SAN MARCOS RIVER FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER VOL. 11, NO. 1
Printed Quarterly -- January 10, 2001
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND BOARD ELECTION SET FOR JANUARY
All members of the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) as well
as all those who are interested in learning more about ways
to protect the San Marcos River are welcome at the annual
meeting/party SMRF holds for the membership. This year the
meeting/party will be at Aquarena Center on Wednesday, January
31, at 6 p.m. in the large meeting room near the entrance
and gift shop. A program conducted by Ron Coley, manager of
the educational facility at the headwaters of the River, will
detail all the interesting outreach work that Aquarena is
doing with schools, teachers, and communities in central Texas
and beyond. As always, this meeting will be a very festive
event that the community is invited to, a fun annual gathering
of people who care about the San Marcos River. The annual
Board election will be held at this membership meeting (see
details on nominees in page 2 article) and an annual financial
report will be available for discussion. Members will make
suggestions to the Board for the coming year, and the work
of the past year will be reviewed. This is the only meeting
of the year held specifically for members, but members are
always welcome to participate at any of the quarterly Board
meetings or the monthly work meetings during the year, and
members can be involved in all aspects of SMRF's work for
the River. Visitors are also welcome to any SMRF meeting,
including this annual party.
The third annual plunge into the River on New Year's Day was
certainly a fun, if frigid, event this year, with around 20
plungers and 25 observers. Thanks to Chef John Hohn for cooking
the hot dogs and chili. He chose NOT to plunge in, since he
had been in the river every week this year, tubing and writing
his column, "The Millenium Tuber". The hot chocolate
and steaming black-eyed peas were also devoured quickly after
the plunge, and the whole party was over in an hour, as folks
headed for their warm homes.
the plunge, a deer came running across Sewall Park from University
Drive and jumped in the River to escape his canine pursuer,
floating quite a distance downstream before getting out. The
concrete banks made it impossible for the deer to climb out,
and there certainly is a lot of concrete surrounding the upper
river. Seeing the deer's courage, everyone decided they could
do it too---the river was much warmer than the 34 degree air
temperature. The short swim in the fast current was pleasant
enough, but the cold wind encountered as the swimmers climbed
out was another story! Bundling up quickly, the group devoured
the hot food and drink and visited briefly with new friends
and old before moving on to their own New Year's Day activities.
many new projects planned for 2001, please come to the annual
membership meeting and party on JanJohn Hohn explauary 31
to hear about them, join our email list for weekly updates,
and help SMRF protect the flow, natural beauty, and purity
of the San Marcos River. The Board of SMRF needs your input,
as they plunge into a bold new year of projects.
TO THE COTTAGE KITCHEN LUNCHEON ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 11
A.M. TO 1 P.M.
SMRF cooks a great lunch for the community every February,
and everyone can help by cooking, baking, serving, or just
coming by to eat lunch! The menu always includes a vegetarian
option, and wonderful home-baked pies and cakes. Lunch is
served at the Cottage Kitchen, at the corner of Hopkins and
C. M. Allen in the restored rock house also called the Charles
S. Cock House Museum, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The price is
$4.50 without dessert, or $6 with, and includes beverages.
The SMRF menu will once again be Italian turkey sausage in
marinara sauce with red bell peppers, over parmesan polenta
squares, with green salad and fresh garlic bread. The luncheon
benefits the Heritage Association, who was instrumental in
funding the original endowment of SMRF, to the tune of about
$30,000 over the years. So please show up to help, and to
say thank you to the Heritage Association. Mark calendars
at work, put up a notice at work, tell everyone, bring them
to lunch, or pick up to-go plates. SMRF wants to sell out!
The Cottage Kitchen is a good place to eat on any Friday,
of course. There's always good food cooked by Heritage Association
supporters. Call Dianne Wassenich at 393-3787 to volunteer
your help to SMRF on February 2nd, if you have time to bake,
cook, or serve.
