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Geomorphology 31 Ž1999.

151–180

A geomorphological strategy for conducting environmental


impact assessments in karst areas
George Veni
George Veni and Associates, 11304 Candle Park, San Antonio, TX 78249-4421, USA
Received 23 January 1998; received in revised form 12 July 1998; accepted 10 December 1998

Abstract

In their efforts to protect regional groundwater supplies, governmental agencies are increasingly requiring studies of karst
areas and their features. In areas where tracer tests or geophysics are not required, funded, or otherwise feasible,
geomorphological methods remain as the primary tool for assessing karst. This study proposes a geomorphologically-based
environmental impact assessment strategy for karst areas. While it is supported with results from a study of the karstic
Edwards Aquifer recharge zone on the Camp Bullis Military Training Installation, TX, USA, it is based on the study of
several karst areas and is generalized to accommodate and be fine-tuned for regional variations. Biological and other
resource issues can also be assessed with this strategy. The assessment identifies environmentally sensitive features and
areas, as is often required to meet regulatory directives. In karst areas with relatively small features, excavation is a key tool
for accurate assessment. Although the results of this study will help to better manage karst areas, proper management must
be done on a regional scale. The highly permeable nature of karst precludes adequate management solely on a
feature-by-feature basis. Studies on the relationship of water quality to impervious cover show adverse environmental
impacts significantly increase when impervious cover exceeds 15% of a surface watershed. The Camp Bullis study finds
similar impacts in its groundwater drainage basin, supporting the argument of 15% impervious cover as a regionally
effective means of also protecting karst aquifers when coupled with protection of critical areas identified by field surveys.
q 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: environmental impact assessment; karst; karst feature; cave; Edwards Aquifer; Camp Bullis; Texas; impervious cover;
environmental management; water quality; water quantity

1. Introduction creased the need for hydrogeologic assessments ap-


propriate to their aquifers. Dye tracing is an impor-
Karst aquifers are the most sensitive to groundwa- tant and often-used technique in conducting environ-
ter contamination. Historically, such problems have mental impact assessments ŽEIAs. of karst sites and
been limited to small and rural areas. But recent is well documented for its utility in delineating
urbanization of karst terrains has increased the risk groundwater flowpaths and conditions Že.g., Mull et
and frequency of pollution and has especially in- al., 1988.. Geophysical techniques are used in karst
areas, typically to assess the potential for sinkhole
collapse or subsidence Že.g., Robinson-Poteet, 1989;
E-mail address: gveni@flash.net ŽG. Veni.. Barr, 1993.. However, their precision varies accord-

0169-555Xr99r$ - see front matter q 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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152 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

ing to local conditions; they are best suited to locat- for groundwater pollution. However, Sendlein Ž1992.
ing relatively large and shallow subsurface features, found inconsistent results when DRASTIC was ap-
and broad areal use of these methods is often very plied to karst areas. He reported that when ground-
expensive. water basins are mapped by dye tracing, the delin-
In many areas, environmental regulations do not eation of wellhead protection areas is more effective
recognize the special factors needed to evaluate karst at identifying sensitive areas.
areas, and thus do not require dye tracing, geophysi- The most comprehensive karst assessment process
cal studies, subsurface evaluations in caves, or other to date is that of Doerfliger and Zwhalen Ž1997.,
appropriate karst-specific research Že.g., Texas Natu- who proposed identifying hydrologically vulnerable
ral Resources Conservation Commission, 1996.. As areas in karst spring drainage basins through the use
a result, the regulated community does not perform of air photo interpretation, tracer tests, geophysical
such research for EIAs in karst terrains. In other data, and geomorphological mapping. Their ‘‘EPIK’’
localities, one or more of these methods may be system uses the resulting data to define an area’s
impractical or impossible for reasons such as cost, Epikarst Žsurface karst features., P rotective cover
geologic factors, and access to properties. Conse- Žsoil., Infiltration conditions, and K arst drainage
quently, increasing numbers of urban karst site as- Ždegree of solutional conduit development.. The
sessments are being made in such areas solely by characteristics of an assessed karst watershed area
geomorphological examination of surface karst fea- are matched to a category under each EPIK factor.
tures. The categories have numerical values which are
Panizza et al. Ž1996. compiled many of the most multiplied by a constant for the EPIK factor, and the
recent methods in general geomorphologic analyses results are summed to identify the area’s degree of
and evaluations for EIAs, but relatively few geomor- sensitivity, with respect primarily to groundwater
phic studies specific to karst have been published. contamination. This vulnerability mapping method
Most are morphometric or similar analyses of sink- may have broad application and should be conducted
holes, fractures, and lineaments which predict areas when possible. However, its reliance on tracer test-
of greater susceptibility to collapse or subsidence ing and hydrologic data removes it from considera-
ŽBrook and Allison, 1983; Day, 1984; Ogden, 1984, tion as a strictly geomorphological EIA methodol-
1988; Ogden and Reger, 1977; Raghu et al., 1984; ogy, and it assumes uniform geomorphological inter-
Thorp and Brook, 1984; Forth et al., 1997; Kesseru, ¨ pretations when no standard methods have been pro-
1997., or studies on the impact of tourism in show posed.
caves Že.g., Cigna and Forti, 1989; Huppert et al., Despite the above work and the rich literature on
1993.. Among the other studies, Rivas et al. Ž1995, cave and karst origins and processes, until this paper,
1996. geomorphologically examine a landscape in no effective and detailed geomorphological strategy
Spain that includes karst, but their research focused has been proposed for EIAs of karst areas. Geomor-
on how economic activities such as quarries, road- phological methods are important for EIAs where
ways, and tourism impact environmental resources tracer testing and other karst-appropriate techniques
such as scenic areas and ecological zones. Boyer et cannot be used. Even when those techniques are
al. Ž1997. considered geomorphological factors in used, their results can be better applied and inter-
rating French and Swiss karst features for conserva- preted when geomorphological data are considered.
tion based on their scientific, aesthetic, and educa- This paper proposes a strategy for the assessment
tional qualities. Regional mapping of karst features, of karst areas that mainly uses geomorphological
such as that by Hubbard Ž1988. and Kochanov methods. The details of the specific methods are not
Ž1989., illustrates environmentally sensitive areas as the focus, but some are presented as examples and to
locations where features occur, especially in high assist readers with little experience in karst. Many of
density; these maps are useful guides to more de- the methods described are widely used and all are
tailed site and feature-specific mapping and analysis. based on the accepted theories of cave, karst, and
Aller et al. Ž1987. proposed ‘‘DRASTIC’’ as a stan- speleothem development presented by White Ž1988.,
dardized method for determining an area’s potential Ford and Williams Ž1989., and Hill and Forti Ž1997..
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 153

The primary goal of this paper is to offer a standard cated on the north edge of the city of San Antonio in
yet flexible approach to karst EIAs and to show how south-central Texas, USA. Nearly 10 km2 of Camp
geomorphological methods can be used to develop Bullis’s southernmost area is located on the outcrop
more comprehensive and quantifiable EIAs in karst of the Edwards Limestone Group which delineates
areas. The following strategy is based on a detailed the recharge zone of the Edwards ŽBalcones Fault
study of over 700 caves and 650 karst features along Zone. Aquifer. The aquifer is the sole water supply
the southeastern margin of the Edwards Plateau, TX, for over 1.3 million people, and the portion of its
USA, and is also supported by additional karst re- recharge zone located adjacent to San Antonio con-
search and observations in several states and coun- tains 11 invertebrate cave species petitioned for en-
tries. dangered listing ŽCunningham, 1992.. In an effort to
better manage its portion of the recharge zone for
both water supply and ecological preservation, the
2. Karst EIA strategy US Army contracted investigations of that karst area
which form the basis of this case study ŽVeni and
The following strategy for karst EIAs is both Elliott, 1994; Veni et al., 1995, 1996.. The relevant
specific and general. Some elements include explicit geologic information about the site will be presented
tasks and observations that are usually conducted as needed below. A detailed discussion on karst
during field surveys. However, the interpretation of EIAs in the Edwards Aquifer region is beyond the
the data within this discussion will vary according to scope of this paper and will be presented separately
local hydrogeological conditions. For example, a ŽVeni, in preparation..
sinkhole that is relatively small in a maturely karsted The following strategy assumes that the study
area may be considered large and highly significant area or portions of the area for an EIA have been
in a subdued or immature karst. A general approach previously geologically mapped as limestone,
is also required here when considering some factors dolomite, gypsum or halite, which are the primary
that affect karst and aquifer development due to their rocks prone to karstification. Not generally discussed
varying implications on EIAs, such as assessing deep below is standard information gathered for EIAs,
artesian versus shallow aquifers or exposed lime- such as lithologic, structural, air photo, potentio-
stone versus limestone covered with thick soils metric, and soil mapping, water well location and
andror glacial tills. logging, title searches for possible past hazardous
No general plan can address every field situation uses, and identification of on-site potential high-risk
and variation in karst; therefore, this strategy re- facilities or materials. These are assumed as already
quires consideration of local conditions. It relies available or concurrently being collected.
heavily on collecting and interpreting field data to
understand the specific geomorphic and hydrologic
processes at work in a study area. EIAs which rely 3. Data collection
on describing karst features and require little or no
The karst EIA strategy is presented as two parts:
interpretation of the features have a high likelihood
data collection and analysis. Fig. 1 schematically
of producing inaccurate results. Interrogative steps
illustrates the five steps and interrogatives of the data
throughout the process encourage the collection of
collection process discussed below.
additional information should data analysis either not
answer critical questions, or raise important new 3.1. Data collection, step 1: determine if a database
questions. Costs may limit the amount of additional of caÕes and karst features exists for the project area
research or data collection, but before work begins,
some funding should be budgeted for performing Some countries, like Slovenia and China, main-
possible follow-up studies. tain government funded karst research institutes
Discussion and analysis of each step of the EIA is which house information on their caves and karst. In
supported below with examples from a case study at the US, inventories of karst features are rarely held
the Camp Bullis Military Training Installation, lo- or conducted by the government, the exceptions
154 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Fig. 1. Flowchart of steps in the data collection phase of karst environmental assessments.
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 155

