We went diving at Spring lake on August 13th. Spring lake is a critical habitat on San Marcos River with a diverse history, inside the limits of Edwards Aquifer, now belonging to Texas State university. It is an ideal place for scuba diving because it stays a constant temperature of 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, because of the 200 springs feeding it. It was super exciting because not only was it a perfect location, there are 7 endangered species that are endemic to only those 4 miles of the river! Our troop was so lucky that we were able to dive there.
We got in the water at about two o’clock, then went under and explored the training area. There were fearless largemouth bass that swam around us like we were just other fish, several Common Snapping Turtles, and lots and lots of seaweed. They are currently having a problem with a native species called Coontail, that could grow up to a foot a day, and was pushing out other native species, like the Cobomba. We were allowed to clean the training area, which might seem like a chore, but this was a huge deal because they only let highly trained AquaCorps volunteers maintain the springs.
Spring lake is beautiful, with its bubbling fountains of clear, cold waters, amazingly colorful freshwater fish, and the gently waving, flowering Cobomba.
It is extremely important that we weed out the invasive species, so it doesn’t grow to be an overgrown, weed-choked pond, for the protection of the endangered species living there. You see this story all over: lionfish in the Gulf, zebra mussels plaguing lakes, and (of course) Australia is being overrun by invasive species! It is important not to introduce new species to a stable environment, because then this same fight happens all over again. You may laugh, saying, “how could I cause that?” simple. In Florida, somebody let out a pet python that got too big for them to handle, and now pythons are slithering all over. You can accidentally carry mussels on boats from one lake to the other. Or, like in Australia, you could decide to bring over a predator of something else invasive, to take care of that problem. All of these problems we face, to preserve the environment. And, slowly, we fix what we have damaged.
8 threatened and endangered species live there- Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle, Texas Blind Salamander, Peck's Cave Amphipod, San Marcos Salamander (threatened), Texas Wild Rice, Comal Springs Riffle Beetle, Fountain Darter, and San Marcos Gambusia. They live only in the upper 4 miles of the San Marcos river.
There are also several endangered cave dwelling invertebrates.