TO RETIREES, AND NEWS OF BOARD NOMINATIONS
FOR ELECTION AT ANNUAL MEETING
Mark Boucher, who has served two full terms (three years each)
on the SMRF Board of Directors, is retiring. His work over
these six years has been much appreciated, especially his
steady efforts on the data base of members, no small task,
and on the Investments Committee. Dana Ray, who is currently
the Board Secretary, will be moving away in the coming year
since she and her husband Lex sold their business. She has
one year left on her three year term that a new Board member
will be elected to complete, and of course SMRF and San Marcos
will miss her and Lex very much. Dr. Alan Groeger and Dianne
Wassenich have completed their first terms and will run for
second terms, which are the maximums allowed in SMRF's bylaws.
So only two "new" Board nominees are needed for
committee, consisting of Mark Boucher, Therese Whalen and
Dianne Wassenich, came up with two excellent suggestions:
Jon Cradit and John Hohn. Jon Cradit is nominated for the
one year left on Dana's term, and John Hohn is nominated for
the full three-year term that is open. Cradit is an inspector
with Hays County's Environmental Health Department and formerly
worked for TNRCC (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission,
the state's environmental department). Jon and his wife Lisa
have three sons. Jon's parents, Don and Laura Cradit, are
riverside landowners in Martindale, so Jon grew up swimming
and paddling on the River. He tells stories of the days before
canoeing came into style, when they would shoot the rapids
in jon boats. Jon has been an avid caver, and volunteer steward
of the Nature Conservancy's Ezell's Cave in west San Marcos
for 18 years. He has been directing the SMRF effort in the
past year to get their water quality testing equipment in
the cave repaired and operational.
is a local attorney, with an office in downtown San Marcos
that he restored with his nephew, who also offices there.
His practice involves many environmental cases, since his
previous career was as an EPA attorney in the Northwest, handling
pollution cases in Alaska and other parts of Washington and
Oregon. He also has an engineering degree and worked in that
field before becoming a lawyer. Most folks know him as the
Millenium Tuber, who tubed the River every week all during
the year 2000. In warm weather, he actually tubed much more
often than that. His column about these adventures ran for
the past year in the Chautauquan. John has been an active
SMRF member for many years, working on many projects like
the T-shirts, salamander pin, the beautiful River map on the
kiosk at City Park by the tube rental, and various water flow
measuring and surveying projects.
of SMRF has approved these nominations, and now the slate
will be voted on by members at the annual meeting on Jan.
31. If a member wants to make another nomination this can
be done according to SMRF's bylaws by mailing in those nominations
with signatures of 10% of the total SMRF membership attached,
or a nomination can be made from the floor at the meeting,
if seconded by 25% of the members in attendance. Officers
will then be elected for 2001 by the Board at the first Board
meeting after the annual meeting/party.
PHONE NUMBER FOR THE RIVER RANGERS
The San Marcos River Rangers have a new phone number, so their
Volunteer Coordinator Mary Rocamora, wanted SMRF members to
know it has changed. It is still a local San Marcos number:
557-7571. Those who wish to go through the training to learn
how to do accurate and detailed water quality testing can
call her to see when the next training sessions are scheduled.
LECTURES IN FEBRUARY
The Greenhouse Interpretive Center at Riverside and IH 35,
on the west side of the highwayat the River, sponsors lectures
and events for interested adults. On Saturday, February 10,
at 11 a.m., a native plant nursery owner, Dan Hosage, will
talk about medicinal plants of Texas, and prepare "Comanche
Tea". Dan established his Madrone Nursery in 1986, and
has sold over a million native plants. Dan holds the patent
on a special weeping variety of Texas Redbud. On February
21, a Wenesday at noon, the Greenhouse will have a Brown Bag
Luncheon Lecture with Murray Owen of U. S. Fish & Wildlife
discussing biological invasions of spring-fed Texas streams.
For information call 393-8448, and reservations are always
a good idea, since there were 25 people at their last Brown
Bag Luncheon Lecture on composting. Come just to see the native
plant gardens that are being planted behind the Greenhouse
by local adopting groups. Ask how to be come a garden adopter.
