HAYS COUNTY— After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that two aquatic invertebrates, the Texas troglobitic water slater and mimic cavesnail, are not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Texas troglobitic water slater is a tiny subterranean crustacean that lives deep within the Edwards Aquifer in Hays County; and the mimic cavesnail is a small freshwater snail that lives deep within the Edwards Aquifer in Bexar County.
Primary threats affecting both species’ survival include mortality from groundwater wells, reductions in groundwater quantity and groundwater contamination.
After completing status reviews of the species and consulting with academia, state agencies, species experts and others, the Service concluded that neither species are in danger of extinction or likely to become in danger of extinction throughout all of their range or in any significant portion of their range and do not meet the definition of threatened or endangered species.
While the Texas troglobitic water slater is not warranted for listing under the ESA, it is currently one of 11 species covered by the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan (EAHCP). The EAHCP provides measures to minimize and mitigate take of the species, including maintaining sufficient spring flows to help them survive prolonged drought conditions. These measures also indirectly benefit the mimic cavesnail and other species that live in the aquifer.
Across the Southwest, 58 fish, wildlife and plant species have avoided ESA listing thanks to the collaborative efforts of federal agencies, states, tribes and private landowners, with the ESA serving as a catalyst for conservation efforts that help protect at-risk species and their habitat.
The Service is committed to collaborative conservation, transparency, and ensuring that ESA findings are science driven. The full status assessments for each species can be found in the Environmental Conservation Online System (https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/), and the full notice for the not-warranted findings can be found in the Federal Register (https://www.federalregister.gov/).