By Jairo Devora
Originally published on March 31, 2016.
The Texas Blind Salamander is native to our town of San Marcos, specifically to the San Marcos pool of the Edward’s Aquifer. It has adapted to living in water underground, has no eyes, little to no skin pigment and external gills to extract oxygen from the water.
However, with the growing population of San Marcos and Hays County, Texas State University Professor and Chief Science Officer at the Meadows Center of Water and the Environment said the Texas Blind Salamander may face a variety of factors that can affect its natural habitat.
“I think the biggest threats to the Blind Salamander, since it is an aquifer species, is over pumping of the groundwater. Which is not such an issue directly in the city of San Marcos, since the vast majority of our water comes from surface water and Canyon Lake. But it is the regional groundwater pumping that could adversely affect the aquifer levels, which then would indirectly, potentially affect the Blind Salamander.”
To help keep the native Salamander safe, Dr. Hardy recommends that we become more aware of the amount of water we use.
“I think the biggest thing is that the citizens in San Marcos and, in fact, the I-35 corridor, would be to become water-wise and use as little water as feasible,” Dr. Hardy said. “Especially if you are getting your water source from the [Edwards] aquifer,” Dr. Hardy continued. “The less water we use, the less pumping has to incur, the more protection that is afforded the Blind Salamander.”
According to Dr. Hardy, thanks to the help of various citywide regulations, the San Marcos River is doing well.
“Yes. In fact, I believe that the San Marcos River in general, through the efforts of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, has received adequate protection under existing conditions and we’ve been improving the environmental status of this river through those restoration efforts.”
With an increasing amount of activity in the river, it’s important to remember what is necessary to preserve it and that we aren’t the only ones using it.