ELEMENTARY STUDENTS STUDY RIVERS AND WATER
One of the six educational grants SMRF gave to area teachers
this past year was to Duane Trujillo of DeZavala Elementary
for his fourth grade classes. His students are researching
and writing about rivers and water systems with the additional
help of a student intern teacher, Cheryl Latchford, and will
enjoy a field trip this spring to the San Marcos River. Their
recent presentation about their studies, pictured above, was
attended by several SMRF members, their principal Yolanda
Almendarez, and a photographer from the Hays Free Press who
ran a photo on the front page that week. The students slipped
drawings into a large television-shaped box and spoke into
a foil microphone labeled H-2-0 TV, to simulate a TV newscast
about their studies.
OR PATRON MEMBERS OF SMRF
SMRF members, including many patron or lifetime members, all
received a newsletter last month that had an article on the
first page explaining that it was time for the annual dues,
with a return envelope inserted. Many of the newer patron
members were surprised, and SMRF wants to apologize for neglecting
to note in the newsletter that patron or lifetime members
are not expected to send in annual dues. This is usually noted
in the annual dues appeal somewhere, and was left out inadvertently
this year. This might be a good time to publish the list of
patron members and THANK THEM for their generous donations
of over $500 that entitle them to lifetime membership in SMRF.
Many were founding members fifteen years ago, and more members
join the list every year. Some of them have passed away, but
they are remembered with gratitude for their far-sighted effort
to protect the River. If any patron members are missing from
this list, please contact the data base manager for SMRF,
Mark Boucher, at 754-8075.
Association of San Marcos
Marcos Pan Amer. Golf Assoc.
& Barbara Piersol
Marcos Noon Lions
& Patty Sullivan
and Alyne Foster
Marcos Daily Record
& Stephanie Cole
& Jean Sieloff
Marcos Bluebonnet Lions
& Marie Fairchild
Marcos Treatment Ctr.
of Texas Chilympiad
& Celeste Healy
Creek Chili Pod
and Mary Morgan
& Dianne Pape
C. Wray Trust
VOLUNTEERS URGENTLY NEEDED AT BIRDING COUNT, AQUARENA, FEBRUARY
16 & 17
Margaret Russell, Educational Coordinator at Aquarena Center
has invited birders to volunteer to help with the Great Backyard
Bird Count on February 16 & 17 at Aquarena. Classes of
schoolchildren will be coming to learn how to use binoculars,
how to identify some common migrant birds, and enter the data
on a chart. The children will see demonstrations about migratory
patterns, bird needs, and do other fun activities. The volunteers
are specifically needed from 9:30 to 1:30 on the 16th, demonstrating
the binoculars for around 20 students, or showing a group
of 8 students how to identify the birds and enter them on
the survey chart. The activities on the 17th are from 9:30
to 4, when the students will do surveys, as well as bird house
building, mistnetting, bird banding, origami folding, seeing
raptors and playing migration games. Pick an hour or two that
would be practical, and volunteer to Margaret at 245-7557
or email@example.com , or 512-835-6657. Spread the
word to every birder in town!
event on Friday, February 16, will be a lecture by Marsha
Reimer, TPW biologist, who will speak about her thesis research
on the birds of Aquarena. Aquarena has been nominated for
the Central Texas Birding and Nature Trail currently being
composed by Texas Parks & Wildlife. Aquarena will provide
a free glass bottom boat ride, about two hours after the last
public boat runs. Thanksgiving Coffee, a company that markets
coffee grown in an environmentally sound manner that does
not destroy rain forest canopy, thus protecting bird habitat,
will distribute coffee samples. Sounds like a deluxe birding
event in San Marcos!
RIVER CLEANUP MARCH 3 WILL CLEAN UP THE WHOLE SAN MARCOS RIVER
Mark calendars now, and plan to be in town and turn out to
help clean up the whole River, all the way to the confluence
with the Guadalupe in Gonzales. The more experienced canoe
clubs from all over Texas will cover the lower River, since
that can be a serious challenge in these high flow periods.
