Workshop #2 :  June 1   8:30 am (BACK)

The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan:
Changing Federally Protected Species from a Liability to a Stream Restoration Asset

Workshop Organizers
Thomas L. Arsuffi, Director
Llano River Field Station & Research
Texas Tech University @ Junction
Junction, TX

Gina Crowder Levesque
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Coordinator
Oklahoma Conservation Commission
Tahlequah, OK

Workshop Presenters
Nathan Pence
Program Manager
Executive Director – Habitat Conservation Plan Program
Edwards Aquifer Authority
San Antonio, TX

Melani Howard, Habitat Conservation Plan Manager
Department: Parks and Recreation
Division: Community Services
San Marcos, TX

Zackary Martin, Watershed Manager
New Braunfels, TX

Materials that participants need to bring:  Notepads, laptop optional

Materials participants will receive:  Readings will be distributed electronically in advance

At the completion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand basics of Endangered Species Act and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP).
  2. HCP planning, implementation, project prioritization and funding
  3. How implementation of HCP leads to improved urban rivers and riparian zones
  4. Relationships and Benefits among Endangered Species recovery, diverse restoration projects, healthy rivers and human communities
  5. Adaptive Management
  6. Public Outreach/Education efforts and project implementation

Workshop Description
U.S. cities and suburbs are increasingly required (e.g. metropolitan areas ranging from Austin, Texas, to Pima County, Arizona, to several counties in California) to think seriously about the implications of their proposed actions on endangered wildlife.  This workshop focuses on reactive and proactive approaches of 2 cities and a region to address wildlife conservation through a habitat conservation plan (HCP) under Section 10 of the ESA.  The Edwards Aquifer HCP is a stakeholder (Edwards Aquifer Authority, City of San Antonio–represented by the San Antonio Water System, City of San Marcos, City of New Braunfels, and Texas State University) driven process, intended to provide assurance that suitable habitat for covered species will remain in both the San Marcos and Comal Springs.  Comal Springs and San Marcos Spring ecosystems are the largest spring systems in Texas as well as the southwestern United States. Both springs support federally protected rare flora and fauna.  Over the years, construction and development along the lake and river banks, channel modification, recreation, invasive species impact and other human activities are having biological impacts. All HCP projects are designed to provide overall benefit to the springs systems and species that inhabit those springs through the three major project categories: Habitat protection, Flow protection, and Supporting measures.

The workshop will cover the goal driven process between levels of decision-making, evaluation, best scientific judgment and review and restoration over different spatial and temporal scales.  Projects covered include: Sediment Removal, Control of Non-Native Species, Sand Bar Removal, Bank Stabilization, Native Riparian Habitat Restoration, Management of Household Hazardous Waste, Management of Recreation in Key Areas, Septic System Registration/Permitting System, Minimizing Impacts of Contaminated Run-off, Management of Golf Courses and Grounds.  Take Home Lesson:  HCP provides a framework to balance economic development with protection and conservation of protected species. An HCP is a mechanism for integrating development and land-use activities with conservation through cooperation.