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GC7101. Resource Capability Units: Their Utility in Land- and Water-Use Management with Examples from the Texas Coastal Zone, by L. F. Brown, Jr., W. L. Fisher, A. W. Erxleben, and J. H. McGowen. 22 p., 4 figs., 1971.
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Excerpted from the Introduction
A resource capability unit is an environmental entity--land, water, area of active process, or biota--defined in terms of the nature, degree of activity, or use it can sustain without losing an acceptable level of environmental quality. Units are established by recognizing elements of first-order environmental significance, whether dominantly physical, biologic, or chemical. These include (1) physical units (geologic substrate and soil units), where physical properties are of primary importance; (2) process units, such as beaches, washover channels, floodplains, escarpments, and dunes where active physical processes are dominant factors; (3) biologic units,such as reefs, marshes, swamps, and grassflats where biologic activity and habitation assume first-order significance; and (4) man-made units such as spoil heaps, dredged channels, canals, and made land where man's activity has resulted in important environmental modification. Capability of water systems is defined by the nature and distribution of sediment substrate, overall salinity patterns, circulation, tidal influence, depth variations, turbidity, fresh-water influx, distribution of biologic communities, and water chemistry.
This report outlines (1) the nature of resource capability units, (2) the basic factors and properties exhibited by the units that define the limits of their use, and (3)the application of resource capability units to environmental management. Specific examples are shown for the 20,000 square miles of the Texas Coastal Zone, where a wide variety of resource units occur in an area of diverse human activities.
Keywords: Texas Coastal Zone, Texas, land use, land management, water use, resource management
Definition of resource capability units
Factors affecting water and land capability
Resource use practices
Derivation of resource capability units
An Example·· Resource capability units of the Texas Coastal Zone
Resource capability units, Texas Coastal Zone
Bays, lagoons, and estuaries
Oyster reefs and adjacent reef flank and inter-reef areas (living)
Oyster and serpulid reefs and adjacent reef-flank and inter-reef areas (dead)
Mobile bay-margin sands
Tidally influenced open bay
Subaqueous spoil areas
Tidal inlet and tidal delta
Highly permeable sands
Moderately permeable sands
Broad, shallow depressions
Highly forested upland areas
Stabilized, vegetated dunes and sand flats
Unstabilized, unvegetated dunes
Fresh-water lakes, ponds, sloughs, playas
Area of active faulting and subsidence
Major floodplain systems
Overbank muds and silts
Made land and spoil
Beach and shoreface
Fore·island dunes and vegetated barrier flats
Application to management programs
Coastal Zone bibliography
1. Schematic map of major land and water resource capability classes, Texas Coastal Zone
2. Schematic map of land and water resource capability units, moderately humid upper Texas Coastal Zone
3. Schematic map of land and water resource capability units, coastal bend region, Texas Coastal Zone
4. Schematic map of land and water resource capability units, arid south Texas Coastal Zone
1. Resource capability units, Texas Coastal Zone
2. Major activities, Texas Coastal Zone
3. Coastal Zone resource units--use and capabilities
Brown, L. F., Jr., Fisher, W. L., Erxleben, A. W., and McGowen, J. H., 1971, Resource Capability Units: Their Utility in Land- and Water-Use Management with Examples from the Texas Coastal Zone: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 71-1, 22 p.