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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25200.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

PREPUBLICATION COPY Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, Report 3 Committee to Review the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, Phase 3 Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies This prepublication version of Review the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, Report 3 has been provided to the public to facilitate timely access to the report. Although the substance of the report is final, editorial changes may be made throughout the text and citations will be checked prior to publication. The final report will be available through the National Academies Press later this year, 2018. A Consensus Study Report of PREPUBLICATION COPY

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by the Edwards Aquifer Authority under Contract No. 13-666-HCP. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: X-XXX-XXX-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: X-XXX-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25200 Cover credit: Cover image courtesy of Laura J. Ehlers. Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/. Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25200. PREPUBLICATION COPY

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. PREPUBLICATION COPY

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit nationalacademies.org/whatwedo. PREPUBLICATION COPY

COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE EDWARDS AQUIFER HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN—PHASE 3 DANNY D. REIBLE, NAE, Chair, Texas Tech University, Lubbock JONATHAN D. ARTHUR, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee M. ERIC BENBOW, Michigan State University, East Lansing STUART E.G. FINDLAY, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York K. DAVID HAMBRIGHT, University of Oklahoma, Norman LORA A. HARRIS, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Solomons STEVE A. JOHNSON, University of Florida, Gainesville JAMES A. RICE, North Carolina State University, Raleigh KENNETH A. ROSE, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge J. COURT STEVENSON, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge (retired) LAURA TORAN, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania National Academies Staff LAURA J. EHLERS, Study Director CARLY BRODY, Senior Program Assistant PREPUBLICATION COPY v

WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD CATHERINE L. KLING, NAS, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DAVID A. DZOMBAK, NAE, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania WENDY D. GRAHAM, University of Florida, Gainesville ARTURO A. KELLER, University of California, Santa Barbara MARK W. LeCHEVALLIER, Dr. Water Consulting, LLC, Morrison, Colorado DINAH LOUDA, Veolia Institute, Paris, France MARGARET A. PALMER, University of Maryland, Annapolis STEPHEN POLASKY, NAS, University of Minnesota, St. Paul DAVID L. SEDLAK, NAE, University of California, Berkeley DAVID L. WEGNER, Jacobs Engineering, Tucson, Arizona P. KAY WHITLOCK, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., Rosemont, Illinois JAMES W. ZIGLAR, Van Ness Feldman, Potomac, Maryland Staff ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate COURTNEY R. DeVANE, Administrative Coordinator BRENDAN R. McGOVERN, Research Assistant/Senior Program Assistant CARLY BRODY, Senior Program Assistant PREPUBLICATION COPY vi

Preface The Edwards Aquifer in south-central Texas is an important water resource that also provides critical habitat for threatened and endangered species in the San Marcos and Comal spring and river systems. The unique habitat afforded by these spring-fed rivers has led to the evolution of species found in no other locations on Earth. Because of the potential for variations in spring flow due both to human and natural causes, the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) and stakeholders have developed a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to protect these unique species. The HCP seeks to effectively manage the river-aquifer system to ensure the viability of the endangered species in the face of future water quantity concerns such as drought and increased demand from population growth as well as water quality threats to the system. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine were asked by the EAA to assist in this process by reviewing the implementation of HCP activities. The National Academies’ study was planned in three phases, with the first phase being a review of the scientific efforts that are being conducted to help build a better understanding of the river-aquifer system and its relationship to the endangered species, including monitoring and modeling. The first phase led to a report published in 2015 that provided an evaluation and recommendations for strengthening those efforts. The second phase led to a report published in 2017 that built upon recommendations in the 2015 report (and the EAA’s response to them), as well as evaluating both hydrologic and ecological modeling and the minimization and mitigation (M&M) measures being undertaken for the HCP. This is the third and final report, which evaluates the likelihood of whether the biological objectives set in the HCP will meet the biological goals and whether the M&M measures will meet the biological objectives. Recognizing that we now have a better understanding of the Edwards Aquifer system as well as the stressors that may impact its condition, the Committee also chose to make recommendations in a final chapter on a path forward that may suggest the need for modifications to the biological goals and objectives. These suggestions are offered in recognition that the ultimate goal is protection of the listed species and not the surrogates for that protection that are identified as biological goals in the HCP. This study was established under the auspices of the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) of the National Academies with the title Committee to Review the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Program. The Committee included 11 individuals representing expertise in all areas relevant to the statement of task, including the hydrogeology of the aquifer and the chemistry and ecology of river systems. Four meetings were held over the past year. The first two meetings were held in San Antonio and included presentations on current EAA and HCP activities relevant to the Committee’s statement of task. I would like to thank the following PREPUBLICATION COPY vii

