HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A new facility to research and protect some endangered species that are native to central Texas opened Thursday. 

The new Edwards Aquifer habitat conservation plan buildings will house a handful of endangered species that include the San Marcos salamander, the comal springs riffle beetle, the fountain darter, and even Texas wild rice — a grass native to the San Marcos River. 

Researchers say when animals become endangered, stress is increased on our ecosystems.

“We have to look at these as the early warning signs and we need to preserve these species because if we don’t, it will find it’s way up the food chain,” said Scott Storment with the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

The new facility is located near the outlet malls in San Marcos.

Anyone hoping to see the new facility can contact the Edwards Aquifer Authority at (210) 222-2204.