December 14, 2013

Cave invertebrates in Texas on endangered species act

The news items describes how 3 species of cave invertebrates in a cave in Texas have had their habitat saved, by being listed on the Endangered Species act. This is important news for caves/cavers worldwide.

Also it is relevant in our fight to  save Gunung Kanthan in Malaysia from being destroyed by Lafarge. Kanthan hill and cave are home to endemic species, in particular the trapdoor spider Liphistius kanthan. See also letters to the media.

The Texas news item can be seen on , 22 Oct 2013. I've reproduced it here in case the original source goes.

Rare Cave-dwelling Creatures in Texas Hill Country Gain Protected Habitat Under Endangered Species Act

SAN ANTONIO - October 22 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized “critical habitat” protection today for three rare invertebrates in Comal and Hays counties, Texas. The designation protects 169 acres of habitat for the cave-dwelling animals, which include two beetles and a crustacean. The protected habitat includes subsurface areas that scientists have identified as critical to the animals’ survival.
“Protecting aquatic habitat for these tiny animals will help safeguard the special natural history of Texas for generations to come,” said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
The animals — Comal Springs riffle beetles, Comal Springs dryopid beetles and Peck’s cave amphipods — were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, after which the Center and allies filed a series of lawsuits to gain protected habitat for the animals, including subsurface areas.
The habitat areas set aside for the animals overlap, consisting of 39 acres of surface habitat and 139 acres of subsurface habitat for the Comal Springs dryopid beetle; 38 surface acres and 138 subsurface acres for the Peck’s cave amphipod; and 54 acres of protected surface habitat for the Comal Springs riffle beetle.

All three of the freshwater invertebrates are found nowhere in the world except four Texas springs, where they are threatened by groundwater pumping from the Edwards Aquifer.
Groups that filed suit to gain habitat protection for the species were the Center for Biological Diversity, Citizen’s Alliance for Smart Expansion and Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas.

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