In San Marcos, and around the road crossings, there is a need
for bank walkers and less skilled paddlers. Canoes are provided
by TG Canoes and Spencer's Canoes, and information about which
areas need workers can be obtained from coordinators Tom and
Paula Goynes. Free camping is provided for out of town cleanup
workers at Goynes' Pecan Park Retreat and Spencer's Shady
Grove Campground. Goynes coordinates with cities, counties,
industries, and private landowners for the disposal of the
trash accumulated at each crossing by paddlers and bank walkers.
He can also use assistance in picking up some of the trash
to bring it from those sites to a central location, where
Green Guy Recycling picks up items that can be recycled or
properly disposed of, if banned from landfills (tires, for
barbecue dinner will be provided by the San Marcos River Foundation
at Shady Grove Campground in Martindale, and locals are encouraged
to bake desserts, since around 300 servings will be needed.
There will be a vegetarian option. For information about the
cleanup call the Goynes family at 392-6171. To volunteer to
bake or help set up the dinner serving line, call Dianne Wassenich
at 393-3787. Watch the newspaper for details about the gathering
Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. at City Park in San Marcos and
the Thank-you dinner in Martindale that evening at 6.
CRANES FEEL EFFECTS OF LONG DROUGHT
SMRF members will recall an article in last winter's newsletter
re the whooping cranes' problems with lack of food and fresh
water, like similar articles in 1996 newsletters. There was
very salty water in San Antonio Bay because of the dry conditions
in central Texas lowering the amount of fresh water flow from
the Guadalupe which pours into that Bay. (The San Marcos River
flows into the Guadalupe.) Crabs cannot reproduce in such
salty water, and so the cranes' favorite food was in short
supply. The Aransas Wildlife Refuge biologists ordered the
burning of some prairie grass last winter, to make acorns
more visible as a back-up food supply.
more drought means no crabs again, and also no acorns, because
the dry conditions at the coast kept the live oaks from producing
acorns this summer. River flows dropped close to the low levels
of 1996. The cranes are now going to deer feeders, looking
for corn. The damp winter conditions down there cause aflatoxin
fungus to grow in the corn, which is toxic to the birds. In
addition, biologists charged with watching and counting the
cranes are worried about the cranes wandering far afield from
the Refuge on San Antonio Bay. They are looking for fresh
water to drink and alternative food sources, but this exposes
them to predators like bobcats, highway traffic, and hunters.
Also, anytime the birds are weakened from lack of food and
water, they are prone to diseases like avian tuberculosis.
cranes arrived back in Texas this winter, after the tough
winter last year and the long flight to and from Canada, around
20 had not made it back. They hatched over 30 chicks up in
Canada, but only 9 survived and made it to Texas. Altogether,
the flock suffered 10% mortality last year, and conditions
are worse this year than last. (In a normal year, the flock
increases 3 or 4 % per year.) Only this week, in mid-January,
has enough rain fallen that the cranes can actually drink
the bay water again. The food situation is still desperate.
The biologists down at Aransas are very concerned about enough
flow being left in the Guadalupe to keep San Antonio Bay healthy,
and more people are realizing that the entire coastal fishing
and recreation industry depends on this river water, not to
speak of all the humans and wildlife at the coast who also
need fresh water.
drawn attention to this situation by notifying the press,
and talking to U. S. Fish & Wildlife staff, as well as
Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW)and the Guadalupe/Blanco River
Authority (GBRA). The two central Texas springs, San Marcos
and Comal, make up most of the flow of the Guadalupe River
at San Antonio Bay in dry times, so SMRF is most definitely
interested in this serious situation, and will continue to
update members in the newsletter, as well as weekly email
updates. When SMRF first discussed this issue in '96, there
was less general understanding of the connection between central
Texas growth and coastal bay problems. This is not the case
this year, since studies of the bay and estuary needs have
been completed by TPW. All parties contacted by SMRF this
year are willing to work on this issue, clearly understand
the concerns of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge and the coast.
