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Can We Find An Endangered Species in the Aquifer?

We could then make the case that the water in the delta would have to be pumped south to get it back into the aquifer to protect the endangered bug.

Aug 08, 2013

The insanity of current water policy can drive you insane. Some scientists claim there's an ecological disaster in the delta, and we must not pump water to the south to protect the Delta Smelt. The lack of surface water forces us to pump deeper and deeper wells and pump more and more water out of the aquifer, to the point of massive subsidence. Certainly a case can be made that our ecological disaster of collapsing aquifers is equal to, if not greater, than the delta disaster. So, to which disaster do we give preference? For now, it's the delta. Why? Because they have protected species that are on the endangered species list and protected by the Endangered Species Act, mostly the smelt. Here in the Central Valley the aquifers themselves have no act to protect them, and we humans have no act to protect us. All this being the case, we must find an endangered bug of some kind in the aquifer that needs protecting. We could then make the case that the water in the delta would have to be pumped south to get it back into the aquifer to protect the endangered bug. It would be endangered bug vs. endangered smelt. It might give us a fighting chance. Until then, if it's just people vs. fish, we have no chance. Now, that's insanity.


Endangered Species of the Edwards Aquifer

Aquatic species

Over 40 species of highly adapted, aquatic, subterranean species are known to live in the Edwards Aquifer. These include amphipod crustaceans, gastropod snails, and interesting vertebrates like blind catfish (Longley, 1986). Seven aquatic species are listed as endangered in the Edwards Aquifer system, and one is listed as threatened. The main problems for all the species are reduced springflows caused by increased pumping, elimination of habitat, and degradation of water quality caused by urban expansion.

The World Wildlife Fund has produced a must-have, authoritative reference work for anyone interested in endangered species. It describes 540 endangered or threatened species, including their habitat, behavior, and recovery. Excerpts from their Guide to Endangered Species and other sources were used to prepare this section. Information on the aquatic invertebrates was prepared using the US Fish and Wildlife's published final rule on listing the species.

The seven endangered species of the Edwards Aquifer system are:

The threatened species is:

San Marcos Salamander (Eurycea nana)

Karst-dwelling species

In addition to the aquatic species that depend on Aquifer water itself, nine cave-dwelling invertebrates that live in the Aquifer's karst formations were listed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service as endangered in December 2000. There are three beetles, one daddy long-legs, and five spiders. In May of 2008 the Service released a Draft Recovery Plan (download it). For a general discussion on all these creatures see the section below on the cave-dwelling invertebrates.

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