Edwards Endangered Species Finally Protected

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The Center for Biological Diversity and two GEAA member groups, AGUA and Citizen’s Alliance for Smart Expansion (CASE), settled a major lawsuit to protect endangered species found only in the Edwards Aquifer and Comal Springs on Friday, December 18, 2009. The settlement with US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) represents a significant victory in the aquifer protection wars.

In response to the lawsuit, the Obama administration agreed to reconsider critical habitat designation for 12 endangered Texas invertebrates, including three species from Comal Springs and nine species from caves in Bexar County. These 12 species are immediately threatened by excessive water withdrawal and urban sprawl. This decision reverses previous critical habitats, designated by the Bush administration, that failed to include areas deemed by scientists to be essential to the survival of the 12 species.

“Consistent with their efforts to minimize protection for the nation’s endangered species, the Bush administration shortchanged these 12 Texas species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “These 12 rare and unique species need increased critical habitat protections if they are going to have any chance at survival.”

For the three Comal Springs species, the Bush administration ignored the advice of expert peer reviewers and only included the small area around the springs themselves, even though the primary threat to the species is groundwater pumping from the larger Edwards Aquifer. For the nine Bexar County cave species, the administration slashed critical habitats proposed by the agency’s own scientists by 82 to 100 percent, leaving them vulnerable to sprawl from San Antonio.

The USFWS agreed to submit new rules designating critical habitat for nine endangered species by 2012. When it originally designated critical habitat areas in 2007, the USFWS slashed scientists’ recommendations, designating only 1,060 out of 9,516 recommended acres. For three other species, FWS designated a mere 50 acres of habitat, of which only 13 acres are privately owned.

Thanks and kudos go to Center for Biological Diversity and SOS Alliance for spearheading this effort, and to GEAA member groups CASE and AGUA for signing on.

To read the Center for Biological Diversity’s full Press Release, click here.
To view the settlement text in its entirety, click here.
To read Greg Harman’s amusing editorial from the San Antonio Current, click here.

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GEAA’s Online AUCTION! Just in time for Christmas shopping!

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To raise enough funds to get us through this year, we’re hosting an online auction just in time for your Christmas shopping!

The auction will end on Sunday, December 13th. Thanks to our member groups and business members, we’ve got a great collection of items:

  • Two Southwest Airlines roundtrip tickets to any destination, good for one year
  • A weekend stay at the beautiful Villa Del Rio B&B
  • A ziplining adventure tour with Cypress Valley Canopy Tours near Austin
  • Golf for four at the gorgeous Tapatio Springs Resort & Country Club
  • River rafting trip for four through Rockin ‘R’ River Rides
  • One full hook-up RV site at Camp Huaco Springs
  • $50 gift certificates for locally roasted coffee (over 30 flavors to choose from!)
  • A 16-hour Wilderness First Aid Certification course

Simply go to our online eBay store, check out our auction items, and place your bid! (For more information about bidding through eBay, see our note at the end of this post.)

Please help make this auction a success by telling your friends, family, and business associates about our online fundraiser!

How to Use eBay:

  • Go to our eBay store website: http://stores.ebay.com/aquiferalliance
  • Browse the items, and read detailed descriptions by clicking on any item’s title.
  • To place a bid, click on an item’s title, then enter an amount for your maximum bid. This amount should be the absolute maximum amount that you’d be willing to pay for the item, no matter what the current bid level is. eBay’s bidding software will operate automatically as an agent to bid in your place, within your bidding parameters. The bidding software will bid as little as possible to outbid any competition, up to the maximum bid you specify. If it needs to up your bid by $1, it does. If it needs to up your bid by $5, it does – until it hits your bid ceiling, when it stops and bows out of the bidding.
  • Once you enter a max bid amount and click on “Place Bid,” you may be prompted to either sign in to your eBay account, or to register an account with eBay. Simply follow the prompts to do so – this is free, and should only take a few moments.
  • If your maximum bid is outbid by someone else, eBay will email you, and you can return to the item to increase your bid, if you wish.
  • If your bid wins the item once the auction is over, eBay will send an email to you, and we at GEAA will get your item in the mail ASAP.

If you have any remaining questions, don’t hesitate to call Elena at 210-320-1457 or email her at Elena@AquiferAlliance.org!

Happy bidding!

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