Endangered Spider Puts a Halt to $15.1 Million Highway Project
MySanAntonio.com’s headline “Tiny Spider is a Big Roadblock” sums up this week’s incredible news pretty well. A biologist’s discovery of an endangered Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver (Cicurina venii) spider in the middle of a highway construction project in northwest San Antonio put the project on hold indefinitely.
The coin sized, eyeless spider has not been seen in the area for three decades and its discovery renews hope that its species has somehow managed to survive the onslaught of construction and development projects. However, what makes the re-discovery of this species sensational is the clash of human interests and the response of those involved so far.
Frankly, had the Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver been discovered half a mile away from the site it might not have been as sensational. Given the number of discoveries of new and unique species around the world, with the daily drama of conservation and the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, the Meshweaver spider might not have even made it to the news.
But its discovery in the middle of a $15.1 million highway project gives the event an element of human interest because it is human decision that will affect its survival and fate.
Surely no biologist, science buff, or conservationist is cheered over the inconvenience of thousands of people affected by the halted construction project. This highway project is a part of a growing community and more likely than not, a legitimate need of the people living there. Yet the area where the road is being built is reported to be a biodiversity and natural resources rich area, where rare cave species like Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver are known inhabitants. To continue building construction projects without taking into consideration the environmental and ecological aspects would amount to irresponsibility.
I personally don’t believe that the question is about inconvenience versus irresponsibility at all however. I like the fact that biologists were with the construction team from the beginning, precisely because of environmental and ecological issues of the area. In effect, this collaboration produced a positive result – an unexpected discovery.
In the beginning of the project, the team of biologists were not out there to make discoveries but the fact that they did is a remarkable event and an achievement in itself. I think it speaks of conscientiousness and of a job well done. The decision to not suppress the discovery and potentially avoid inconvenience is also very admirable in my opinion. The halting of the project itself may or may not have been received well by the individuals being effected, but the response has been more positive than what most might have expected.
I myself was impressed and encouraged by this story of the Braken Meshweaver’s survival and the response that has ensued. The willingness to pause and look around to see if there are other living creatures that are being treaded on by the relentless and heavy footstep of progress and development is what stands out in all of this. It’s not easy, but the survival of the tiny Meshweaver proves anything is possible.
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.