In the spirit of Mermaid Week, tell officials not to mess with the ESA

Our Viewpoint

The mermaid is an alluring symbol of protection for the San Marcos River and the creatures that live there, but good intentions aside, the river and the springs that feed it need stronger protection than a mythical being can provide.

It’s more true today than ever, as the administration of President Donald Trump has been chipping away at environmental regulations, and some in the GOP have already set their sights on the mother of all protections — the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The good news is that it would take an act of Congress to do away with the ESA. The bad news is, were that to happen, it would likely spell doom for the San Marcos River.

“It would be dry,” Dr. Thom Hardy of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment said. “San Antonio would have pumped the aquifer to the point of what happened to the Comal during the drought of record.” Comal Springs, the state’s largest springs system, went dry during the “drought of record” in the 1950s. “We would lose the Comal River too,” Hardy said.

Without legal protection, Hardy points out that it would be only “by the force of will” that municipalities and agricultural interests would restrain from pumping the resource dry. Hardy says he doesn’t have that sort of faith in humanity, and he makes a valid point. As the region grows and more and more families move into more and more new houses built for them, the temptation of overpumping could be hard to overcome, especially for developers limiting their scope of vision to the bottom line.

The ESA was passed by Congress wnearly unanimously in 1973 and since then, several species including the Bald Eagle and the Whooping Crane have been brought back from the edge of extinction. Texas Wild Rice, the San Marcos Salamander, the Texas Blind Salamander and the Fountain Darter, though not as impressive as those big birds, need equal protection.

Through an executive action, the President could order that no new species come under ESA protection, but keeping that protection for all species great and small would fall to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Make Mermaid Week last and more importantly — make our clean-flowing springs last so that future generations may enjoy the San Marcos River as we do.

Tell your elected officials not to mess with the ESA.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666