Urban sprawl, also referred to as suburban sprawl, is an uncomplimentary term for the expansive, often volatile and sometimes irresponsible, growth of a metropolitan area, traditionally suburbs over a large area (Wikipedia, 2005). Urban sprawl is a synonym for suburbanization, which is the geographical expansion of urban areas at or beyond their borders. More than 90% of urban growth in the United States has been in suburbs in recent decades (Wikipedia, 2005). The Texas State Data Center's figures show that Texas's population will almost double to 33 million by 2030. The majority of this population growth will occur along the I-35 corridor and to the east of it. Hays County located along the I-35 corridor is experiencing rapid growth in employment, population and land area affected by development. Adjacent communities are growing even more dramatically, for example, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties' combined 2000 population of 1.16 million is projected to increase to over 1.4 million by 2010. The population of Hays County has grown from 1990 to 2000 at a (+ 48.7) change. Though most people assume that growth pays for itself in generated income, studies indicate differently. New growth does not necessarily translate into new wealth for communities. The Texas office of American Farmland Trust conducted a study of the fiscal impact of existing land uses on the Hays County's budget. The studies showed that farms, ranches and open lands generate three times more tax dollars for a county than the county spends on them for public services. Industrial and commercial properties provide a net fiscal benefit as well, but residential development requires $1.10 in services for every tax dollar it generates (Texas Environmental Profiles, 2005). This increase in population will definitely change Hays County and central Texas, however, we can guide and shape this future growth to both curtail the negative environmental, economic, and social impacts and preserve the best aspects of life in our area. The study by Texas Resource and Environmental Engineer Systems (T.R.E.E.S.) will investigate Travis County's problem with urban sprawl and predict how it will impact neighbors adjacent to Hays County and attempt to guide growth to an area of least unfavorable impact to the environment. 2) identify the habitat requirements for concerned species in the study area and map out distribution of suitable habitats, and The extent of our study will focus on urban sprawl located in Hays County, Texas. Hays County is a county in Texas with a population of 114,193, and a total area of 693.5 square miles (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). The county is located on the border between the Edwards Plateau and the southern Black Prairie region. This project will make full use of spatial analyses software developed by Environmental Research Systems Institute (ESRI) including ArcGIS Desktop 9.1 and Spatial Analyst. Furthermore, production deliverables will employ Microsoft's Office Suite and Adobe's Creative Suite applications. All data will be spatially defined using datum NAD 83 and projected using coordinate system UTM Zone 14N. T. R. E. E. S. will assemble an inventory of building permits in Hays County with enough frequency over the past five years to effectively identify spatial growth trends. Processing this data will require geocoding tabular data and determining zonal statistics and surface densities. Reference information on species habitat requirements will be correlated with known distributions of these species to develop realistic present-day distribution maps for selected species of concern in Hays County. In the way, a model will be created to identify primary habitats for selected species in Hays County and will incorporate the following data: Any paper maps regarding species distribution will be incorporated into the model using head-up digitizing georectification. Other methods to be used are vector analysis, buffering, raster analysis, raster reclassification, and slope definition. This study will identify areas in Hays County which are experiencing urban sprawl and identify the habitat requirements for concerned species in the study area and map out distribution of suitable habitats. Additionally, this study will be used as a guide for future development of Travis County. Furthermore, this study will identify where smart growth should occur in the area with least adverse impact to these habitats. Source.


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