The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) is not one single tract of land but a system of preserves that exists as a multi-agency conservation effort operating under a regional 10(a) permit issued under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW). The permit was issued jointly to the BCP's two managing partners, the City of Austin and Travis County, in 1996.
The City of Austin owns and manages 13,608 acres dedicated to the BCP, some of which are dual-management lands jointly managed with the Parks & Recreation Department .
In addition to existing as habitat for endangered species, these lands provide habitat for numerous native plants and animals and contribute to improved air and water quality and quality of life for the people of Austin.
The BCP should not be confused with the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge located northwest of Austin in the area where Travis, Williamson and Burnet Counties meet. The refuge is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve habitat for the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo, two species also protected in the BCP. One benefit of having both the BCNWR and the BCP proximate to each other is that they could serve as alternative habitat should catastrophic damage occur in a significant portion of either the BCNWR or BCP.