2011 GSA BBASC environmental flows standards and strategies recommendations report




Scott, Suzanne
Wassenich, Dianne


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It is with honor that we submit to you the Environmental Flows Standards and Strategies Recommendations Report from the Guadalupe, San Antonio, Mission, and Aransas Rivers and Mission, Copano, Aransas, and San Antonio Bays Basin and Bay Area Stakeholders Committee (GSA BBASC). Since its first meeting in December 2009, the GSA BBASC has met 29 times and committed countless hours toward its charge to produce the recommendations presented within this report. The GSA BBASC, in reviewing its charge as outlined in Senate Bill 3 (SB3) of the 80th Texas Legislature, established the following purpose statement to further guide its work: �The purpose of GSA BBASC is to balance the environmental flow regime presented by the BBEST with water supply needs across stakeholder groups to reach consensus on recommendations to TCEQ for future flow requirements that will protect the ecology of the rivers and bays/estuaries. These recommendations, within the confines of SB3, will also offer standards and strategies to TCEQ.� We are pleased to report that most recommendations of the GSA BBASC were supported by consensus. The committee recognized that consensus does not necessarily mean unanimity, but members understood that by supporting consensus they weigh the combination of gains and trade-offs and then agree to support the decision. There were a few very difficult decision points where consensus could not be reached and votes were taken in accordance with our adopted meeting rules. A tabular record of these votes is included in our report. The formal Recommendations Report was approved for submittal to the TCEQ and the EFAG by a vote of 21 � 3. The expectation is that, during the rulemaking process, comments from the stakeholder interests will be submitted to the agency to further detail issues of concern. We are proud of the accomplishments of the GSA BBASC. It is important to recognize that although the SB 3 Environmental Flows process is a significant and welcomed improvement in the State�s process to establish Environmental Flow standards, the time constraints and gaps in available science and data were noted time and time again by GSA BBASC members as significant challenges during the committee�s decision-making process. Water issues are complicated. Better science on the environmental needs of the rivers and bays as well as more complete data on water uses and water availability can only improve the reliability and the ultimate results of this process. To that end, the GSA BBASC members are dedicated to completing our next task, the development of the Work Plan. The following Recommendations Report is complete; however, there are several sets of meeting minutes that have been drafted but not yet formally approved by the GSA BBASC. The group decided, at its final meeting prior to submitting the Recommendations Report, to omit the draft minutes from Appendix A and to forward them to TCEQ and EFAG once approved. Meeting minutes to be forwarded at a later date are for meetings which occurred on July 18, 19 and 28, and August 2, 3, 16 and 29. Thank you for this opportunity to serve the State of Texas. We both make ourselves available to answer questions you may have on this report.




The technical and facilitation support, which was instrumental in guiding the committee to a successful conclusion, was made possible due to the generosity of several members of the Committee and their organizations in voluntarily contributing funds to pay for their services. Contributions were provided by the City of Victoria, CPS Energy, Edwards Aquifer Authority, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, National Wildlife Federation, New Braunfels Utilities, San Antonio Water System, and San Antonio River Authority.