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Region K Facts… • Major Cities: Austin • Population (2000): 1,132,228 • Population (2060): 2,713,905 • Total Water Use (2000): 1,004,335 Acre-Feet * • Total Water Use (2060: 1,301,682 Acre-Feet * • Primary Rivers: Colorado • Major Aquifers: Trinity, Edwards (BFZ), Carrizo-Wilcox, Gulf Coast • Annual Precipitation: 24-48 Inches • Net Evaporation: 20-44 Inches * Acre-Foot of Water: the amount of water required to cover an area of one acre to a depth of one foot; once acre-foot of water is equal to 325,851 gallons.
Criteria • Biological Function: Segments which display significant overall habitat value including both quantity and quality considering the degree of biodiversity, age, and uniqueness observed and including terrestrial, wetland, aquatic, or estuarine habitats • Hydrologic Function: Segments which are fringed by habitats that perform valuable hydrologic functions relating to water quality, flood attenuation, flow stabilization, or groundwater recharge and discharge • High Water Quality/Exceptional Aquatic Life/High Aesthetic Value: Segments and spring resources that are significant due to unique or critical habitats and exceptional aquatic life uses dependent on or associated with high water quality; or • Threatened or Endangered Species/Unique Communities: Sites along segments where water development projects would have significant detrimental effects on state or federally listed threatened and endangered species, and sites along segments that are significant due to the presence of unique, exemplary, or unusually extensive natural communities.
Hydrological Features • Barton Creek-High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; high water quality, diverse benthic macroinvertebrate community (Bayer et al., 1992 and Davis, 1998) Endangered Species- Barton Creek Salamander • Blanco River- High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - high water quality and exceptional aquatic life use • Big Boggy Creek • Bull Creek- Biological function - nearly pristine stream with a largely intact riparian area displays significant overall habitat valueHydrologic function - largely intact riparian area performs valuable hydrologic function relating to flood attenuation High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - high aesthetic value; diverse benthic macro invertebrate community Endangered Species-Jollyville Plateau salamander • Cedar Lake Creek-Biological function - undredged bayou with extensive forest and wetlands on border display significant overall habitat value Endangered Species-Reddish egret ,Wood stork ,Brown pelican
Hydrological Features Cont… • Colorado River- Biological function - Texas Natural Rivers System nominee Endangered Species- Blue Sucker • Cummins Creek -.High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; diverse benthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities (Bayer et al., 1992; Linam et al., 1999); exceptional aquatic life use • Gorman Creek • Llano River -Hydrologic function - valuable hydrologic function relating to groundwater discharge of the Edwards Aquifer High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - high aesthetic value endangered species- genetic refuge for pure strain Guadalupe bass • Little Barton Creek -High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; diverse benthic macro invertebrate community • Little Blanco River - High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; high water quality, diverse benthic macroinvertebrate community • Oatmeal Creek
Hydrological Features Cont… • Onion Creek - Riparian conservation area - McKinney Falls State ParkHigh water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; high water quality, diverse benthic macroinvertebrate community (Bayer et al., 1992) • Pedernales River -Biological function - National Wild and Scenic Rivers System nominee for outstandingly remarkable wildlife values and significant natural areas (NPS, 1995)Riparian conservation area - Pedernales Falls State Park; Stonewall Park; LBJ State Park; LBJ National ParkHigh water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - exceptional aesthetic value • Rocky Creek-High water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value - ecoregion stream; high water quality, diverse benthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities
Jollyville Plateau Salamander In 2006, an article in Hydrobiologia discussed these Salamanders being the most scarce in developed areas. This shows that the loss of these springs to development effects the habitat of this species, and becomes a threat to diversity of Region K’s springs.
Problems in this Region… The protection of bay and estuary inflows is particularly relevant for Region K due to the importance of the Matagorda Bay estuary to the economy and quality of life of the region. Potential impacts from proposed strategies in the 2006 regional plan to the freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay could be devastating to the region's wildlife and the coastal economy.
LCRA-SAWS Water Project • Water sharing proposal to develop alternative supplies that could help meet long-term needs in the lower Colorado River basin and the San Antonio area • Passed in 1997 • Conjunctive use of groundwater during drought • Capture floodwaters in off-channel reservoirs • Main concern is instream flows, bays & estuaries in drought-of-record • $41 million for studies, environmental impact assessments, and plans • Between South Central TX (Region L) and Lower Colorado (Region K) • Water Shortfall in Region L • San Antonio needs additional supply for mucicipal use • Water Shortfall in Region K • Agricultural irrigation • Rural communities upstream of Highland Lakes • Six-year in-depth study of proposal’s technical, environmental and financial feasibility • Study period will determine if project can meet legislative requirements and obtain federal, state and local permits
If Project Fails… • Decrease in rice farms, which leads to… • Decrease in flow to bays and estuaries • Decrease in habitat for migratory birds • Regions with water needs will turn to other sources • Would not help our basin’s needs • Could have negative environmental impacts elsewhere
What we learned… It is evident that water is starting to become an issue in today’s society. For Region K, although many of the creeks and rivers sustain high water quality, exceptional aquatic life, and high aesthetic value, both the creeks and rivers still suffer. In almost every creek or river, there is at least one endangered species in each area. As stated before, coastal economy, along with the wildlife, can be devastated from the regional plan concerning freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay. We have found out though that if the LCRA-SAWS Water Project follows through, much of Region K’s water shortfall of agricultural irrigation and rural communities upstream of Highland Lakes can be improved. Studies of this plan are still in action and will continue until around 2010 or 2015. Hopefully, it can pass the legislative requirements and all other credential so all shortfalls can be resolved.
Works Cited • http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/environconcerns/water_quality/sigsegs/ • http://www.texaswatermatters.org/region_k.htm • http://www.lcra.org/lswp/index.html • www.rivers.txstate.edu/flows2005/resources/presentations/tuesday_pm/burke_10-05_(2).ppt