Caves in Texas are protected by the property owners, both private and public.  Publicly owned caves include those owned by various Federal entities, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and local governments.  Non-profit groups such as the Texas Cave Management Association and the Texas Cave Conservancy also own and protect caves.  Typically these caves are protected with an agreed upon management plan.

Caves also receive some protection under government laws and regulations. For, example caves in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone cannot be plugged without review from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service regulates impacts on caves containing endangered species.  They have established karst protection zones in Bexar, Medina, Travis, and Williamson counties that are likely to contain endangered species habitants.  Endangered species studies must be conducted prior to any development activities in these areas.  For information on endangered karst species protection in Texas please visit the USFWS Austin office.

The Cities of Austin and San Marcos require environmental studies prior to development activities, this includes assessments of recharge features. The City of San Antonio requires that developers certify they have complied with federal endangered species laws.

The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 provides legal protections for caves on federal property.

Texas state law contains penalties for cave vandalism.

The Antiquities Code of Texas includes penalties for acts of destruction of archeological resources committed against property owners.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has a bat protection law.

Revised from: William R. Elliott and George Veni (eds.). 1994.
The Caves and Karst of Texas: 1994 Convention Guidebook.
Natl. Speleol. Soc., Huntsville, Alabama.
352 pp. + viii + 13 maps. All rights reserved.