Habitat conservation planning for development of the Edwards Aquifer Authority Habitat Conservation Plan: grant no. E-38-HP: grant program, Section 6 habitat conservation plan planning assistance

Author Bob Hall (Edwards Aquifer Authority)
Year 2005
Description Summary of progress to 2005 on development of the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to protect the Comal and San Marcos spring ecosystems and mitigate any incidental take of listed species that would occur as a result of low spring flows, and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for description of the preferred alternative
Report Number Grant E-38-HP
Publisher Edwards Aquifer Authority?
Location Comal Springs, San Marcos Springs, Atascosa County, Bexar County, Caldwell County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Hays County, Medina County, Uvalde County
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1. Substantial changes were made to the draft HCP dated November 2002 based on comments received during 2003 from Authority staff, the HCP Work Group, Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and Biological Advisory Team (BAT), and results of additional modeling and evaluation studies that were also completed in 2003 and 2004.

A revised draft HCP/EIS was completed and delivered to the Authority for internal review in January 2004 (draft dated January 2004).

2. A meeting was held with USFWS staff on April 9, 2004 to discuss status of the HCP and to describe and discuss the concept of intensive management areas that would be developed on site to support the spring ecosystem species during periods of severe drought.

3. Consultants met with Authority staff on June 8, 2004, to discuss changes and revisions to the draft HCP/EIS dated January 2004, based on an intensive internal review by Authority technical and legal staff. In response to this intensive internal review additional changes and revisions were completed to the January 2004 draft HCP/EIS.

This resulted in Draft July 2004 HCP.

4. The Draft July 2004 HCP was reviewed and discussed by the Authority Board of Directors and the Board’s Research and Technology Committee during several meetings held in the months of July, August and September 2004. Several amendments by Authority Board members were incorporated that resulted in the Draft July 2004 HCP, as Amended (CD included). This draft was released by the Authority Board to the general public and stakeholders for review and comments. Four public meetings were held by the Authority to receive public comment on the Draft July 2004 HCP, as amended. These meetings occurred at Victoria (November 1, 2004), New Braunfels (November 8 2004) Uvalde (November 16, 2004 ), and San Antonio (November 17, 2004 ). A BAT meeting was also held on November 17, 2004 to receive comment.

5. Public review on the Draft July 2004 HCP, as amended was still in progress at the end of 2004.

Significant Deviations

At the end of 2003, it was apparent that the complex nature of the project, the number of stakeholders with competing interests and the time required in the review and rewrite process would prevent the completion of this project in 2004. On March 16, 2004, Interlocal Agreement Contract between the Authority and State was extended through December 31, 2005.