being databases by state agencies in Pennsylvania dom but critical sampling of the study area to verify
ŽKochanov and Kochanov, 1997. and Virginia ŽHub- previous results and research quality. Some specific
bard, 1988.. This information is typically collected features which may be significant, characteristic, or
and maintained by volunteer, nonprofit, cave explo- questionable should also be examined. If the existing
ration and study groups that are usually affiliated information proves inadequate for the EIA, either by
with the National Speleological Society. These orga- field checking or an initial lack of data, then a
nizations generally support research, but are slow to detailed field survey should be conducted.
release information outside of their circles in order to A karst field survey requires both surface and
protect caves; many can cite occasions where data subsurface study. Surface surveys are best conducted
releases led to cave degradation or destruction. How- with teams of 3–5 people generally walking about
ever, cooperation is increasing, especially where it is 10–30 m apart in a given direction to a defined
clear that the caves will soon be found and impacted, destination. Upon reaching that goal, they shift to
and that providing information early in the process one side of their transect and walk back in the
will likely result in better protection and manage- opposite direction searching the adjacent area. This
ment. technique will find most karst features within an
When the above sources for karst information fail area, although some small features with little surface
or do not exist, governmental agencies that require expression may still be missed. The actual spacing
EIAs will have prior EIAs on file that can be between searchers is determined by how karst fea-
searched. While the agencies do not usually compile tures are locally expressed. At Camp Bullis, 15 m
the results of those studies into a single database, it was optimal as a compromise between a closer spac-
is still possible to learn if and what previous research ing, where no features would be missed and study
may have been conducted in or near the study area, costs would substantially increase, and a wider spac-
and to look there for karst data. ing where costs would decrease while a larger num-
Prior to this case study, little information was ber of features would not be found.
available on Camp Bullis caves, karst, or site-specific When features are discovered, observations should
geology due the Army’s restricted access policy. be made of the type of feature found and its charac-
Cave explorers who had once been stationed at the teristics. Typical features include but are not limited
installation had reported three caves to the Texas to caves, solution, collapse, and subsidence sink-
Speleological Survey, a non-profit organization that holes, solutionally enlarged fractures and bedding
maintains the database on Texas caves, and which planes, swallets, and springs. For definitions of these
published their findings in a study on the caves of and other karst terms, see Jackson Ž1997..
Bexar County ŽVeni, 1988.. The land management Determining the type of feature found is critical to
office at the base had recorded two additional caves understanding its hydrogeologic significance for the
and seven karst features, and no geologic studies EIA. Several characteristics can be examined to help
were found to contain information on the area’s establish the feature type andror its relative signifi-
karst. Given the high number of caves and karst cance. These include airflow, cave fauna, lithology,
features known to exist outside of the installation in morphology, recharge and discharge, sediment,
similar hydrogeologic settings, the number of structure, and topography.
recorded features at Camp Bullis was viewed as not
representative of true field conditions, and a field 3.2.1. Airflow
survey was initiated. Airflow is a sign that a feature is of almost certain
hydrological importance; the absence of airflow has
3.2. Data collection, step 2: conduct a field surÕey little reliable meaning. The presence of airflow
for karst features demonstrates that the feature leads to a void of
significant volume, typically a large cave. While
The type of field survey conducted will depend on some caves with airflow are relict hydrologic fea-
the results of Step 1. An area which has been well tures and no longer transmit significant volumes of
examined and documented will require only a ran- groundwater, they remain zones of locally high per-
156 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

meability which can rapidly transmit contaminants caves Žtwo were excavated to bedrock without find-
that may enter the ground. The greater the volume of ing caves or solutional openings.. The cricket is
air movement, the larger the void; however, features more mobile than the spider, foraging at night in the
in steep terrains may have airflow caused more by a surface leaf litter, and thus may not always return to
chimney effect along air temperature or pressure the cave.
gradients between nearby entrances, rather than by
¨
the size of the void ŽBogli, 1980.. Noting the fea- 3.2.3. Lithology
ture’s topographic position and pattern of air move- The name of the geologic formation should be
ment will usually reveal that phenomenon. Sediment noted and identified to member or more specific
fill, flooded passages, or meteorological conditions subdivision if possible. When the detailed stratigra-
can restrict or prevent air movement, so slight or phy is not known, the characteristics of the unit at
absent airflow does not negate the presence of a the feature should be described if it varies from the
significant underlying void. During the case study at type description of the overall formation. Certain
Camp Bullis, airflow prompted excavation Žsee be- units will likely be found to contain the most caves
low. of five karst features which otherwise seemed and karst features Že.g., Rauch and White, 1970;
insignificant, and which led to the discovery of five Wadge and Draper, 1977.; examples from the case
significant caves. study for this and characteristics described in sec-
tions 3.2.4 to 3.2.8 below are presented in the discus-
3.2.2. CaÕe fauna sion of ‘‘data collection, step 4’’.
If a feature is excavated, certain insect and other
species which live in caves may be discovered. Some 3.2.4. Morphology
will be common to shallow soil areas or beneath The size of the feature is important mainly in how
rocks and have little interpretive value. Others may it compares with others in the area to determine its
be typical of cave environments and can be used as relative significance. The feature’s shape may sug-
indicators of caves that probably occur below the gest its origin and hydrologic significance. Narrow
features. Troglobitic Žobligate cave-dwelling. aquatic or elongated features will likely occur along individ-
species discharged from water wells or springflows ual fractures. An irregular to near-circular shape may
may suggest hydrologic links or boundary conditions indicate a fracture intersection which would be a
between groundwater drainage basins Že.g., Gibert et zone of greater permeability. However, circular
al., 1994.. Coordinating with a biologist who is shapes also occur by less hydrologically significant
knowledgeable about the cave fauna of the area, and factors, such as collapse into a hydrologically inac-
learning to identify a few key species could prove tive conduit. If a fracture or bedding plane is present,
helpful to the EIA. its attitude should be measured even if it does not
In the Camp Bullis case study, six cave-dwelling appear to control the feature’s orientation. Surface
invertebrate species were found during the excava- features that open to caves can show greater influ-
tion of about 5% of the karst features to suggest the ence of fractures on conduit development in the
presence of caves. The two most useful in identify- subsurface than may be apparent on the surface.
ing caves were Cicurina Õarians Žspider. and Palmer Ž1991. demonstrated how a cave’s morphol-
Ceuthophilus cunicularis Žcave cricket.. The spider ogy reflects the hydrogeologic conditions that formed
species was found in four karst features, two of it.
which proved to be caves following excavation, and
in two solution sinkholes where further excavation 3.2.5. Recharge and discharge
will likely reveal caves. This strong correlation and Karst features can be partly characterized by the
the spider’s need for open space to spin its web volume of water which enters or flows from them.
suggest it may be the most reliable local biological Features which capture or discharge streams are
indicator of caves. The cave cricket was found in hydrologically significant by their direct contribution
five karst features, all of which are solution sink- to or discharge from the local aquifer and their
holes, but only three of which seem likely to open to connection to major groundwater conduits. Conduits
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 157

are indicated in these circumstances since they are quently develop along these often permeable zones,
often the only features with sufficient permeability to and knowing their attitude is important to predicting
allow such flows. The discharge of turbid water or behavior in the subsurface. For example, conduits in
organic debris from springs further demonstrates the the vadose zone commonly form downdip while
presence of conduits, although turbidity and debris those in the phreatic zone form along strike Že.g.,
could easily be lacking for several reasons, such as if Palmer, 1981..
the spring is alluviated, if it is a long distance from
the recharge area, or if only baseflow conditions are 3.2.8. Topography
observed. Features with high recharge and discharge Non-spring karst features located near local base
are good sites for aquifer monitoring or research, level usually lack the hydraulic gradient and geomor-
such as stage recording and dye tracing. Hydrophilic phic maturity to be hydrologically significant. Re-
vegetation and dry channels leading to or from karst search also shows that vadosely-formed caves, and
features are signs of seasonal flows. However, like hence vadosely-formed karst features, are more likely
airflow, absent or minimal water flow does not to occur along streambeds or interstream uplands
demonstrate a lack of or hydraulically inefficient which have slopes of less than 5%; caves along
connection to an underlying conduit or aquifer. For hillsides tend to be less active or hydrologic relicts.
example, while only sheetwash from an area of a few Additionally, karst springs rising from streambeds
square meters may enter a small sinkhole or solu- tend to have larger drainage areas than those dis-
tionally enlarged fracture, the site could be highly charging from cliffs or hillsides ŽVeni, 1997a..
sensitive to contamination through a conduit that In addition to determining the above and other
leads directly to the water table. characteristics of karst features that may be locally
pertinent, effective assessment requires appropriate
3.2.6. Sediment evaluation methods. These include standardized data
Surface features containing no sediment or soil, or recording, excavation, developing a geographic in-
only A horizon type soils, are far more likely to formation systems ŽGIS., use of remote sensing data,
rapidly transmit contaminants into aquifers than fea- and evaluations inside caves.
tures containing soils of the B and C horizons. A
quick spot-check, while not fully conclusive, is pos- 3.2.9. Data recording
sible by probing the sediment with a half-meter to Standard forms should be developed to record
meter-long stiff metal rod. B and C horizon soils are field observations and request information that can
typically tight, difficult to probe, and moist enough later be used to quantitatively assess the features, as
so clay will often be smeared on the rod when discussed near the end of this paper. The forms
retracted. Features should be probed in several loca- should include check boxes for each feature type and
tions, especially in low points that collect drainage, characteristics, and ample room for detailed descrip-
areas which readily sink underfoot, and around buried tions of each. Sketches, oriented to north and a given
rocks to determine if they are isolated rocks or the scale, should be made of the features to better refer-
bedrock. However, the thickness and permeability of ence written details and for morphological interpreta-
sediments and soils can vary dramatically over short tion. Notations should be made of special hazards,
distances in karst areas. Conditions assessed in one landmarks to help relocate features, and a listing of
feature should not be generalized to other features the people involved in a feature’s evaluation. A
and locations. topographic map should be marked with the feature’s
estimated position. The relative position, shape, frac-
3.2.7. Structure ture bearings, and surface drainage characteristics of
The strike and dip of the rock should be mea- closely-spaced features should be sketched in detail.
sured, and noted if the karst feature occurs within a
fold or other large structural feature. The attitude of 3.2.10. ExcaÕation
fractures that may intersect a feature or guide its Frequently, mapping and hydrogeologic observa-
development should also be measured. Conduits fre- tions in caves are the most useful in assessing a karst
158 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

