECT – to evaluate existing ecosystem health and stressors, investigate trends in policy and economics, and develop alternative strategies to encourage sustainable land use planning and management. These tools allow users to analyze land use scenarios and socioeconomic factors, evaluate impacts from land use scenarios, and identify stressors and predict changes from sedimentation and pollution.

Outcomes and Conclusions

In 2009, the final results of this project were presented to an audience of local, state, and federal officials and in 2011, the report Mission-Aransas NERR Ecosystem Based Management Tool Demonstration Project: An Integrated Approach to Land Use Planning in Aransas County was released. The three tools were used to evaluate ecological, social, and economic effects of different land use scenarios for Live Oak and Lamar Peninsulas in the region.

The project results indicated that the tools can be used to support ecosystem-based management as well as to mitigate issues associated with increased human activity in coastal areas. These tools can be used in other integrated planning approaches around the country to help land use planners understand the links between land use policy and effects on coastal and marine ecosystems.

Resources: 
Mission-Aransas NERR Ecosystem Based Management Tool Demonstration Project: An Integrated Approach to Land Use Planning in Aransas County 
CommunityViz: Urban Analytics for Planners
NatureServe

Status

Information collected through interviews and online resources. Last updated 7/21.

Project File (s)

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Citation

Gregg, R. M. (2021). Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve's Ecosystem Based Management Tools Project [Case study on a project of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve]. Version 2.0. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. (Last updated May 2021)

Project Contact(s)

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve or “Reserve” is a federal and state partnership that conducts research, education, and stewardship programs. This program is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is managed by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. There are 28 Reserves around the country and each reserve is a "living laboratory" in which scientists conduct research and educators communicate research results.

Keywords

Scale of Project
Community / Local
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Land Use Planning
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Biodiversity
Habitat extent
Sea level rise
Climate Type
Temperate
Timeframe
1-3 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Habitat/Biome Type
Coastal
Effort Stage
Completed

Related Resources

Adaptation Phase
Awareness
Assessment
Planning
Implementation
Integration/Mainstream
Evaluation
Sharing Lessons
Sector Addressed
Biodiversity
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Culture/communities
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Fisheries
Land Use Planning
Policy
Research
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Wildlife
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