Analysis of the Comal Springs and San Marcos Springs long-term monitoring dataset.
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Groundwater-dependent ecosystems including the Comal Springs and San Marcos Springs of Central Texas are unique spring ecosystems, the persistence of which faces challenges from dependence of growing human populations on the underlying groundwater resources. Human diversion and depletion of groundwater supplies, degradation of water quality, and disturbance to habitats are potential future threats to these systems. Nearly two decades ago, the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) established a springs-specific, long-term monitoring program to assess water quantity, water quality, and habitats for multiple covered species in each spring system. Data resulting from this monitoring program covering the period 2000-2015 (and on-going), compiled into a central database by the EAA, provided the data used for analysis in this report. This report provides an overview of data in the EAA long-term monitoring program, summarizes spatiotemporal patterns, and provides guidance for how existing monitoring data might be leveraged to address long-term conservation goals for listed species. It is important to note that the analysis presented herein is specific to the EAA springs-specific, long-term monitoring database. A plethora of hydrological, water quality, geological, and biological data has been (and is currently being) collected by EAA in the region over the years, which if not incorporated into this springs-specific database, was not reviewed or included.