Edwards Aquifer Authority takes action following reports of growing parasite problem in San Marcos and Comal rivers

Through a partnership with the city of New Braunfels, the Edwards Aquifer Authority  will examine concentrations of the parasite in the Comal River system. n

Through a partnership with the city of New Braunfels, the Edwards Aquifer Authority will examine concentrations of the parasite in the Comal River system. n

The Edwards Aquifer Authority is responding to reports of a growing parasite problem with a plan to survey the situation in the Comal River.

Community Impact Newspaper in July published a report about how a parasite named Haplorchis pumilio is threatening fish, such as the endangered fountain darter, in the San Marcos and Comal rivers.

Carried by an invasive Asian snail, the larvae of the parasite penetrate the skin of the fish, causing trauma and inflammation that affects their ability to swim.

Now, through a partnership with the city of New Braunfels, the aquifer authority will examine concentrations of the parasite in the Comal River system.

Michael De La Garza, the senior director of communications and development for the EAA, said no such study has yet been planned for the San Marcos River system.

“Additionally, we have instructed our partners at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to provide us with the costs to examine wild caught fountain darters for Haplorchis as part of annual routine fish health screening,” De La Garza wrote in an email.

Population surveys have been conducted of the endangered fish in both rivers for 20 years as part of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, but the aquifer authority had not specifically monitored the presence of Haplorchis.

De La Garza said the conservation plan includes methods in place to collect data on fountain darter populations in the San Marcos and Comal rivers.

“Our biological monitoring has shown no drop off in fountain darter populations,” he added.

Researchers at Texas State University, including parasitologist David Huffman and graduate student Allison Scott, had expressed concerns about the long term effects of Haplorchis on local fish populations.

“I think the prudent thing to do is to establish a monitoring program to keep track of this and develop some experiments with snail removal or something so that when a drought comes, we'll be ready for it, instead of walking out there one day and seeing that almost all the fish are dead,” Huffman said in May.


MOST RECENT

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Comal County and Guadalupe County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Comal and Guadalupe County confirm seven new cases of COVID-19, 233 total

30% of Comal County's cases were community transmitted and 28% were from close contacts, such as household members that had previously tested positive.

The Gruenefield development is currently in the Hoffman Lane Elementary School attendance zone but could be moved to the Oak Run Elementary School zone. (Courtesy Comal ISD)
Comal ISD Board of Trustees to vote on attendance zone change

The development could bring approximately 80 additional elementary school students to Comal ISD.

Comal and New Braunfels ISDs will continue school lunch pickup options through the summer. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Comal, New Braunfels ISDs to continue curbside meal pickup through June

Summer meals will be provided at several campuses in each district to continue the ongoing curbside meal programs.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.

Comal County reported a new death related to the coronavirus, bringing the county's total to seven. (Courtesy Pexels)
BREAKING: Comal County resident's death related to COVID-19

It is the first resident death to be confirmed since April 13 and brings the county's total to seven.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Comal and Guadalupe counties. (Community Impact staff)
Comal and Guadalupe County report total of 221 COVID-19 cases

Between both counties, 11 new cases were reported today. Three of the five largest days for reporting since the pandemic began were in the last eight days.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Comal ISD will host their monthly meeting May 28. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Preview: Comal ISD to hold in-person meeting May 28

The Comal ISD board of trustees will discuss a parking lot expansion at Spring Branch Middle School, a potential attendance boundary change and the 2020-21 budget.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.

Amie Gonser will open 620 Art Gallery & Studio in June as a fine art gallery and space for art education classes. (Courtesy Amie Gonser)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: News on 20 Central Texas businesses and nonprofits

Read about Central Texas business news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage this week.

Voters are encouraged to bring their own equipment in order to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus.(Graphic by Matthew T. Mills /Community Impact Newspaper)
State of Texas releases voter health checklist for polling stations in June and July

Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released a checklist May 26 for voters to follow to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at polls.