Because the Barton Springs Salamander is an endangered species, the City of Austin must have a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue the operation of Barton Springs Pool and associated scientific investigations. The permit is issued under the Endangered Species Act Section 10(a)(1)(B) and is referred to as an incidental take permit. The City’s current permit, issued in 1998, expires in October 2013. You can download a copy of the current permit here: Current US FWS Permit
The federal permit is based on the conservation measures described in the City's Habitat Conservation Plan. The plan details the actions the City will conduct that may adversely impact the Barton Springs Salamander, and how the impact of those actions will be reduced or compensated to protect the species. The plan can only cover actions by the City in and around Barton Springs Pool that may affect the Barton Springs Salamander and does not involve any actions associated with the Jollyville Plateau Salamander in northwest Austin or actions outside of the City's jurisdiction in the contributing zone of the Edwards Aquifer.
You can download the current Habitat Conservation Plan here: Existing EA and HCP. The new Habitat Conservation Plan will not be substantially different from the current version, but will cover the Austin Blind Salamander, in advance of its probable listing as a new endangered species. The new plan may modify some existing conservation measures based on the accrued experience of the City and extensive population studies since the original plan was developed in 1998, and will consider the potential improvements to Barton Springs Pool identified in the pool master plan. Despite growing threats to the salamander from increased pumping of groundwater and urbanization in the contributing zone of the aquifer, the City's conservation actions have significantly improved the salamander population since the species was listed as endangered.
Because of the long review process associated with federal endangered species permit actions, the City is starting on the development of the new Habitat Conservation Plan now to insure that the permit is renewed prior to expiration and Barton Springs remains open. There was series of public outreach efforts in Fall 2011. Email your questions and comments to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org