MEDIA ADVISORY - Reclamation's Hidden Treasure

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, (505) 462-3576

For Release: March 12, 2012

The Bureau of Reclamation recently collaborated with Texas A&M-Galveston in a mapping and resource inventory project of Phantom Lake Spring and the surrounding spring-fed wetland system near Toyavale, Texas. The spring-fed cave has been closed for years because of the presence of two endangered fish species plus significant physical dangers for divers. Reclamation issued a permit for the current work to the team lead by Tom Lliffe, professor of marine biology.

The results of the work were stunning. While not able to completely traverse the entire cave, researches did verify that it is one of the longest in the United States. The team mapped the cave to characterize habitat, conducted comprehensive photo and video documentation, pinpointed significant biological features and recorded the distribution of species.

Iliffe and the academic team will return to Phantom Springs later in the year to continue their work. The university investigations are funded by a cooperative research grant between Texas A&M and CONACyT, Mexico's national science foundation.

Attached to this advisory is a feature story by Reclamation's Mary Perea Carlson that summarizes the team's work and includes photography. Additionally, other links to the team's work and video of the dive is included in the article.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Phantom Springs Cave Feature Story