terrain. If available cave observations are inadequate so little is lost by their removal. The benefit of
for proper evaluation, excavation of karst features excavation is its potential to categorically demon-
should be considered to gain further access and strate the hydrologic significance of a feature, and
understanding of the conduit system. Excavation following that determination, the feature can be re-
methods and degree will vary site to site depending filled with sediment or left open. In either case,
on local conditions and the scope of research. It is management decisions for the feature will be more
especially useful in subdued karst landscapes where effective and appropriate by replacing speculative
significant features are often small, and sometimes assessments with proven ones.
superficially indistinguishable from non-karstic fea- Since the Camp Bullis area is a subdued karst,
tures. Such features include those created by human excavation proved an important tool in identifying
activities, such as bulldozer scrapes, small borrow and studying its caves. Only 14 caves, including the
pits, hand-dug water wells, trash pits, and septic pits; five already known, were open and required no
by biological activities, such as animal burrows and excavation for entry, although the extent and under-
stump holes; and by non-karstic geological pro- standing of three of the caves was significantly
cesses, such as shallow stress-release fracturing of expanded by excavation. Twenty-six caves, includ-
bedrock toward valleys and stream scouring of ing some of the most hydrologically and biologically
creekbeds and cliffsides. While such features are significant caves, required excavation for entry and
ultimately insignificant to an EIA, sufficient time, to prove their existence. Nineteen of the total 43
vegetation and erosion can mask their non-karstic caves were found to contain species petitioned for
origin, and often a few minutes of excavation can endangered listing; 15 of those 19 caves required
easily identify them to greatly improve efficiency in excavation.
field work and accuracy in subsequent data analysis.
During any excavation, notes should be made of 3.2.11. GIS
sediment, soil types, fractures, or other geologic All discovered karst features should be located as
features encountered. Excavated material should be accurately as possible on a topographic map for GIS
either dispersed over the surface to minimize visual analysis. Global Positioning System ŽGPS. equip-
impacts on the landscape, or piled if the feature will ment with 5-m or better precision should be used if
likely be refilled after study. Should potential archeo- available. GPS systems rated to 30-m accuracy should
logical and paleontological materials be encountered, be avoided except in low-relief or highly vegetated
excavation should cease. If possible, specialists terrain where accurate navigating with a compass
should first be consulted for guidance on how to and topographic map is difficult. A field estimate on
identify, avoid, and minimize impacts should such a topographic map should always be made in case of
materials be unexpectedly discovered. In some cases, technological problems with the high-precision unit,
archeologists andror paleontologists could consult and to insure at least accurate relative positions of
on the EIA, identify any material discovered, and the features if the less precise GPS units are used. If
provide valuable information on the origin and de- a feature will likely be revisited, it should be marked
velopment of those features. and numbered with plastic survey flagging; engrav-
Excavation of surface karst features does not cre- able aluminum tags or benchmarks should also be
ate recharge features which did not previously exist, used if long-term identification will be needed. If the
which has been a concern with some staff of regula- locations of the features are entered into a computer
tory agencies. Recharge already occurs in those loca- GIS database, the karst features’ other character-
tions because vertical permeability and drainage al- istics, as listed in this step of the EIA strategy,
ready exists as indicated by the features’ presence. should also be included for efficient analysis of the
Excavation will not increase the size of the drainage data. The locations of caves and karst features at
area. While it will increase the speed of recharge Camp Bullis were initially marked on the Camp
through a feature by removing infilling sediments, in Bullis 7.5X topographic quadrangle, then determined
many cases, the sediments may not have the capacity to within 3 m of precision through the use of a
to significantly mitigate groundwater contamination, Trimble Navigation Pathfinder Basic q GPS system.
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 159

3.2.12. Remote sensing plot such data. Equipment and methods used for
Prior to the initiation of field work, stereo pair overland surveying cannot be used easily in most
aerial photographs should be examined for fractures, caves. See Dasher Ž1994. for a description of cave
lineaments, sinkholes, lithologic contacts, and other surveying equipment and techniques.
features which may prove useful to geologic assess- Cave maps are geomorphological tools which
ments of the karst features and overall study area. should be interpreted for EIAs. The overall mapped
Analysis of aerial photographs is more effective in pattern often identifies the hydrologic conditions
maturely karsted terrains where karst features are which created the cave, and usually have broad
generally visible at the scale of the photographs, and implications on assessing modern and past aquifer
in areas that are not heavily urbanized or forested. In processes Že.g., Palmer, 1991.. In addition to record-
the Camp Bullis aerial photographs, non-karstic geo- ing a cave’s general layout, surveys should include
logic features were visible but none of the karst descriptions and measurements of hydrogeologic and
features could be seen. morphologic features that may occur within the pas-
Bogle and Loy Ž1995. used thermal infrared map- sages: strata, fractures, flow features Žincluding but
ping to locate submerged karst springs in Tennessee, not limited to scallops, pitting, ponding, and en-
and Rinker Ž1975. used it to locate large cave en- larged bedding planes and fractures., sediments,
trances in Puerto Rico. Small non-spring karst fea- speleothems, bone distribution, water flow, air flow,
tures should also be locatable by thermal imaging in air quality, and resolution features. Dye traces, flow
areas where the features blow relatively warm air measurements, chemical analyses, and other studies
from the ground during wintertime when temperature that fall outside of a strictly geomorphically assess-
differences with the surface air are greatest. Regard- ment should also be performed if possible, depend-
less of the remote sensing methods used, features ing on the features mapped in the cave and the scope
identified should be field verified whenever possible. of the study. Excavations may be required inside
caves to open potentially significant areas that are
3.2.13. CaÕe eÕaluations otherwise inaccessible.
Where a cave entrance is present or opened by Following the survey inside a cave, additional
excavation, the cave should be entered and evaluated surface studies should follow within a 100- to 500-
as completely as possible. Caves are morphologic m-radius of the footprint of the cave; the actual
features formed by hydrogeochemical processes, are distances may increase or decrease as geologically
of highest permeability and hydrogeologic signifi- indicated to assure, as best as possible, that the area
cance in karst aquifers, and are thus vital sources of of groundwater drainage into the cave was examined.
information in conducting EIAs in karst areas. You An examination of the entire area of large drainage
can not judge a cave by its entrance. It must be basins may not be feasible, but this method will
entered. Anyone entering a cave should be properly allow for the study of at least the area immediately
equipped and trained to safely work underground adjacent to a particular cave. If available, dye tracing
and minimize their impact on the cave environment. and potentiometric maps may be useful in assessing
When a cave cannot be entered, any pre-existing the extent of the likely drainage area. Based on the
maps, descriptions or studies of the cave should be results of the cave survey, some surface areas may
closely examined. warrant intensive searches for additional features that
The first step in studying a cave is surveying its are suspected to exist, or known features may need
extent, including a detailed sketch. At a minimum, to be excavated or examined in more detail.
surveys show a cave’s relationship to features on the
landscape, such as sinkholes and springs, and if the 3.3. Data collection, step 3: geologically eÕaluate
cave approaches and poses a risk to sewer lines, the karst features
buried storage tanks, septic fields, buildings, or other
features of concern. Complicated and extensive sur- The field survey data require analysis and inter-
veys should be compiled and plotted with cave sur- pretation of each karst feature to determine its indi-
veying computer programs designed to analyze and vidual origin and significance. Much of this work is
160 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

