Land resource overview of the Capital Area Planning Council region, Texas : a nontechnical guide

Access full-text files




Woodruff, C. M.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Texas at Austin. Bureau of Economic Geology


Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson Counties make up the Capital Area Planning Council (CAPCO) region in Central Texas (fig. 1). The region covers 8,427 square miles (21,826 km) and includes land of great physical diversity. It contains five geographic provinces with elevations ranging from 187 to 1,904 feet (57 to 581 m) above sea level. Parts of four river systems cross the area. Six major categories of soils as well as six natural vegetation assemblages are present. The region is underlain by a complex variety of rock types and sediments representing all four eras of geologic time. Prominent geologic features include a major fault zone and a granitic upland area.

The characteristics of the land differ from place to place, and different kinds of land sustain different uses. Early settlers understood the natural constraints of the land. They recognized floodplains and built on high ground; they planted crops on fertile bottomlands instead of clearing less productive uplands. Inhabitants have always planned their homes and communities around a water supply and, with some exceptions, have avoided contamination of this water for the sake of health and hygiene.

Now, however, increased population and related economic pressures have forced the land to sustain uses for which it may not be best suited. Thus, urban sprawl encroaches onto prime agricultural land, hazardous flood-prone areas, and sensitive aquifer-recharge zones. Likewise, rocky highlands and woodlands, heretofore considered unsatisfactory for intensive agricultural endeavors, have been overgrazed by livestock or have been cleared, fertilized, and planted. Additionally, rural and urban populations demand more and more water and mineral commodities and concurrently produce increasing amounts of wastes. Excavations for mining and landfills for waste disposal result from these demands, yet few people want a strip mine or a landfill as a next-door neighbor. It is clear that the land's natural capacity to support these activities is often strained.

Land is a basic and sometimes fragile resource and must be recognized as such. Proper care of this resource depends upon the user's understanding that the earth consists of diverse landforms and materials which are subject to a variety of natural processes. Given some understanding of the specific nature of earth materials, landforms, and processes, inhabitants can properly develop the land. The need for an informative overview of the varied aspects of the land in the CAPCO region has prompted this study.


To obtain a print version of this publication visit: and search for: SR0007. Tx Doc no.: Z, UA220.8, L23cap

LCSH Subject Headings