DUCK PAIR AT RIO VISTA DAM
A pair of these ducks has been at Rio Vista Dam for over a
month, in the company of the motley crew of various domestic
ducks that frequent that area. The River Pub & Grille
is a good place to watch these ducks from indoors, if the
weather is too cold to be outside. Wood ducks are not rare
in San Marcos, but still not as common as they are in New
Braunfels on Landa Lake. Ducks Unlimited has placed nest boxes
for ducks on riverside land of SMRF members in the past year.
ON JUDGE'S RULING ON BED & BANKS CASE
Judge Paul Davis of Travis County District Court in Austin
heard the Bed & Banks case Friday, January 19th, and found
plenty of questions for all the lawyers there. For those who
still find this case confusing, here it is in simple form
for all three sides, after many years of hearings and court
dates. This case will have precedent-setting impact on the
of San Marcos claims that it can hold on to its sewage after
it is discharged into the San Marcos River because the sewage
is groundwater originally pumped from the aquifer. (Now we
all know that most of the City water is currently from Lake
Dunlap, but just pretend that all the water comes from the
aquifer, for this purely legal argument about just the aquifer
water the City uses.) The City claims that it can pull out
this "private" water anywhere it wants to downstream,
and it should NOT have to consider any environmental needs
or downstream water rights that have been granted in the past
hundred years while the City has been discharging that water
into the River. Even if the River is so low that aquatic life
is struggling to survive, the City can still pull its water
out, because they think it is theirs alone, not public water
that the state can regulate in any way, even though the City
puts it into the River.
the state department which regulates water discharged into
rivers and pumped out of rivers in order to protect environmental
needs, wildlife, and the people of Texas and their interests,
says that TNRCC has the right to put restrictions on the City's
permit, even though the City's wastewater can be considered
their private water as long as they don't put it into the
river. In other words, TNRCC thinks that the City can reuse
it in any way they want, sell it to whoever they want, as
long as they don't put it in the River. Once the City puts
it in the River, they have to abide by the State's rules for
withdrawing water, which take into consideration environmental
needs and downstream water rights already granted.
SMRF strongly objects to the City's idea that this water they
dump into the River, which is not as good in quality as the
River water, is the City's private water to pull out anywhere
they want, no matter what this does to the River, or aquatic
life, wildlife, or anyone downstream. SMRF encourages re-use
that does not involve discharging into the River, since discharging
waste into the River impairs its oxygen levels, especially
if flows are diminished further by pulling out the sewage
just downstream after it is diluted in the River. For the
City of San Marcos to sue TNRCC to remove the restrictions
that TNRCC put on the City's withdrawal permit (which protect
environmental needs by stopping City pumping when the River
gets down to dangerously low flows) is a terrible and embarrassing
example to set for the rest of the state, and directly opposite
the sentiment among the citizens of San Marcos for their River.
SMRF further objects to the arbitrary treatment received at
the hands of the TNRCC Commissioners during the two year hearing
in that department, in which several aspects of the case were
decided by Commissioners BEFORE the hearing, not allowing
due process of the law, and changing all legal precedents
in previous rulings of the TNRCC for decades. It made the
hearing a weak joke.
has dragged on for so long, over three years now, that the
legal expenses for both SMRF and the City have become astronomical.
The City calls its legal fees "Edwards Aquifer"
expenses in their budget every year, obscuring the real use.
The City Council is not well informed by their staff regarding
their lawyer's statements, and so they do not realize what
their lawyers are doing. The City claims to have saved the
aquifer by fighting the Texas "rule of capture"
of groundwater, but it used this antiquated law to defend
their case in District Court, further confusing the public
and the City Council. But Judge Davis clearly understood.
Toward the end of the January 19 session, he asked the City's
attorney, Bob Wilson of Austin, "Do you mean that even
if it dried up the River, the City has the right to pump?"
Without a second's hesitation, Wilson said, "Yes!"
The ruling by this court should be out soon.