accomplished in the field where features are classi- chambers and passages, then later modified into
fied by feature type, but interpretation of some fea- vadose recharge sites. Springs and paleosprings are
tures requires comparison with the general data set. conduits that spill or formerly spilled groundwater to
Depending on local conditions, developing subcate- the surface. These cave types are parts of a hydro-
gories for the features may be useful to better ana- logic continuum and a single cave would often dis-
lyze the data, such as subcategorizing caves by play more than one of the listed qualities.
origin. Since the explorable portion of most caves
does not extend from the recharge area to the spring, 3.4. Data collection, step 4: analyze the karst feature
subcategories can be used to define the hydrologic database
segment a particular cave predominantly occupies.
For example, ‘‘spring’’ caves would be those at the The individual karst features found during the
discharge end of the groundwater system, and field survey need to be collectively analyzed to
‘‘ vadose’’ caves would be those at the recharge end. determine relationships between the features and lo-
Following field work at Camp Bullis, a total of 43 cal hydrogeologic patterns in caverkarst develop-
caves and 203 other karst features were recorded, ment. When considered against other features, karst
representing a significant increase from the five caves features of seemingly little individual significance
and seven karst features initially known. Table 1 lists sometimes prove important, if only as supporting
the number and types of features discovered. It is data points. Such comparative study may also be
important to stress that this case study is presented needed to determine the relative significance of fea-
only as an example of the karst EIA strategy. The tures for the local area. Several types of analyses
above numbers represent about 18% of the features should be performed. The most suitable specific
examined in the southeastern Edwards Plateau area methods may vary according to local field results.
and do not include examination of the hundreds of Some standard analyses presented below are feature
caves and features in widely varied karst areas that classification, and lithologic, structural, hydrologic
were also considered in developing this EIA strategy. and epikarst analysis; examples from Camp Bullis
Each cave was surveyed and hydrogeologically are included.
assessed, then subcategorized into one of five groups
based on its origin: vadose Ž27 caves., phreatic Ž5., 3.4.1. Feature classification
transitional Ž4., spring or paleospring Ž5., and unde- The variety, prevalence, size, and distribution of
termined Ž2.. Vadose caves developed above the caves and karst features should be examined to judge
water table as shafts or high-gradient passages that their significance on aquifer behavior and develop-
recharge surface water to the aquifer. Phreatic caves ment, and the probability of occurrence in unsur-
formed by slow-moving groundwater below the wa- veyed areas.
ter table and are relicts of previous hydrologic Five major types of noncavernous karst features
regimes. Transitional caves were originally phreatic were found at Camp Bullis ŽTable 1.. Solution sink-
holes are the dominant karst feature, accounting for
48.3% of the karst features found. Although the
Table 1 majority of these features are - 2 m in diameter and
Number of caves and karst features found in southern Camp - 0.3 m deep, they proved highly significant hydro-
Bullis, TX logic features since almost all non-spring caves
Feature type Number found opened by excavation were initially recognized as
Cave 43 solution sinkholes. Most of these sinkholes are short,
Collapse sinkhole 14 shallow drainage features to caves or highly perme-
Enlarged fracture 25 able solutionally enlarged fractures, cavities, or pits.
Solution cavity 56 The highly permeable fractured limestone of the area
Solution sinkhole 98
Spring or paleospring 10
allows rapid recharge into the ground in multiple
Total 246 locations, thus minimizing the development of fewer
but larger sinkholes ŽVeni, 1987..
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 161

Far more solutionally enlarged fractures occur in and open for at least a short distance before partially
the area than represented by the 25 reported in this or fully filling with soil. Examples include epikarst
investigation. Most are buried under the soil and are features, and horizontal cavities into hillsides and
not visible until revealed by soil erosion or excava- solution pits that are not associated with sinkholes.
tion. Others are exposed but are only a few millime- These features are usually of little hydrologic signifi-
ters wide and show no indication of leading to a cave cance.
within a reasonably short excavation distance and Only 4.9% of the features observed on Camp
were not counted. Many are epikarstic in origin. Bullis were springs and paleosprings. They were all
While they are quantitatively of little individual hy- small features formed by water discharging from the
drologic significance, collectively they contribute flanks of steeply incised valleys; the water entered
significant volumes of recharge. They often drain the limestone in nearby upland areas along the valley
into underlying caves, and are thus individually margins. These features are broad and low like the
highly sensitive as sites where groundwater contami- bedding planes from which they discharge. They
nation may occur. decrease in size away from the entrance and usually
Collapse sinkholes account for only 6.9% of the form atop a bed of lesser permeability. Continued
karst features because they tend to form above large downcutting of the valleys results in groundwater
and thus more structurally unstable caves, which are diverting to lower-elevation flowpaths, abandoning
less common in the Camp Bullis area than smaller these higher level springs Žand thus stunting their
and more stable caves. Passages with sufficient width growth into actual caves., and converting them into
to collapse typically occur in relict phreatic caves, paleosprings. They are of minimal significance to
which are of low to moderate hydrological signifi- overall aquifer behavior.
cance, or transitional caves that are of moderate to Most caves at Camp Bullis were found to be
high significance. hydrologically important features. Of the 41 caves
The 27.6% of the features listed as solution cavi- with known origins, 75.6% were vadose or transi-
ties encompass a broad range of features that do not tional. The remaining caves were equally split be-
readily fit the other categories. This designation usu- tween springsrpaleosprings of little to no signifi-
ally refers to a hole which is humanly impassable cance, and phreatic caves of moderate significance.

Table 2
Number and type of caves and karst features per unit geologic areas
Features Glen Rose Formation Kainer Formation
upper member Basal Nodular Member Dolomitic Member Kirschberg Member
n nrkm2 n nrkm2 n nrkm2 n nrkm2
CaÕes
Paleospring 0 0 3 3.06 2 0.2 0 0
Phreatic 0 0 2 2.04 3 0.36 0 0
Spring 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Vadose 0 0 0 0 27 3.21 0 0
Transitional 0 0 0 0 4 0.48 0 0

Karst features
Collapse sinkhole 0 0 0 0 13 1.54 1 6.67
Enlarged fracture 3 1.94 1 1.02 21 2.49 0 0
Paleospring 2 1.30 4 4.08 1 0.12 0 0
Solution cavity 2 1.30 3 3.06 50 5.94 1 6.67
Solution sinkhole 2 1.30 2 2.04 87 10.33 7 46.67
Spring 0 0 3 3.06 0 0 0 0
Area searched 1.54 km2 0.98 km2 8.52 km2 0.15 km2
162 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

3.4.2. Lithologic analysis smaller than the next larger area, and so those data
Stratigraphic zones of greater solubility and per- are probably not statistically valid.
meability should be identified. Strata can also be Table 2 shows that vadose caves and karst fea-
identified as to the type of conduit development they tures, especially solution sinkholes, cavities, and en-
tend to support Žpits, horizontal passages, large larged fractures, occur mostly in the Kainer’s
rooms, etc... Poorly soluble strata are often just as Dolomitic Member. These features formed to
important to identify for their tendency to perch recharge the local aquifer, and their presence demon-
groundwater and promote conduit development in strates the relatively high level of groundwater
overlying strata Že.g., Crawford, 1984.. recharge that occurs in that member. Springs and
Table 2 provides comparative data for the geo- paleosprings occur in small number but are more
logic distribution of karst and cave features on Camp common in the upper Glen Rose and Basal Nodular
Bullis. Since the size of the search area over each due to the less permeable clay and marl interbeds.
geologic unit is variable, the number of features Depending on the level of detail needed for a
found per square kilometer was calculated for more study, an analysis as in Table 2 may be insufficient
meaningful comparison. However, the results from by itself to assess the caves because it lists only the
the Kirschberg Member of the Kainer Formation geologic unit present at each cave’s entrance. Fig. 2
should probably be disregarded because the area plots the vertical extent of 55 caves on and adjacent
examined was small, nearly an order of magnitude to Camp Bullis, ordered from highest to lowest

Fig. 2. Stratigraphic extent of 55 caves in the Camp Bullis area, TX, relative to the base of the Kainer Formation Žadapted from Veni et al.,
1996..
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 163

