Caves in Texas are generally protected by the property owners, both private and public. Publicly owned caves include those owned by various Federal entities, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and local governments. Non-profit groups such as the Texas Cave Management Association and the Texas Cave Conservancy also own and protect caves. Typically these caves are managed under a management plan.
Caves also receive some protection under government laws and regulations. Caves in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone cannot be plugged without review from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Information on the Edwards Aquifer program can be found at:
The US Fish and Wildlife Service regulates impacts on caves containing endangered species. The USFWS has established karst protection zones in Bexar, Medina, Travis, and Williamson counties that are likely to contain endangered species habitants. Endangered species studies must be conducted prior to any development activities in these areas. For information on endangered karst species protection in Texas visit the USFWS Austin office at:
The cities of Austin and San Marcos require environmental studies prior to development activities that include assessments of recharge features. The city of San Antonio requires that developers certify that they have complied with federal endangered species laws.
The Federal Cave resources Protection Act of 1988 provides legal protections for caves on federal property:
State law contains penalties for cave vandalism:
The Antiquities Code of Texas includes penalties for acts of destruction of archeological resources committed against property owners:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has a bat protection law, which can be seen at: