Consensus Report

Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 1 (2015)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The Edwards Aquifer is the primary source of water for drinking and irrigation in the San Antonio area, and supplies the two largest freshwater springs in Texas, Comal Springs and San Marcos Springs. Both springs are used for recreation and are home to several species of fish, amphibians, insects, and plants found nowhere else. Seven Edwards Aquifer species are on the federal Endangered Species List because they are vulnerable to reduced spring flows caused by drought and pumping. To protect these species, the Edwards Aquifer Authority and four other local entities have created a 15-year Habitat Conservation Plan. This report is the first product of a three-phase study to provide advice to the Edwards Aquifer Authority on various scientific aspects of the Habitat Conservation Plan to help improve the management of the aquifer. The report finds that overall, the Edwards Aquifer Authority is doing an excellent job in implementing many aspects of a complex habitat conservation plan, and that addressing several overarching scientific and modeling issues would further strengthen the plan.