stratal elevation. The figure schematically illustrates The relative significance of fracture orientations
the elevation of each cave’s entrance, base, and main in Camp Bullis area caves is shown in Fig. 3, which
passage levels relative to the base of the Kainer illustrates that primary development of local caves
Formation, thus outlining the caves’ extents in units and karst features is along 408–598 and 608–798
underlying the units exposed at the surface. The fracture sets which parallel the local Balcones fault
outcrop area of each unit that was examined for karst trend. Additionally, the largest, longest, and deepest
features is given in Table 2. caves of the area occur along this trend which indi-
Table 2 shows that cave entrances in general and cates that joints related to Balcones faulting are the
vadose caves in particular occur predominantly in most permeable. While the 408–798 range of fracture
the Dolomitic Member. Fig. 2 and field observations orientations is dominant, significant cavernous per-
show that caves in the Dolomitic are generally shafts meability is also developed in fractures following the
with little horizontal extent, except for beds 20–22 remaining azimuths. These fractures usually guide
m above the Basal Nodular which developed exten- the development of small caves or small segments of
sive passages during phreatic conditions. In contrast, larger caves.
few cave entrances occur in the Basal Nodular and
upper Glen Rose, but the lengths of caves formed in 3.4.4. Hydrologic analysis
these units surpass their depths, and they contain One of the most critical factors to evaluating karst
most of the large chambers in the area. aquifers is determining the hydraulic gradient. While
stratigraphic and structurally favorable zones impact
3.4.3. Structural analysis conduit development, conduit permeability will pri-
Since caves tend to form along planes of struc- marily occur where the gradient is steepest. Where
tural weakness, the attitude of joints, faults, folds, the gradient runs down the dip of the beds or along
and bedding should be examined for patterns of principal structures, conduits will be predominantly
preferential solution. Major structural trends in an linear. Where the hydraulic gradient cuts across the
area should not be assumed to dominate cave devel- structural grain, a highly sinuous pattern will result
opment and hydrology. For example, Sasowsky and as conduit segments turn on and off from the down-
White Ž1994. show how some major caves form gradient direction to locally permeable cross-cutting
along local stress release fractures which parallel structural and stratigraphic trends. A synthesis of the
deep valleys in Tennessee. individual caves’ origins is also needed to develop a
The nearly flat-lying limestones of the Camp preliminary conceptual model of the role of conduits
Bullis area limit the structural analyses to fracture in the aquifer’s behavior.
analyses; while the slight southeast dip of the beds With one exception, all of the caves examined at
probably has an impact on conduit development, the Camp Bullis are situated above the water table. They
relatively short, accessible horizontal extent of the are all located either in stream-dissected areas where
area’s caves is insufficient to measure the effect. peninsular sections of the Kainer Formation dis-
Although Camp Bullis is located in an intensely charge their recharge to nearby valleys, or within the
fractured portion of the Balcones Fault Zone, only recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Although the
five caves were found to be intersected by faults, and upper Glen Rose is usually considered the imperme-
of those, only three showed any noticeable effect on able base of the Edwards Aquifer, research in the
cave development. Joints are by far the dominant vicinity of Camp Bullis demonstrates that the upper
structural features that guide local cave development. 25 m of the upper Glen Rose is locally highly
In general, passages solutionally enlarged from joints permeable and hydrologically connected to the Ed-
occur more commonly in the Dolomitic Member wards ŽVeni, 1995; George Veni and Associates,
caves; the Basal Nodular and upper Glen Rose show 1994..
little preferential development along joints, appar- As previously shown, most of the caves are va-
ently because their joints are often sealed with clay dose in origin and formed to recharge the Edwards
and calcite, reducing their ability to transmit water Aquifer. As this is an immaturely karsted area, the
and to form caves. most accessible portion of the conduit system are
164 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Fig. 3. Orientation of fractures which guide caves or cave segments in the Camp Bullis area, TX; 82 measurements among 53 caves
Žadapted from Veni et al., 1996..

shafts that extend down to or near the water table. local epikarst are regional soil surveys. The thickness
High vertical fracture permeability generally limits and permeability of local soils can be mitigating
the recharge area of a shaft to a radius of 20–50 m. factors in EIAs by their retention or delay in trans-
Humanly-accessible conduits at and below the water mission of contaminants to an aquifer. In areas with
are few and of short accessible extent due to block- thick soil mantles, road cuts and quarries should be
age by sedimentation where the vertical gradient examined for cross sectional views of the soil–be-
abruptly becomes nearly horizontal as groundwater drock interface. Irregular or pinnacled surfaces sug-
enters into deep phreatic circulation. Tracer tests are gest relatively rapid recharge through the soil, and
not practical in most of the area’s caves because will usually be coupled with a sinkhole-dotted sur-
recharge enters extremely slow flow regimes and is face. Sinkhole ponds should not be considered signs
diluted by tremendous storage volumes. of generally poor permeability throughout the karst.
They usually account for just a small percent of the
total number of sinkholes, and often their inundated
3.4.5. Epikarst analysis floors have been rendered less permeable by live-
Epikarst hydrology is a relatively new field of stock trampling and compacting the soil.
study and is often overlooked in karst assessments. Solutional features within caves can also be used
In most areas, the only published data relating to to estimate the extent and permeability of the epikarst.
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 165

Caves with extensive micro-conduit networks ex- fractures that show little or no evidence of solutional
tending into the walls, such as honeycombed solu- enlargement at the surface.
tioned beds, anastomosed and solutionally widened This rapid and nearly unimpeded recharge along
bedding planes and fractures, and passage features fractures illustrates the region’s largely underdevel-
like drip-pitted walls and floors, vertically fluted oped epikarstic groundwater storage. Currently, most
walls, and water-cut channels in passage floors, vadose groundwater is stored well below the epikarst
demonstrate active recharge into caves through a within and along fractures, bedding plane partings,
permeable epikarst. The micro-conduits and features and other minor voids within 5–15 m from the top of
of lesser permeability are what White Ž1969. de- the water table or major groundwater perching hori-
scribed as the diffuse flow component of karst zon. This water usually appears in caves as seeps,
aquifers. In the vadose zone, its most intensive de- drips, or moisture on cave walls, and provides the
velopment occurs adjacent to horizontally extensive baseflows of some cave streams outside of Camp
caves and where cavernous limestone crops out at Bullis. There are presently insufficient data to calcu-
the surface. Micro-conduits and epikarst permeability late vadose storage or assess its fluctuations with
are laterally extensive near caves because caves are recharge in the Edwards Aquifer area.
sites of flow-path convergence, and because chemi-
cally aggressive groundwater may be injected into 3.5. Data collection, step 5: create an eÕolutionary
the cave walls during floods. In the phreatic zone, model of caÕe and karst deÕelopment
such solutionally enlarged features often serve as the
extensive and permeable diffuse flow system that Following the analysis of the field data, an evolu-
supplies most groundwater to wells. tionary model for the karst aquifer should be devel-
Understanding the local epikarst was particularly oped and applied to interpret feature vulnerability to
important at Camp Bullis since many of the caves environmental impacts by delineating the drainage
have small entrances that capture little surface water basin of each feature, and each feature’s likely rela-
and derive much of their irecharge via epikarstic tionship to other nearby karst and recharge features.
drainage. In the geologically similar lower Glen This model is of key importance to the karst EIA
Rose outcrop located 10 km to the north, Veni strategy because many parts of the conduit system
Ž1997b. found that the epikarst and noncavernous will not be accessible to exploration and dye tracing,
portions of the vadose zone are hydrologically and and geophysical techniques may not be feasible.
chemically indistinguishable in areas with little or no EIAs require extrapolating known data for the man-
soil cover. Much water storage and carbon dioxide agement of areas that contribute to or are affected by
production that traditionally was thought to occur in the features in question. Models of the features’ and
the epikarst was found within the vadose zone. The aquifers’ origins provide a sound theoretical basis for
same appears true for the Edwards outcrop. such projections.
Soils at Camp Bullis are stony, thin to patchy, Data collected during the field survey and deter-
poorly to moderately permeable, and lack sufficient mining the timing of evolutionary events is critical to
thickness and lateral extent to retard groundwater creating the karst development model. In most geo-
recharge ŽTaylor et al., 1966.. Excavation of karst morphological investigations, relative dating will be
features demonstrated that when brown or reddish- used to determine the sequence of events; observa-
brown soils of the B and C soil horizon were found, tions of features inside caves are crucial. Absolute
the features seldom opened to a cave. Generally, dating methods, such as by speleothem dating or
surface water readily recharges the limestone forma- paleontological or archaeological data, will often
tions, even supporting perennial springflows in very prove valuable if available. As the last step in the
steep and less permeable terrain such as in the upper data collection phase of this karst EIA strategy, the
Glen Rose. Recharge along the highly permeable model should be closely compared to the collected
fractures of the Kainer Formation is especially im- data to resolve inconsistencies or questions. While it
pressive when water is observed streaming and even will be beyond the scope of many EIAs to develop
thundering into caves within 30 min of rainfall from evolutionary models to the degree presented below,
166
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Fig. 4. Map of Platypus Pit, Camp Bullis, TX.


G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 167

the Camp Bullis model is given to illustrate the tical permeability to more efficiently recharge the
variety of information and insight that can be gath- aquifer. Platypus Pit, in Fig. 4, shows an example
ered from such a process. where the vadose upper passages underfit and are
Karst development in the Camp Bullis area began ungraded with the much larger lower level phreatic
with the uplift of the Edwards Plateau in the Early chamber to which they drain.
Miocene. Abbott Ž1975, 1984. found that by the Most vadose-formed caves in the area are proba-
Middle Miocene, the Edwards Group Žwhich in- bly middle to mostly late Pleistocene in age and
cludes the Kainer Formation. would have been ex- likely relate to the development of the Comal and
posed enough to initiate groundwater circulation and San Marcos Springs, the major artesian outlets for
development of karstic conduits along fractures to the aquifer located 50 and 70 km to the northeast.
springs. Increased stream downcutting increased the Maclay and Land Ž1988. show that most recharge in
hydraulic gradient, which increased flow along the the area flows to the San Marcos Springs and some
conduits to the springs and further increased conduit to Comal. Prior to the springs’ establishment or their
size and permeability. As erosion exposed more of capture of groundwater from the Camp Bullis area,
the Edwards Group limestone, more water was circulation was slower and the potentiometric surface
recharged into the aquifer through the early but was substantially higher, minimizing the thickness of
well-established conduit system. the vadose zone. When the springs formed and cap-
Phreatically formed chambers found in the Camp tured groundwater from the Camp Bullis area, the
Bullis area are remnants of the region’s early conduit water table dropped dramatically to create a thick
networks. They are relicts of a slowly circulating vadose zone; the faster circulation also channelized
aquifer regime that lacked the velocity to develop a water away from the recharge sites to develop pas-
well-interconnected conduit system. Recharge was sages along the water table. The small size Žrelative
either distant andror diffuse, as were the points of to human exploration. of many recharge caves in the
discharge. Most conduit development was in the area is due to their recent development, competition
more highly bedded and horizontally permeable hori- with numerous alternative high permeability flow
zons of the Kainer and Glen Rose formations. Verti- routes, access limited by sediment occlusion, and
cal permeability was poorly developed, a factor im- basal locations along the water table. None of these
portant in assessing the relative permeability or sen- factors significantly restricts vadose or phreatic
sitivity of such caves and related karst features. groundwater movement.
As creeks cut deeply into the Edwards Plateau
margins, groundwater drained out of the phreatic
chambers. Substantial collapse occurred within most 4. Data analysis
of these chambers as they lost the buoyant support of
This second part of the karst EIA strategy is
water; most vadose features developed in these caves
schematically illustrated in Fig. 5 and is discussed
during the water withdrawal were hidden by the
below. Unlike the interrogatives in the data collec-
breakdown. Vadose caves began to develop as favor-
tion part of the strategy which mainly assess the
able solution zones were eroded and exposed to
need for additional data, the interrogative steps here
recharge. The origin of these caves as features meant
lead to divergent conclusions according to the infor-
to efficiently recharge the aquifer also marks them as
mation available.
having the greatest capacity to transmit pollutants
into the aquifer. 4.1. Data analysis, step 1: define the limiting factors
Continued erosion of the region truncated and for the karst area’s land use and deÕelopment
obliterated some phreatic chambers while others were
vadosely modified to transmit water into the aquifer Limiting factors will be determined by the type of
or to short-lived springs forming in nearby valleys. resource being managed. The most commonly man-
Some vadose caves developed over existing phreatic aged karst resources are hydrological, ecological,
chambers, taking advantage of the locally greater and archaeological. In most cases, limiting factors
permeability they provided, and increasing their ver- are determined by governmental regulatory require-
168 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Fig. 5. Flowchart of steps in the analytical phase of the karst environmental assessments.

