Natural Resource Condition Assessments for San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

Mesquite trees grow in a large open grass lawn in front of adobe walls and church.
San Antonio Mission Landscape.

NPS Photo.

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park preserves the largest concentration of Spanish colonial era cultural resources in the U.S. The park consists of two units located in San Antonio and Floresville (50 miles south of San Antonio), Texas. The park supports blackland prairie, characterized by patches of oak woodland within grassland; and south Texas brush country, characterized by plains and thorny trees and bushes. The varied habitats in San Antonio Missions park support a diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2016

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes within this park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2016. Representatives from the National Park Service and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota collaborated to determine park needs and available data. This team chose 15 resource topics to evaluate:

- Forested riparian corridors

- Fish

- Native grasslands

- Water quality

- Upland shrublands/woodlands

- Air quality

- Reptiles

- Soundscape

- Amphibians

- Dark night skies

- Breeding birds

- Viewscape

- Resident birds

-Hydrology (surface and groundwater)

- Aquatic macroinvertibrates

Overall, the assessment showed that the natural resources within this park were varied. Five resource topics were in good condition: upland shrublands/woodlands, reptiles, breeding and resident birds, and hydrology. Two resource topics were of moderate concern: fish and water quality. Three resource topics were of high concern: air quality, soundscape, and viewscape. The remaining five resource topics (forested riparian corridors, native grasslands, amphibians, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and dark night skies) were not given a condition rating due to lack of historic or current data. Although San Antonio Missions National Historic Park is impacted by adjacent human activities in its largely urban location, the natural setting still provides an oasis from the surrounding developed areas for both wildlife and human visitors. Maintaining and/or improving these resources will contribute to the environmental health of the surrounding area and provide important opportunities for urban residents to connect with the natural world.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: February 25, 2022


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