Bill Bunch, of Save Our Springs Alliance, has assisted SMRF in so many ways over the past 29 years that he especially deserves this award. He was key in our defense of the river for many years in the 1990’s that we call the Wastewater Wars, helping us get the City, Gary Job Corps and the state fish hatchery to clean up their poor quality wastewater discharges into the river. Bill, as you may NOT have known at the time, was key in helping the Jacob’s Well folks preserve that precious spring in Wimberley. Jacob’s Well ended up as a county park, and large swaths of old rotting flooded town-homes are being torn down around that spring now.
Bill also helped found GEAA, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, getting many people from the Edwards region together to agree on a white paper on how to protect the aquifer. He’s been our advisor on so many of our efforts to keep this river clean over the past three decades, so during our first foray into land conservation, SMRF turned to Bill for his incredible knowledge and support. Conserving land was a key point everyone agreed on in the GEAA white paper and Bill found a realtor who knew how to manage such a conservation purchase, and then found a loan from The Conservation Fund, a wonderful national group based in Arlington, Virginia with a Texas office in Austin. Above all, Bill convinced Kirk Mitchell that SMRF’s land purchase would be a significant step in preserving the area’s watershed and Kirk helped us qualify for the loan by guaranteeing part of it. All of this happened because of Bill bunch’s invaluable and essential advice and this purchase is yet another step to ensure that our river remains clear and flowing in the future.