Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Critical Habitat Designated for 3 Comal Springs Invertebrates
Southwest Region, July 17, 2007
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated approximately 110 acres in central Texas as critical habitat for two species of beetle and one species of amphipod, a shrimp-like crustacean on July 17, 2007.  The three endangered species are the Comal Springs dryopid beetle, Comal Springs riffle beetle, and Peck's cave amphipod. 

These species are aquatic and are known to occur only in four spring systems associated with the Edwards aquifer in central Texas. All three are quite small; for example, the riffle beetle is about as long as an uncooked spaghetti noodle is wide. The three freshwater species and the spring systems they live in depend on clean water.  Therefore, hazardous material spills, pesticide use, storm water pollutants and groundwater depletion could damage the habitat, and impact the health of beetle and amphipod populations.

Critical habitat for the three species was designated at Comal Springs and Hueco Springs in Comal County, and Fern Bank Springs and San Marcos Springs in Hays County.  Comal and San Marcos Springs have been impounded to form lakes.  Critical habitat encompasses lakes and spring openings and includes a 50-foot buffer zone around the water's edge. 

For the Comal Springs riffle beetle, the Service has designated 19.8 acres in Landa Lake, which encompasses Comal Springs, and 10.5 acres of Spring Lake which overlies San Marcos Springs, for a total of 30.3 acres.

The Peck's Cave amphipod has a total of 38.5 acres designated; 38.1 acres at Comal Springs and 0.4 acres at Hueco Springs.

The Comal Springs dryopid beetle has 39.5 acres proposed; 38.1 acres at Comal Springs and 1.4 acres at Fern Bank Springs.

The designation was part of a settlement agreement negotiated with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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