The City of Austin's wildlands provide benefits to our entire community. They are not parks, but rather public lands held in trust for a specific purpose based on the mission of the program under which they are managed. Those managed under the Division's Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) Program conserve habitat for eight endangered species and 27 species of concern. Those managed under the Division's Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) Program optimize the quantity and quality of water recharging the Barton Spring segment of the Edwards Aquifer.
Created in 2002 by the action of City Council, the Wildland Conservation Division is within the Austin Water Utility. Though not directly connected to the delivery of drinking water and treatment of wastewater, the wildlands absorb rainfall helping to alleviate flooding and prolong the inflow of water to area creeks and lakes, ultimately contributing to the Colorado River, Austin's source of drinking water. Management of the wildlands toward a thriving ecosystem also contributes to good water quality in our creeks, streams and underlying aquifers.
Benefits of Wildlands
Absorb rainfall and reduce flooding.
Store and slowly release water into creeks, prolonging their flow.
Filter pollution and dilute impacts of development.
Protect habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
Conserve native plants as a genetic seed bank for the future.
Enhance air quality through presence of vegetation.
Preserve aspects of cultural history.
Provide access on some tracts for recreation and education.
Serve as locations for research.
Offer beautiful views adding to Austin's quality of life and reputation as a community that values its environment.