Well Sampling for Aquifer Biota

Author Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center (EARDC) and George Veni and Associates (Veni)
Year 2001
Description Sampling plan for studying subterranean species of the Edwards Aquifer Balcones Fault Zone San Antonio Segment
Publisher Southwest Texas State University Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center
Location Edwards Aquifer, Balcones Fault Zone, San Antonio Segment
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The Well Sampling for Aquifer Biota Monitoring Plan was prepared for the Edwards Aquifer Authority by the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center at Texas State University and George Veni and Associates in 2001.  The monitoring plan addresses the need for new, expanded data and information regarding the subterranean aquifer-dwelling organisms of the San Antonio portion of the Balcones Fault Zone Edwards Aquifer by  describing locations and methods for collecting aquifer-dwelling biota similar to the previous sampling in 1979.

[From the Introduction]
…The Well Sampling of Aquifer Biota Study (the Study) is one of 17 studies identified in the EAOP [Edwards Aquifer Optimization Program]. It was formulated to address the need for more expanded and updated information regarding subterranean aquifer-dwelling organisms. Thirty-seven species of these organisms have been collected from the portion of the aquifer regulated by the Authority. Thirty-three species are invertebrates, such as amphipods, snails, and flatworms. The amphipods and snails are the most diverse groups of all species collected to date. The invertebrates are widely distributed throughout the aquifer. Four species of subterranean vertebrates have been collected. They include two fish species and two salamander species. They exhibit a much more limited distribution than do the invertebrates. Subsequently, both fish species, the widemouth blindcat (Satan eurystomus) and the toothless blindcat (Trogloglanis pattersonf) are listed as threatened by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists one salamander species, the Texas blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni)as endangered. No subterranean invertebrate species are listed.

The subterranean aquifer-dwelling organisms have generated substantial interest in the scientific community because of their unique biology, distribution patterns, phylogenetic relationships, and evolutionary history. Limited information about their abundance, distribution, population trends, and other life history information has been developed.

Dr. Glenn Longley, his research associates, and graduate students performed the last comprehensive survey of these organisms in 1979. New information about these organisms will support better-informed decisions regarding aquifer management.

In November 2000, the Authority entered into a contract with Southwest Texas State University (SWTSU) through its Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center (EARDC).

The contract stipulates that EARDC shall develop a comprehensive Monitoring Plan (the Plan) for sampling locations across the aquifer so as to meet the specific objectives and desires of the Authority, its EAOP, and the HCP. The purpose of this document is to function as the Plan for the Study as funded by the Authority. The Plan provides a simple, concise document that outlines procedures and protocols that will allow researchers to fully implement the Study upon the Authority’s review and approval of the Plan. It is understood that, depending upon results and future developments, through time the Plan may be further modified, with approval of the Authority. Modifications may be required to facilitate implementation and completion of the Study and will be documented in required quarterly progress reports and the final report.