ments, which are sometimes set for political expedi- maintain habitat for federally listed endangered
ency and not for scientifically demonstrable sustain- species that depend on spring discharge. Allocation
able management. Local regulatory policies should of rights to spring and well flows are presently being
first be examined to define the legal limiting con- determined. Since the cave species on Camp Bullis
straints, followed by technical factors to assure proper are only petitioned for endangered listing, they have
resource management. no protection under USFWS regulations. The study
While there are no plans for the development of of these species is conducted by Camp Bullis as a
the Camp Bullis karst except to continue its use in good stewardship measure to prevent the need for
military training, that area can still serve as an listing, and to better manage the species should they
example of the analytical portion of this EIA strat- be listed. Management of historical and archaeologi-
egy. State regulations ŽTexas Natural Resource Con- cal materials is locally governed by both state and
servation Commission, 1996. primarily govern the federal regulations.
types and levels of activities allowed on the Edwards
4.2. Data analysis, step 2: define critical areas
Aquifer recharge zone. The regulations are set to
protect groundwater quality, not groundwater quan- Maps of critical areas are used by governmental
tity. The limits on Edwards Aquifer water quantity planners and private developers to guide growth and
have been set by the US Fish and Wildlife Service land use activities. Areas of known sensitivity to
ŽUSFWS. based on preservation of springflows to proposed land use are delineated and avoided. Areas
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 169

of less probable or improbable sensitivity are also the Kainer into the upper member of the Glen Rose
defined. As a result, development concentrates more Formation. Fractures intersect the cave, but none
in those areas for two main reasons: first, degrada- appear to have a significant effect on its develop-
tion of the community’s environmental and water ment. The cave is the type locality for the carabid
resources is less likely; and second, construction is beetle Ž Rhadine infernalis ewersi ., which has been
less expensive because fewer studies and engineered petitioned for endangered listing. Point drainage into
structures are needed to mitigate environmental im- the entrance is sheetwash from an uphill area of
pacts. about 10 m2 . Nonpoint drainage is through solution-
Most critical areas will be defined by a cave’s or ally enlarged fractures that intersect the cave, the
karst feature’s drainage basin or a selected section of most prominent of which are at the cave’s deepest
the basin. In some circumstances, critical areas may point at its southeast end; the fractures are not visible
instead be defined to manage biological, archaeologi- on the surface due to soil cover, which may obscure
cal, or other non-hydrologic resources. Such site other karst features. The critical area, shown on Fig.
specific circumstances cannot be considered in more 6 as a biologically determined preserve boundary,
detail here. Drainage basins must be evaluated as approximates the estimated limits of nonpoint vadose
two types: point and nonpoint recharge. Point recharge. The critical area includes the area of point
drainage includes those areas where recharge enters drainage.
a cave through the entrance or karst features known Hold Me Back Cave is a 54-m-deep series of
to drain into the cave. Nonpoint drainage basins vadose shafts formed along a fault. It extends from
contribute recharge from areas and features with no the Dolomitic Member of the Kainer Formation 33
obvious links to the cave or feature under considera- m into the upper Glen Rose. The cave’s uppermost
tion, such as from features buried under the soil and level is formed along a solutionally enlarged bedding
more diffused recharge along fractures. Accurate plane and has been observed to capture recharge
delineation of the nonpoint drainage basin is highly from nearby sinkholes. During storm events, recharge
dependent on determining the origin of the feature has also been observed entering the cave within as
and evolution of the aquifer. Subsurface observations little as 30 minutes along major fractures and even
of recharge entering caves, if safely possible, is very from those which show no apparent solutional devel-
helpful if tracer testing is not feasible. opment. Point drainage is from sheetwash into the
It must be stressed that in karst, locations outside entrance and karst features 11A-10 and 11A-11,
the critical areas may also be highly sensitive to land which capture sheetwash from a combined area of
use activities. The defined critical areas may only be about 30 by 40 m. The critical area is defined in Fig.
those where sensitivity is most obvious and easily 7 by the non-point drainage area, which includes the
demonstrated. point drainage area and is estimated to capture
Critical areas were established for Camp Bullis recharge from Karst Feature 11A-12, the fault trace
caves should planned land use for those locations on the surface, a 30-m-wide area uphill Žnorth. of the
change in the future. Two contrasting examples are fault, and a 60-m-wide area south of the fault where
presented below: Headquarters Cave and Hold Me fractures and solutionally-formed features are more
Back Cave. Unlike the classical karst areas where prevalent.
routes from the recharge to discharge ends of aquifers In a separate study of potential habitat for the
are often defined, such information is beyond the petitioned cave species in the region, broad critical
scope of this case study, so the critical areas only areas were defined as zones of known or probable
encompass the recharge areas. The known extent of occurrence of caves likely to contain the species
these caves is in the vadose zone, thus processes at ŽGeorge Veni and Associates, 1994., and were largely
or below the water table cannot be considered in based on the geomorphological karst EIA strategy
establishing the caves’ critical areas. presented in this paper. Subsequent studies on Camp
Headquarters Cave is comprised of two phreati- Bullis demonstrate the effectiveness of this evalua-
cally-formed chambers which extend from the con- tion strategy because in 1994, only one cave was
tact of the Basal Nodular and Dolomitic members of known in Camp Bullis’ critical areas, and as pre-
170 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Fig. 6. Nonpoint drainage area Ž‘‘preserve boundary’’. for Headquarters Cave, Camp Bullis, TX Žfrom Veni and Elliott, 1994..
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 171

Fig. 7. Nonpoint drainage area Ž‘‘preserve boundary’’. for Hold Me Back Cave, Camp Bullis, TX Žfrom Veni et al., 1995..

dicted, all of the 18 Camp Bullis caves found since against dilution from other recharge sources and
then to contain the species have been found in those aquifer storage, groundwater circulationrtravel time
areas. and distance to wells and springs, and the toxicity,
persistence, and concentration of the likely contami-
4.3. Data analysis, step 3: determine if the karst
nants. Quantitative tracer tests are the most effective
area’s carrying capacity is known
means of determining the aquifer-related informa-
Long term effective management of karst re- tion, although in high storage, deeply circulating and
sources requires their sustainable utilization. This slowly flowing aquifers, they may only have limited
can only be accomplished if the carrying capacity of application, and computer-driven mathematical mod-
the resources is defined. Determining carrying capac- els may be useful.
ities for water quality and quantity will require tech- Water budget calculations can be made to deter-
niques beyond the strictly geomorphological meth- mine an aquifer’s capacity to meet water needs while
ods presented thus far in this paper. recharge is diminished by the sealing of karst fea-
In assessing the impacts on groundwater quality, tures. The ultimate limit on the budget is for total
pollutant loading of the aquifer should be weighed mean discharge to not exceed mean recharge, other-
172 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

