Site Suitability Analysis for a Land Conservation Easement in El Paso, Texas
AuthorVan Essen, Daniel
KeywordsSite Suitability Analysis
El Paso County
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Chihuahuan desert is an ecologically diverse landscape and the largest desert in North America, covering parts of New Mexico, Texas, and northeastern Mexico. Urbanization, overgrazing, and water depletion threatens the viability of this ecosystem. For the protection of this desert and the wildlife and waterways within it, land conservation is integral. One land conservation strategy is the establishment of a land conservation easement. This type of easement is a voluntary agreement with a non-profit organization or government agency that prevents development and specifies best practices within the easement while the owner of the land maintains ownership. In response to the need of land conservation, this study utilizes a multi-criteria evaluation with weighted overlay technique to identify suitable and ecologically valuable land for a land conservation easement in El Paso County, Texas. Criteria for suitability was developed with Frontera Land Alliance, a non-profit conservation organization. GIS software was utilized to implement the multi-criteria evaluation with weighted overlay technique and map suitable conservation land in El Paso County. This study ranks all land within El Paso County based on a scale of five with one being the least suitable land and five being the most suitable land. Approximately 77,916 acres of land, equating to 12 percent of the land within El Paso County was ranked as a five in terms of high suitability. This study identifies the twenty-five most suitable parcels for a land conservation easement. The results of the study will help Frontera Land Alliance identify the most suitable parcels to pursue acquisition for a land conservation easement.