Habitat Conservation Plan
The City of San Marcos participates in the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), the culmination of a decades-long conversation on how to best protect the endangered species of the San Marcos and Comal rivers and springs. The City embarked on the Habitat Conservation Plan in coordination with the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan has many projects in and along the San Marcos River that work together to protect and enhance the river’s water quality and habitat. Projects such as removing invasive, non-native plants like hydrilla in the river or ligustrum and elephant ears along its banks, and planting a diversity of historically native plants, create a healthier ecosystem that protects not only the endangered species, but all of the river’s creatures. Contractors continuously work to implement EAHCP measures in both the Comal and San Marcos Rivers, so if you see individuals wearing safety vests in the river, know that they are working to keep the river beautiful.
The Fish and Wildlife Service approved the plan, along with the incidental take permit and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in February 2013 and published notice in the Federal Register.
State Scientific Area
In December 2012, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission designated the upper San Marcos River as a "State Scientific Area" to protect endangered Texas Wild Rice, which grows only in the San Marcos River.
Habitat Conservation Plan Implementation
The Habitat Conservation Plan involves several components in San Marcos:
- Bank stabilization
- Constructing river access areas
- Planting native trees and shrubs along the river
- Invasive species removal
Copies of the EIS and HCP are available on the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Ecological Services website. More information about the HCP, including news and videos, is available on the Edwards Aquifer Authority Habitat Conservation Plan website.