Victoria County reviews plan to preserve Edwards Aquifer

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Oct. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.
Updated Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.

A $138 million conservation plan to protect eight endangered species in the Edwards Aquifer should go into place this December.

Victoria Director of Intergovernmental Relations Jerry James updated the county commissioners court Monday on the progress of the planning and 15-year strategy to preserve the threatened habitats against their greatest threat: low water.

"It balances the concerns of the region, all the way from the farmers in the west to us downstream," James said.

The aquifer is the primary water source for 2 million people in south central Texas, and by protecting the Texas blind salamander or the fountain darter, both listed as endangered species, we protect the springflow of the river, James said.

"The balance of protecting endangered species, which protects springflow, which provides water to the Guadalupe River."

County Judge Don Pozzi said James' update "demonstrated that they're on the right track and are making a long-term effort to protect everyone's sources of water."

The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Victoria is connected through James' position as the appointed, non-voting member of the Edwards Aquifer Authority Board of Directors representing the South Central Texas Water Advisory Committee. That Authority, along with the cities of New Braunfels and San Marcos, the San Antonio Water System, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Texas State University, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are the plan's partners.

According to the conservation plan's website, "The ability of the stakeholders to reach consensus regarding a regional solution to an extraordinarily complex and contentious problem is truly a significant, unique achievement."

James said Victoria's participation in the stakeholder group gives the area "a voice in how those things are managed."

"I expect them to do very well," James said of the plan. "I'm very optimistic about this whole process."

Pozzi said his concern continues to be the availability of water for the downstream Victoria County.

"We need to see to it that we maintain those sources in the lower basin for our use," Pozzi said.



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