Press Release
Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program Requests Incidental Take Permit for Federally Listed Species Dependent Upon the Edwards Aquifer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will announce in the Federal Register the notice of availability of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) and an incidental take permit application for the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP) that includes a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (dHCP). This announcement begins a 90-day public comment period.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority; San Antonio Water Systems; the City of New Braunfels, Texas; the City of San Marcos, Texas; and Texas State University (collectively, the Applicants) applied to the Service for an Incidental Take Permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The incidental take proposed in the dHCP would occur in Bexar, Medina and Uvalde Counties and portions of Atascosa, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties in Texas.

The dHCP describes measures the Applicants agree to undertake to minimize and mitigate the effects of incidental take of the following federally listed species dependent on the springs and river systems associated with the Edwards Aquifer: the fountain darter (Etheostoma fonticola), San Marcos salamander (Eurycea nana), Texas wild rice (Zizania texania), San Marcos gambusia (Gambusia georgei), Texas blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni), Peck's cave amphipod (Stygobromus pecki), Comal Springs dryopid beetle (Stygoparnus comalensis) and the Comal Springs riffle beetle (Heterelemis comalensis). The dHCP would cover general activities associated with activities including the regulation and production of groundwater for irrigation, industrial, municipal, domestic, and livestock purposes; the use of instream flows in the Comal River and San Marcos River for recreational uses; and other operational and maintenance activities that could affect Comal Springs, San Marcos Springs and the associated river systems.

The Edwards Aquifer is one of the most prolific artesian aquifers in the world. It is also the source of the two largest springs in Texas: Comal and San Marcos. The Edwards Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for more than 2 million people including the seventh largest city in the nation (San Antonio) and serves the domestic, agricultural, industrial and recreational needs of the area.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
News Release
Public Affairs Office
PO Box 1306
Albuquerque, NM 87103
505/248-6915 (Fax)

The Service issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement that evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, possible issuance of an incidental take permit covering the EARIP

Story Tags

Aquatic animals
Aquatic plants
Endangered and/or Threatened species