MEETING OF MONITORS
The annual meeting of the Texas Watch Volunteer Monitors,
who test water quality in streams and water bodies all over
Texas, will be in San Marcos on March 30 and 31 this spring.
The San Marcos River Rangers will be one of the many groups
attending, and one of the activities scheduled will be a canoe
trip on the San Marcos River. SMRF members have helped paddle
some of these visitors in the past, so stand ready with paddles
to help, and mark calendars now with this date. Other fascinating
field trips and lectures include, exotic species and fresh
water mussel studies, a trip to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Refuge on McCarty Lane for endangered species, a trip to Bamberger
Ranch, talks about a desalination project on the Gulf Coast,
"Gardening for Clean Water", the aquifer, funding,
and "Cyberways and Waterways". Discounted registration
is due March 7, call Texas Watch in the Geography Dept. at
SWT for rates, which vary according to activity.
AND UNIVERSITY DRIVE INTERSECTION CHANGES
Conflicting reports about whether the widening of this intersection
will bring Sessom's pavement even closer to the River has
led SMRF to measure and survey the existing curb and pavement
distance from the River, just as a precautionary measure.
The Parks Board of the City has voted that a letter be sent
from their board to the City Council, asking that the road
come no closer to the River. SMRF will follow this issue and
also consider sending a letter, if it becomes necessary.
COUNT IN RIVER, CITY POLICY IN NOTIFYING PUBLIC
After the rumors and confusion during this past summer's peak
swimming season, with coliform counts in the thousands for
weeks with no public notification that the River might be
dangerous to swim in, the City has decided to formulate a
policy guideline for the exact numerical counts that would
trigger public notice. In addition, the various City departments
that do River testing have begun to actually tell each other
what the results are, and test on specific different weeks
so that three weeks of the month are covered. There is no
word yet on what coliform counts would trigger public notice,
or what kind of public notice would be done, after how many
repeated tests. SMRF will report on this new policy in the
next newsletter. The state's danger guidelines involve counts
The San Marcos River was flowing at 258 cubic feet per second
(cfs) on January 18, and at 1,500 cfs in Luling because of
a big rainfall the week previous. The Guadalupe River at Tivoli,
near the mouth of the River where it flows into San Antonio
Bay, measured 2,650 cfs on January 18. Quite a difference
from last September, when the River measured around 100 cfs
in San Marcos, and 400 cfs down at the mouth of the River
near Tivoli. Unfortunately, no one wants to water their St.
Augustine at this time of year, when there is plenty of water.
Of course, the San Antonio Bay that this River system feeds
at the Gulf Coast is just now, in mid-January, getting diluted
to the proper salinity for survival of the wildlife there
after two very damaging dry years, so the fresh water is not
exactly wasted by letting it go to the bays and estuaries.
BOARD MEETS AT AQUARENA HOTEL
Just before the hotel closed in September 2000, SMRF met on
the deck of the historic building, enjoying the beautiful
surroundings during their meeting. Some members stayed till
after dark to watch the albino catfish swimming in the lake
in the moonlight. The hotel is now closed for remodeling,
and will become offices for the new Texas Rivers Center at
San Marcos Springs, built by Texas Parks & Wildlife, and
operated by Southwest Texas State University.
INDUSTRIAL WATER ISSUES DRAWING ATTENTION FROM SAN MARCOS
Reports that AMD is considering San Marcos as the site of
their very large new chip-making plant have resulted in plans
for several public forums to discuss the impacts of AMD on
the current residents. As of this newsletter's writing, a
firm date has not been set for any forum, but SMRF members
should be closely watching the local papers for dates. Water,
of course, is one of the main issues that must be considered
in such a large expansion of San Marcos population and industrial
base. Depending on how many units are built, 1,000 to 2,000
employees will be hired, and the job skills needed will mean
that many of these jobs will be filled by people not currently
residing in San Marcos. Water needs could use all of the amount
San Marcos currently has the rights to.
is at least one company that has proposed contracting with
AMD to treat all of AMD's water and discharged water for re-use
by AMD. If AMD decided to make this happen it would solve
many of the industrial water and wastewater related problems.
