Welcomed though recent rains may be, an expert at the Edwards Aquifer Authority predicts another dry year is ahead.

Once the agricultural peak pumping season ends from April to July, Jim Winterle, a hydrogeologist, said, "We should squeak by, but without some summer rains, we'll probably be in a precarious position for next year."

However, the Edwatds Aquifer Authority is part of a 15-year region-wide effort to protect Comal and San Marcos Springs and the federally protected endangered species that also rely on the aquifer.

Robert Gulley, the EAA's director of its habitat conservation plan, said the collaboration includes limiting pumping especially in times of drought, preserving a minimal spring flow and restoring habitat.

Gulley said work is underway to control non-native plants and creatures.

"So it's an attempt to remove exotics, limit the amount of predators," Gulley said. "Get the habitat in the best condition possible for the species that use that habitat."

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