wise groundwater mining and large scale depletion faulting, and limits on contamination should be de-
of the aquifer is inevitable. In many cases, water termined for both the aquifer in general and the
budgets will need to allocate discharge by springs for specific compartment recharged at Camp Bullis.
the needs of downstream communities and ecologi- Tracer tests should be attempted, but will probably
cal maintenance. The recharge figure of the water have limited application. Consequently, computer
budget should be decreased accordingly for de- generated aquifer models should be analyzed to de-
creases caused by the sealing of recharge features. termine the general aquifer parameters affecting wa-
Broad placement of impervious cover, such as paved ter quality. Since the scale of modeling is still too
areas for large buildings, will seal small karst fea- coarse for precise assessment, the most detailed
tures where recharge is generally not measured. In model available should be used, which is currently
such areas, the mean recharge rate should be calcu- that of Thorkildsen and McElhaney Ž1992..
lated and multiplied by the size of the area planned As previously noted, the Edwards Aquifer’s over-
for impervious covering to determine the recharge all water quantity carrying capacity has been set to
that would be lost. preserve springflows for endangered species. While
Although water quality and quantity are addressed military operations at Camp Bullis do not draw water
separately above, proper management requires con- from the aquifer, the installation does provide
current consideration of both factors. Many examples recharge. Nine caves are located in streambeds and
exist where cave entrances and sinkholes have been have drainage basins large enough to measure on 7.5X
preserved to maintain the volume of recharge into an topographic maps, and total 2.27 km2 in size over
aquifer, but activities in the drainage area result in the recharge zone. The remaining caves are located
the recharge of polluted runoff. Conversely, many in interstream areas and have smaller drainage basins
other examples occur where to prevent contamina- which total 0.06 km2 . Altogether, drainage basins of
tion of an aquifer, recharge features have been sealed the known caves make up 23.7% of the 9.84 km2 of
which prevents replenishment of the water supply. the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone on Camp Bullis.
A biologist should be consulted to determine the Although it is unlikely that streambed caves would
carrying capacity of surface and subsurface ecosys- be sealed owing to their obvious significance, the
tems relative to the impacts of proposed land use. size of their drainage basins is generally exaggerated
Water quality and quantity are again the issues on in this subdued karst. Significant portions of the
which a geologist will most likely work, usually to drainage basins are internally drained by karst fea-
delineate drainage basins and their hydrologic char- tures and other caves. For example, the 0.12 km2
acteristics. drainage basin for Record Fire 1 Pit, as mapped on
The carrying capacity for water quality in the the 7.5X quadrangle, loses about 75% of its drainage
Edwards Aquifer is currently undefined due in part into other caves. Recharge into specific caves is
to the size and complexity of the aquifer, which will therefore difficult to estimate unless measured.
require a more extensive study than possible in this Recharge from drainage originating off the karst can
investigation. While the aquifer as a whole maintains be estimated with greater certainty.
excellent water quality, contamination incidents are
increasingly found, especially in urban areas Že.g., 4.4. Data analysis, step 4a: learn if data for the
Roddy, 1992., and broader aquifer contamination to proposed land use can be collected to determine the
exceed drinking water standards is considered immi- karst area’s carrying capacity
nent if current land use practices continue ŽKipp et
al., 1993.. At this point, the EIA strategy diverges. If the
Because the activities at Camp Bullis have not carrying capacity is known, then proceed to Step 4b
impacted water quality and changes in land use are below. If not, then ascertain if additional data collec-
not anticipated, its carrying capacity for pollutants tion and analysis is possible to determine the carry-
was not quantified. However, the procedures out- ing capacity. If possible, return to Step 3 and deter-
lined above can be used with the following specific mine if carrying capacity can be defined with the
considerations. The aquifer is compartmentalized by additional data. Should new data be insufficient or
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 173

unavailable, then proceed to Step 5a. As discussed The proposed 15% limit is set per watershed,
above in Step 3, water quality carrying capacities for which can vary in size by orders of magnitude.
Camp Bullis were not determined because they were Additional work by Schueler Ž1995. finds water-
beyond the scope of the contracted research, and sheds between 13 to 39 km2 are the optimal size for
water quantity capacities await regulatory resolution. effective study and management. Some trade-offs
may prove necessary, concentrating impervious cover
4.5. Data analysis, step 5a: limit imperÕious coÕer to in certain areas that are already impacted or are less
15% sensitive to impacts in order to preserve resource
quality in other areas.
In the absence of site specific information to Analyses of surface and groundwater quality in
determine carrying capacity, impervious cover should and around Camp Bullis have been conducted by
be used to limit adverse impacts on the resources of state and federal agencies without finding adverse
karst areas. Impervious cover refers to all imperme- impacts related to the installation. High impact activ-
able non-natural surfaces that cover the ground, gen- ities, such as most uses and storage of hazardous
erally referring to buildings and transportation struc- materials, are prohibited by military regulations on
tures like roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and drive- the Camp Bullis portion of the Edwards Aquifer
ways. recharge zone. The 1.1% impervious cover in that
Schueler Ž1994. summarized the results of multi- area mitigates the impacts of what contaminants may
ple studies on the relationship between impervious be released while preserving natural local recharge
cover and streams. He found that watersheds with quantity into the aquifer.
more than 10%–20% impervious cover suffered sig- Applying Schueler’s Ž1994. recommendations to
nificant degradation in water quality, biodiversity, the Edwards Aquifer at Camp Bullis, groundwater
stream temperature, and stability of stream channel drainage basins would be measured for impervious
shape and position, and most resources were im- cover as opposed to surface drainage watersheds.
pacted by 10%–15% impervious cover. These results Maclay and Land Ž1988. subdivide the aquifer into
provide a valuable tool in resource management, major flow units based on hydrogeologic character-
furnishing a readily definable and practical measure istics and computer simulations, and place the
to predict and manage resource impact. recharge zone at Camp Bullis within the Eastern
While the impacts of impervious cover on karst Storage Unit, which extends 78 km to the northeast
groundwater quality have not yet been rigorously and covers a roughly 600 km2 area. Because this
studied, given the often analogous behavior between area is far larger than the 13 to 39 km2 size recom-
karst aquifers and surface streams, Schueler’s 15% mended for water management ŽSchueler, 1995., the
result is proposed here as a guideline until detailed unit can be subdivided at Cibolo Creek which has a
karst specific research is conducted. Best manage- major hydrologic influence on the aquifer. While at
ment practices, local geologic factors, and renovation 200 km2 this area is still much larger than recom-
of older impervious areas may mitigate degradation mended, it is the smallest hydrologic subunit that can
and allow higher percentages of impervious cover, be accurately defined within the scope of this study.
but they should not be implemented unless monitor- It is also beyond the scope of this study to
ing data demonstrate that acceptably low impacts precisely calculate the percent of impervious cover
exist and then implemented gradually to insure im- within the aquifer subunit, but an approximation was
pacts do not rise above acceptable standards. Re- determined with land use data compiled by the county
source impact standards and monitoring protocols ŽBexar Appraisal District, 1993., with some updates
will need to be set. Additionally, the 15% guideline for recent major construction. About 57 km2 of the
is meant to supplement the field surveys, not replace aquifer subunit were found to have moderate to high
them. Field results, such as described previously in density impervious cover, conservatively estimated
this paper, would steer impervious cover away from at a mean of 50% of the total area, from high-density
critical areas where its impact could be dispropor- single-family housing, multi-family homes, roads,
tionately large. and commercial properties. Approximately 21 km2
174 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

were under low to moderate density impervious cov- analysis does not resolve the uncertainty or if the
ers, estimated at a mean of 20% of the area. These results find the critical areas inadequate, then return
combined estimates of impervious cover total 32.7 to step 5a and limit impervious cover to 15% as the
km2 , or 16.4% of the subunit. default resource protection strategy, coupled with
The 16.4% impervious cover over the Bexar impervious covers that avoid critical areas.
County portion of the Edwards Aquifer’s Eastern As mentioned previously, water quality and quan-
Storage Unit suggests the area is on the threshold tity carrying capacities have not been determined for
where significant groundwater contamination should Camp Bullis, and thus they will not be addressed in
begin to occur. This is supported by Roddy’s Ž1992. this step. However, since the carrying capacity of the
data which demonstrated that pesticides and other cave invertebrate species at Camp Bullis petitioned
anthropogenic contaminants in the aquifer were pri- for endangered listing is better understood, it is
marily found in the urbanized areas of the recharge presented as an example.
zone, especially in the Eastern Storage Unit. While Cave crickets are well recognized as key species
most concentrations did not exceed safe drinking in preserving the habitat of local cave ecosystems
water standards, their presence indicates threshold Že.g., Campbell, 1995.. Elliott Ž1994. demonstrated
conditions where concentrations and frequency of that most crickets forage within a 50-m-radius of the
occurrence should rapidly increase with continued cave entranceŽs., and that maintaining that area in its
urban development, and concentrations exceeding natural state is critical to maintaining the health of
drinking standards should occur more often. This the ecosystem. This radius also encompasses the
result supports use of Schueler’s Ž1994. 15% imper- drainage areas of most caves on Camp Bullis Že.g.,
vious cover guideline for karst aquifers. Fig. 6., which is needed to preserve adequate water
quality and quantity for moisture and nutrient input.
These and other management considerations were
4.6. Data analysis, step 4b: determine if the critical developed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service
areas proÕide adequate protection to the karst re- Ž1994. for endangered cave species in the Austin,
sources Texas area. Since the petitioned species are closely
related to those in Austin and have similar habitat
Unlike step 4a when the carrying capacities of the needs, the critical areas at Camp Bullis were devel-
karst resources are not known, when they are known, oped in accordance with the US Fish and Wildlife
an evaluation is needed to determine if the defined Service standards and are probably adequate for the
critical areas are sufficient to protect those resources. protection of their species. However, these critical
The precise method will depend on the resource and areas are only adequate for the species populations at
local factors. As a general example, with water those particular caves. Standards to protect the peti-
quantity issues, the volume of recharge provided by tioned species’ population as a whole throughout the
the critical area can be measured or calculated to area have not yet been determined.
determine the relative impact on the carrying capac-
ity. The planned covering of a critical area that
would prevent 100 m3 per year of natural recharge 4.7. Data analysis, step 5b: establish karst resource
would be acceptable for an aquifer with a carrying protection zones
capacity that allows for a 1000 m3 per year decrease
in water volume, assuming future impacts do not The divergent steps in this karst EIA strategy
diminish the volume by the remaining 900 m3 per converge here from steps 5a and 4b in the creation of
year and no other resourcerenvironmental considera- a karst resource protection zone ŽKRPZ.. Two fac-
tions. tors distinguish the KRPZ from critical areas. The
When it is uncertain if the critical areas provides first is within the scope of the geologist conducting
adequate protection, additional environmental impact the EIA; the second requires administrative and regu-
data should be collected and analyzed, and then the latory authority but is included here as guidance
adequacy of the critical areas reexamined. If further should such actions be considered.
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 175

