The Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program has been awarded a $1,063,125 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for habitat conservation planning assistance. The program’s stakeholders are looking to the Texas Legislature for the rest of the funding they say they will need.
In 2007, the Texas Legislature mandated the creation of the EARIP and directed the stakeholders to come to consensus regarding a plan for protecting federally listed endangered or threatened species while managing the use of the Edwards Aquifer. This plan must be completed by September 1, 2012.
To date, the stakeholders, including the city of San Marcos and Hays County, have provided over $775,000 towards developing the plan and studying the impacts of aquifer management, flooding, recreation, and other activities on the listed species.
Robert Gulley, the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program manager, said, “The stakeholders have been working extraordinarily hard to meet goals set by the Legislature. Thus far, they have met and exceeded all the goals set for them. All parties understand that the work ahead will be difficult. This is a truly significant grant that will not only assist the stakeholders in continuing to meet their goals but also reinforces the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s commitment to our program.”
The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance sponsored the grant application. The application received letters of support from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps. Doggett, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, and Smith.
“This is great news. We gave the stakeholders a difficult task. This award is further evidence that they are up to that task. Most clearly, it demonstrates that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes the importance of a positive outcome from this process and shows its confidence that the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program will get the job done,” said State Sen. Glenn Hegar, one of the sponsors of the Texas legislation creating the EARIP.
EARIP stakeholders include water utilities, cities, groundwater conservation districts, agricultural users, industrial users, environmental organizations, individuals, river authorities, downstream and coastal communities, and state and federal agencies.
For information, the Web site is http://earip.tamu.edu.
— DIANNE WASSENICHEmail | Print