State Representative Patrick M. Rose (D-Dripping Springs) and Texas State leaders announced the San Marcos River Observing System project at the Rivers Systems Institute today.
Rose and State Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) secured a $1 million appropriation for the institute during the 2009 legislative session. Other partners in the San Marcos River Observing System project include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service.
“Implementing a long-term plan to guarantee the sustainability of the San Marcos River basin is one of the most important investments our state can make today,” Rose said. “I am pleased to partner with Texas State in support of research that will further the environmental quality and economic security of our region. As Texans across our state are living with the realities of a drought, it is clear that we must plan for the future.”
Said Texas State President Denise Trauth, “When Rep. Rose and Texas State partner at the Legislature, things get done. An investment of this size and for this project could not be better timed. By working with Rep. Rose, we have been able to position our university as an international leader on these important water sustainability issues.”
Rose said rapid growth in Central Texas has heightened the need for understanding and effectively managing the water resources at San Marcos Springs, Spring Lake and the San Marcos River. The San Marcos River Observing System project will develop a comprehensive monitoring program to enhance the future sustainability of the basin.
“This project will allow us to design a long-term monitoring program for surface water and ground water affecting the river basin,” said Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Rivers Systems Institute. “In Austin, I witnessed Rep. Rose successfully educate his colleagues in the Legislature about the importance of and need for our funding request. Rep. Rose understands that for Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and other communities along the IH-35 corridor to thrive, we must be strategic about this important resource and that is what this project will help us do.”
The institute’s mission is to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The San Marcos River’s headwaters emerge from the Edwards Aquifer into Spring Lake on the Texas State campus, uniquely positioning the institute for its work.
The institute has recruited Dr. Thomas Hardy, an internationally recognized leader in ecohydraulics and river system modeling, who will be join the Texas State faculty in August to work on the San Marcos River Observing System project.
“It is such an exciting time to be joining Texas State,” said Hardy, who will be a research biology professor and chief science officer of the River Systems Institute. “This project will gather important data about the effects of surface and groundwater emissions on the quality of water in the aquifer and river.”
Said Rose, “I know that under the leadership of Dr. Hardy and Andy, the institute will provide critical support to the work of the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, ensuring that our water supply is protected for generations to come.”