Godwin Ranch Preserve
Preserve Manager: Eléonore le Corvaisier
Godwin Ranch Cave Preserve consists of 105 acres of gently sloping cedar and oak thicket. Retired pastureland, the site abuts land managed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the developing edge of Georgetown. Caves on the preserve are small and due to their sensitivity, are closed to visitation without a permit from the USFWS to conduct approved scientific research and bio-monitoring.
The preserve is a known locality for famous and endangered Texas karst invertebrates including: Coffin Cave Mold beetle (Batrisodes texanus), Bone Cave harvestmen (Texella reysei), Texas Cave Scorpion (Pseudouroctonus reddelli), cave cricket (Ceuthophilus secretus), and troglobitic millipede (Cambala speobia). Since this land had Texella reyesi identified on it and the geology is favorable for forming the type of subsurface voids needed for karst invertebrate habitat, it was set aside as a mitigation property as part of the Lakeline Mall Habitat Conservation Plan (LLMHCP) in 1992. Since then, annual cricket counts have occurred in July or August since the 1993. Obligations for biological surveys in the caves per the Habitat Conservation Plan have been met but for continued research, cricket counts and biology surveys in Temples of Thor Cave continue. Zara Environmental, LLC, under contract with TCMA, conducts biannual surveys of cave fauna in Temples of Thor Cave.
The preserve is in the North Williamson County Karst Faunal Region (KFR), Karst Faunal Zone (KFZ) 1. This classification is based on work by George Veni. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is using Karst Faunal Areas (KFAs) as a rubric for species recovery and protection of habitat associated with several endangered and threatened species. For more on karst invertebrates, see the USFWS website.
Visitation to the caves on Godwin Ranch Preserve is limited because of their sensitivity. The only permitted access is for approved scientific research and bio-monitoring and requires a permit from the USFWS.
However, there are volunteer opportunities at Godwin Ranch Preserve, such as assisting in annual cricket counts and roadside trash pickups. For more information, contact the Preserve Manager.
Simon Lakeline Mall Partnership. 1992. Lakeline Mall Habitat Conservation Plan. 76 pp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2014. Section (10)(a)(1)(A) Scientific Permit Requirements for Conducting Presence/Absence Surveys for Endangered Karst Invertebrates in Central Texas. Revised May 8, 2014.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1994. Recovery Plan for Endangered Karst Invertebrates in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas. Albuquerque, New Mexico, prepared by Lisa O’Donnell, William R. Elliott, and Ruth A. Stanford, edited by Alisa Shull, 154 pp.
Veni, George, and Associates. 1992. Geologic controls on cave development and the distribution of cave fauna in the Austin, Texas, region. Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 77 pp.
Zara Environmental, LLC. 2016. Community Ecology of Temples of Thor Cave, Williamson County, Texas, Annual Monitoring Report for Texas Cave Management Association, November 23, 2016, 9 pp.
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