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Bracken Bat Cave Gets Reprieve After Developer Opts Out Of Surrounding Property

Bat Conservation International
The land around Bracken Bat Cave and the proposed subdivision, which will now not be developed.

A tentative buyer has declined to purchase the property -- known as Crescent Hills -- adjacent to the Bracken Bat Cave and now a coalition of potential buyers is hoping to acquire the land to preserve it.

The coalition is a loosely-knit group of people and organizations who want to see the land surrounding the bat cave permanently preserved instead of being open for development of houses and commercial activity.

One of the interested parties is San Antonio District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.

"This is very important land," he said. "It’s part of the Texas Hill Country that is entirely over the recharge zone and it also features the largest bat colony on the planet. It has dramatic impact on our eco-system, in terms of agriculture, in terms of nature. Just about every possible way that conservation and preservation makes sense in Texas, we can see on this particular property."

Galo Properties, which owns the land, had planned to develop a dense housing project on the property. Critics said the development would have dynamic detrimental effects on the bats, which could have a domino effect on pest control and agriculture

Nirenberg said health officials were concerned that the bats could spread rabies by interacting with people and animals who would move into the development. 
"Ultimately, what’s the right thing to do with this habitat? I think there’s pretty broad agreement that it is not to develop in that area," Nirenberg said.

Nirenberg said the broad-based coalition must continue to raise awareness of the property’s environmental importance and ultimately raise funding to buy the property in order to protect it.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.