Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas (AGUA), a San Antonio-based group interested in the protection of the Edwards Aquifer and the land that feeds it, has recently filed a lawsuit charging that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have violated the Endangered Species Act by permitting the construction of an electric transmission line through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat in northwest Bexar County. Golden-cheeked Warblers are an endangered bird that nests exclusively in central Texas.
From the AGUA website:
In particular, the suit claims that the biological opinion prepared by the Service did not follow federal rules and that the cumulative loss of Golden-cheeked warbler habitat has not been fully and fairly considered. The suit asks that the permit decision be set aside and that a plan be developed and implemented to set aside enough acreage to protect the warbler.
AGUA also reports that "Much of the local habitat has already been eliminated due to suburban developments, especially in the area from Austin to San Antonio." Living in this area, the truth of this is self-evident to me, as I see more and more sections of Hill Country terrain bulldozed and scraped to bedrock every week. It is extremely painful to watch — the slow-motion death of the land we have come to love.
This destruction of land is likely to bring with it the degradation of the principle water source for this entire area, the Edwards Aquifer, as the runoff from this land is what feeds the aquifer. This is the reason that a group like AGUA is concerned with habitat for an endangered bird. AGUA President Enrique Valdivia was quoted in the Express-News last week: "We believe that the warbler is an indicator of the health of the environment and the Edwards Aquifer. Our focus is really to protect the Edwards Aquifer."