2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 92-8
Presentation Time: 9:50 AM-10:05 AM

INTEGRATING SCIENCE AND POLICY IN THE DECISIONMAKING OF THE TEXAS EDWARDS AQUIFER RECOVERY IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM

VOTTELER, Todd H., Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, 933 East Court Street, Seguin, TX 78155, tvotteler@gbra.org and GULLEY, Robert L., Texas A&M University, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, 2632 Broadway, Suite 301, San Antonio, TX 78215

The Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone) Aquifer is a major karst groundwater formation in Texas. The aquifer is essentially the sole source of water for almost two million persons, including the residents of the City of San Antonio and the surrounding regions. Because of the aquifer's substantial contribution to the flow of regional rivers and the unique forms of life endemic to the springs from the aquifer, its use as a water source has been the focus of intense regional competition and occasionally open conflict in local, state and federal courts, as well as the Texas Legislature. In 2006, the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP), a collaborative, consensus-based stakeholder process became the latest attempt to resolve the longstanding dispute over the aquifer. Through the EARIP as many as seventy stakeholders are working through the federal Endangered Species Act to develop a plan to protect the federally-listed species potentially affected by the management of the Edwards Aquifer and other activities. The goals of the plan include contributing to the recovery of these species. This regional stakeholder process incorporates the results of groundwater hydrology models and aquatic biology models to present a menu of public policy options to the stakeholders. After four years of work the stakeholders have reached a consensus on a management plan for the aquifer that should protect seven endangered species and one threatened species. This presentation will highlight the process and governance structure that was established to lead stakeholders through the various stages of education, dialog, and negotiation with an emphasis on how hydrological and biological models were integrated into the process.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 92
Decision Support for the Geosciences: The Interface between Public, Policy, and Science
Minneapolis Convention Center: Room 101DE
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 240

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