Onion Creek Wildlife Sanctuary

A recent article listed the greatest threats to global public health are climate change and loss of biodiversity. Functional ecosystems are central to sustainable cities and human well-being. Public natural areas are vital for human health and well-being, supporting human physical and mental health and social well-being as well as providing critical services such as climate mitigation, endangered species habitat protection and mitigation, stormwater conveyance and moderation of flooding, air cleansing, and provision of drinking water.

Community surveys indicate that Austin residents have a strong desire to conserve natural spaces for passive, unprogrammed, recreation and conservation value. Many parks vision plans specify conservation of large natural areas. Without active management, however, ecosystem health is degraded, which makes natural areas increasingly vulnerable to negative outcomes such as canopy mortality and wildfire. The 2019 City of Austin Wildfire Preparedness Audit highlighted PARD’s limited capacity to manage natural areas and recommended the creation and implementation of land management plans for high-risk areas.

The purpose of this document is to guide the Austin Parks and Recreation Department in restoring and managing natural areas to mitigate risk, improve resilience, and provide ecosystem services to Austin residents in perpetuity. This guiding document will be used to inform management goals and priorities, work plans, environmental monitoring and adaptive management, implementation plans, use policies, grant applications, and departmental resource requests.

Recommended Land Management Strategies and Climate Vulnerability Analysis

Boards and Commissions

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