viii Preface individuals for giving presentations to the committee during one or more of its meetings: Nathan Pence, Executive Director of the Habitat Conservation Program, EAA; Chad Furl, Alicia Reinmund-Martinez, Jim Winterle, Mark Hamilton, and Mark Friberg, EAA; Jacob Jackson and Ely Kosnicki, BIO-WEST; and Josh Perkin, Texas A&M Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. We would also like to thank the many people who helped organize and run the field trips taken by the Committee, particularly Nathan Pence, EAA; Ed Oborny, BIO-WEST; Zac Martin, City of New Braunfels; Lindsay Campbell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Melanie Howard, City of San Marcos. Although Committee members represented many diverse perspectives and expertise that varied from river-aquifer hydrology to biology, they reached consensus on all recommendations included in the report. We hope that the EAA will find these recommendations useful as they guide the scientific initiatives designed to provide a solid foundation for effective management of the river-aquifer system and protection of the endangered species. This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Stephen R. Carpenter, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Wendy D. Graham, University of Florida, Gainesville; Jessie C. Jarvis, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Peter Kareiva, University of California, Los Angeles; Paul Mayer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Margaret Palmer, University of Maryland, Annapolis; Chris Phillips, University of Illinois and the Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign; and Robert G. Traver, Villanova University. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Patrick L. Brezonik, University of Minnesota, and R. Rhodes Trussell, Trussell Technologies, Inc. Appointed by the National Academies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. Danny D. Reible, Chair Committee to Review the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan PREPUBLICATION COPY

Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 Hydrology of the Edwards Aquifer, 14 Ecology of the Edwards Aquifer, 15 Habitat Conservation Plan, 16 The EAA-Requested Study, 17 References, 24 2 THE LISTED SPECIES 25 Fountain Darter, 26 Texas Wild Rice, 33 Comal Springs Riffle Beetle, 37 San Marcos Salamander, 43 Other Covered Species, 48 Conclusions and Recommendations, 51 References, 53 3 WILL THE BIOLOGICAL OBJECTIVES MEET THE BIOLOGICAL GOALS? 57 Understanding the Ratings, 57 Fountain Darter, 58 Texas Wild Rice, 65 Comal Springs Riffle Beetle, 69 San Marcos Salamander, 74 Water Quality Component of the Biological Objective, 78 Conclusions and Recommendations, 80 References, 81 4 WILL THE MINIMIZATION AND MITIGATION MEASURES MEET THE BIOLOGICAL OBJECTIVES? 84 Flow Protection Measures, 84 Water Quality Protection Measures, 95 Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Restoration, 105 Recreation Management, 114 Riparian Management, 124 PREPUBLICATION COPY ix

x Preface National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center Refugia, 131 Conclusions and Recommendations, 132 References, 134 5 OVERARCHING ISSUES 138 Fountain Darter, 138 Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, 140 Macroinvertebrate Data Analysis, 142 Invasive Species, Exotics, and Disease, 143 Catastrophic Events, 146 Final Thoughts, 148 References, 148 ACRONYMS 151 APPENDIX 152 Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff, 152 PREPUBLICATION COPY

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The Edwards Aquifer in south-central Texas is the primary source of water for one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, San Antonio, and it also supplies irrigation water to thousands of farmers and livestock operators. It is also the source water for several springs and rivers, including the two largest freshwater springs in Texas that form the San Marcos and Comal Rivers. The unique habitat afforded by these spring-fed rivers has led to the development of species that are found in no other locations on Earth. Due to the potential for variations in spring flow caused by both human and natural causes, these species are continuously at risk and have been recognized as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In an effort to manage the river systems and the aquifer that controls them, the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) and stakeholders have developed a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The HCP seeks to effectively manage the river-aquifer system to ensure the viability of the ESA-listed species in the face of drought, population growth, and other threats to the aquifer.

This report is the third and final product of a three-phase study to provide advice to the EAA on various aspects of the HCP that will ultimately lead to improved management of the Edwards Aquifer. This final report focuses on the biological goals and objectives found in the HCP for each of the listed species.

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