Based on the studies throughout the EIA process, cance. Karst features do not lend themselves to such
the KRPZ should include resource management rec- convenient plans. The features and their attributes
ommendations such as: must first be interpreted as to their origin and role in
past andror present hydrogeomorphic processes be-
Ža. berms to divert potentially contaminated runoff; fore numerical values are assigned. Such a strategy
Žb. gates to protect fragile resources inside caves has been presented in this paper, and should be used
from the public and to protect unskilled explorers as the foundation for a quantitative hydrogeologic
from injury; assessment of karst features.
Žc. if and where sewerrseptic systems, wells, Following is an example of a quantitative assess-
roads, buildings, and other utilities or structures ment using data gathered at Camp Bullis. The spe-
should be placed; cific details and calculations are beyond the scope of
Žd. types and locations of natural and artificial this report and will be discussed by Veni Žin prepara-
land covers and uses; and tion., but the general procedure and results are pre-
Že. resource monitoring strategies that would sented. Similarly conducted assessments for other
maintain the integrity of the KRPZ and determine areas will need to assign values and attributes appro-
the effectiveness of the resource protection mea- priate to the type of karst found in those settings.
sures. The overall design of the calculations assumes that
the karst EIA strategy was applied while assessing
Some of the recommendations may affect activities the features in the field. Feature characteristics, many
outside of the critical area. described above in step 2 of data collection, are
Protection of a critical area around a cave or karst checked off for each feature on a prepared assess-
feature alone may not be sufficient to protect the ment form where each characteristic has a particular
resources in question, especially if the resources value. The purpose of these values is to provide an
extend beyond the limits of the property under study. estimate of the feature’s permeability. High perme-
Where possible, KRPZ’s should be included within ability translates to high risk of groundwater pollu-
the framework of a larger plan that properly manages tion when contaminants are present. The point value
the entire resource Žaquifer, species, archaeological of each characteristic reflects how strongly it indi-
material, etc... Habitat conservation plans, often used cates a feature’s potential permeability.
in endangered species management, could serve as a The sum of a feature’s characteristic point values
model, where the conditions needed to sustain a is then multiplied by the value assigned to the fea-
resource are defined, and then development appropri- ture type. Correctly interpreting the type of feature is
ate to preserve those conditions is initiated. Site critical to effectively assessing its permeability or
specific recommendations were made for the karst environmental risk potential. The feature type multi-
features at Camp Bullis per those outlined above. No plies the other values since it defines the relationship
regional plans have yet been proposed for aquifer or of the feature to the aquifer. Without this multiplier,
cave species protection. final values can often be misleading. For example,
paleosprings get high point values from character-
istics showing high permeability, but at Camp Bullis
5. Quantitative data analysis they only drain small upland areas to nearby valleys
and are not hydrologically connected to the Edwards
Land managers and planners often desire a quanti- Aquifer. Their multiplier value of zero fittingly re-
tative ranking of feature significance as a convenient duces feature significance to zero. As a contrasting
means of comparing features and to expeditiously example, small vadose features with few points based
determine which will be preserved and destroyed as on their characteristics, will be appropriately in-
a property is developed. Such EIA methods some- creased in hydrologic significance since vadose fea-
times run into the problem of simply assigning nu- tures form primarily to recharge the aquifer.
merical values to feature attributes, then relying on The size of a feature’s drainage basin was not
mathematical manipulation to interpret their signifi- considered in these calculations. They were intended
176 G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180

Table 3 excavation. It assesses features by simple summation


Percentages of relative permeabilities of 98 Camp Bullis karst of point values. This TNRCC form was also com-
features, comparing actual permeabilities to those predicted by
assessment calculations
pleted for each feature for comparison with the
calculated assessments of this karst EIA.
Effectively Low Moderate High
impermeable Ž%. Ž%. Ž%. Table 3 compares the results of the karst EIA and
Ž%. TNRCC calculations with the demonstrated relative
Actual permeability 13.3 39.8 3.1 43.9 permeabilities. The karst EIA calculations closely
Karst EIA 14.3 37.8 18.4 29.6 follow the actual permeabilities, except for determin-
TNRCC 25.5 26.5 40.8 7.1 ing that about a third of the high permeability fea-
tures are of moderate permeability. The TNRCC
results do not approximate the actual results.
to measure permeability, which is independent of the Table 4 provides additional insight to the results
volume of water entering a feature. A feature’s of the calculation method. Correct only 33.7% of the
significance based on the volume of water recharged time, the TNRCC calculation proves ineffective at
would need to be determined by a separate process. accurately predicting the permeability of karst fea-
To test the predictive accuracy of this calculation tures. The method skews the results to underestimate
method, it was run on 98 Camp Bullis karst features. permeability in 57.1% of the cases, and overestimat-
These features have been excavated, explored, and ing 9.2%. The karst EIA calculations prove accurate
studied to demonstrate their relative permeabilities, in 77.6% of the analyses, underestimating only 16.3%
categorized as high, moderate, low, and effectively and overestimating 6.1%. Identification of effec-
impermeable. Since excavation is not required for tively impermeable and low permeability features are
geologic assessments by local regulatory authorities, most reliable with 100% and 85% confidence. There
the characteristics were noted as how the features were insufficient moderate features for statistically
appeared prior to excavation Ždiscounting probing meaningful results.
and moving less than about 20 cm3 of sediment.. The lower 66.7% accuracy with high permeability
The geologic assessment form required by the state, features is a direct function of conducting the assess-
Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission ment prior to any excavation. Of the 22 features
ŽTNRCC. Edwards Aquifer Recharge Feature As- rated too low or high, 16 had no surface characteris-
sessment Form Ž30 TAC 313., version date 1 Jan- tic which would better distinguish their permeabili-
uary 1996, requires less interpretive study and no ties, including 13 caves revealed by excavation. This

Table 4
Comparison of calculated with actual permeabilities of Camp Bullis karst features
Actual permeabilities Calculated permeabilities
Too low Too high Correct Percent correct Ž%.
Karst EIA results
Effectively impermeable NrA 0 13 100
Low 0 6 34 85.0
Moderate 2 0 1 33.3
High 14 NrA 28 66.7
Totals Žpercent of total features. 16.3% 6.1% 77.6% 77.6

TNRCC results
Effectively impermeable NrA 8 5 38.5
Low 30 1 9 22.5
Moderate 3 0 0 0.0
High 23 NrA 19 45.2
Totals Žpercent of total features. 57.1% 9.2% 33.7% 33.7
G. Veni r Geomorphology 31 (1999) 151–180 177

demonstrates that while the calculations can be used that in pollution risk assessments of karst aquifers,
as general guidelines of feature significance, excava- conduit development is of secondary importance to
tion in a subdued karst is still an important compo- the type of land use in the recharge area due to high
nent of the field study. Recalculating the Camp nonconduit permeabilities Že.g., Ogden et al., 1991;
Bullis data for when moderate degrees of excavation Veni, 1997b.. Karst EIAs such as this one only
were conducted increases the accuracy of predicting identify the most sensitive sites in these highly sensi-
low, moderate, and high permeability features to tive terrains. Successful management of karst in
95%, 66.7%, and 97.6%, and overall accuracy of the urban environments is best achieved by preserving
procedure to 94.9%. the most vulnerable areas and their drainage basins
in their natural state, coupled with minimizing pollu-
tant loading of the aquifer. Data examined in this
6. Conclusions investigation suggest that maintaining impervious
covers to no more than 15% of a groundwater
Karst areas are generally the most environmen- drainage basin may be an effective means of preserv-
tally sensitive of terrains, and among the most com- ing karst groundwater quality if combined with
plex and least understood hydrologic and geomor- avoidance of critical areas.
phic systems. Increasing research and understanding
of karst now allow the development of this EIA
strategy to accurately predict the significance and Acknowledgements
sensitivity of areas and specific features. The specific
methods and calculations for Camp Bullis were pre- Many thanks are extended to editors Rick Gia-
sented as examples and their results may or may not rdino and Dick Marston, Karen Veni, and the three
prove as accurate outside of the Edwards Aquifer anonymous reviewers for their assistance and useful
area. Karst varies widely in scale and expression comments on the draft manuscript. Special apprecia-
which is why no universal, specific plan is presented, tion goes to the US Army, Fort Sam Houston Com-
but rather a strategy that provides flexibility to adjust mand, for supporting the karst research at Camp
specific methods according to the conditions discov- Bullis and giving permission for the inclusion of
ered in each region. Accurate hydrogeomorphic in- those results in this paper, to the US Fish and
terpretation of the features and regional evolution is Wildlife Service for their permission to include re-
critical to the success of the method and requires a sults of studies I have conducted for them, to the
sound knowledge of karst processes from the investi- Texas Speleological Survey for providing their data
gators. While the results of quantitative evaluation on Texas caves and karst to assist this research, and
methods may prove accurate in most cases, they to all three organizations for supporting karst re-
should not be accepted without comparing them to search, exploration, education, and conservation.
the field data. Excavation will often prove useful in
developing accurate assessments, especially in geo- References
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