AMD could just keep using the same water, and San Marcos would
not have to go looking for so much more water. Water is getting
increasingly expensive and scarce, and those who truly understand
the shortages in the region see no reason that potable drinking
water should ever be used for industrial uses. In fact, studies
by A&M last year found that wastewater was actually better
for steel cooling towers than fresh aquifer water, causing
easily solved is the fact that a sudden leap in numbers of
San Marcos residents would require infrastructure investments
(like roads, sewer lines, water lines) while large tax breaks
typically given to industries to lure them to a city would
mean that the industry would not help pay for these costs.
Other issues that will be discussed (hopefully before the
City Council offers an incentive package of tax breaks to
AMD) include air quality damage by many solvents used in chip
making. The City's Master Plan has stated for years that water
and environmental issues are to be considered in drawing any
industry to San Marcos Most citizens expect the City Council
will use that qualifier as it considers tax breaks for AMD,
since the Master Plan is a City ordinance, prepared with input
from the citizens of San Marcos.
ALCOHOL BAN CONSIDERED FOR PARK SYSTEM
Because drinking by groups in City riverside parks has become
a problem, along with the trash generated, the subject of
an alcohol ban in the parks has come up. SMRF plans to invite
local law enforcement officials to a meeting to inform the
SMRF Board about the pros and cons of a ban. There is currently
a ban on alcohol in the Childrens Playscape Park, but since
that park is not fenced off, and the boundaries are not distinct,
the ban is unenforceable. To add to the mix, New Braunfels
recently banned alcohol in their riverside parks and many
of the problem drinkers were college students from San Marcos,
according to the list of ticketed violations. So local officials
are concerned about what this summer will bring to the San
Marcos River, if alcohol is allowed here. There are many who
insist on alcohol as part of their park experience, so permits
for a group to have alcohol at an event in the park, in designated
areas like the pavilions, would be available through the Parks
Department (in one suggested solution to that concern). Further
legal research is being done on the New Braunfels alcohol
ban, and continued discussion will be done at civic group
and City board meetings this spring. Please watch for public
meetings announced in the local papers on this topic, and
attend to give input and ask questions.
NEWS FROM EVERY DIRECTION ON WATER ISSUES
Before Governor Bush left Texas, his Conservation Task Force
printed up a final report of recommendations, and much of
their advice on water reads like a dream come true! If the
Legislature follows this advice, Texas rivers will continue
to flow and environmental needs of even the bays and estuaries
on the coast will be met. Preserving green space in Texas
was also listed as a priority, though this Task Force thought
that conservation easements, leaving the land in the hands
of landowners, was the way to go.
two entities critiqued the Regional Water Plans just finished
up all over Texas this fall, and these critiques were excellent.
Andy Sansom, head of Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW), came
out strongly for the need to preserve some stretches of Texas
streams as ecologically unique, which the regional planners
had not had the foresight to accomplish. He also spoke out
for the instream flow needs of rivers and streams, and freshwater
needs of bays and estuaries, which the regional groups did
not put into their plans for future water needs (except for
Galveston Bay). TPW's recent studies that showed Texans care
very much about water and worry about environmental needs
must have had an impact on his willingness to speak up in
the face of much criticism of his stand.
critique of Regional Water Plans that was excellent news for
the environment came from the National Wildlife Federation.
Myron Hess, their Texas staff member, wrote the critique,
which is thoughtful and detailed. See it on their website
at www.nwf.org and the San Marcos River is in region is Region
L. Region K also has projects in its plan that will take Colorado
River water and feed it to San Antonio, so that Region's plan
is worth researching as well.
SIGNING UP AS AN ADOPTER OF A STRETCH OF THE SAN MARCOS RIVER!
To see a contract, call 393-8448. This program is a cooperative
effort between SMRF and the City of San Marcos Parks Department.
The City handles contracts for sites inside the City, but
sites outside the City can be adopted by calling 393-3787.