Melani Howard has long been caring for the river as the City of San Marcos Watershed Protection Manager. These last few years, her job has really intensified with the many complicated projects underway that are part of the Habitat Conservation Plan.
2012 presented a number of difficult tasks for her. She had to estimate costs and organize the very unusual contracts that will begin this year, to protect wild rice and improve its habitat in the river, along with many other facets of the HCP. She also trained and supervised the first team of educational Conservation Crew members this past summer to talk to river users about how to protect wild rice, and why. That turned out to be a great program, very well received by the public, and it will be continued. Her professional manner and excellent organizing skills will mean that San Marcos and Texas State will be able to live up to all the tasks that are mandated in the HCP to care for the river, including the removal of invasive fish and snails, cleaning out trash, removing invasive plant species in and along the river –as well as silt, to plant wild rice, increase the density and width of the riparian vegetation and much, much more. These tasks have to be accomplished if the HCP agreement to keep the springs flowing is going to be honored by all those in the region who are partners in the HCP.
Melani has lived here for 24 years, worked for the city and university 17 years. She obtained a master’s in aquatic biology at Southwest Texas State and worked for the USFWS prior to being hired by city and university. She has also served in the Air Force Reserves for 26 years, and was recently promoted to Colonel. She has devoted herself to taking care of this river.