San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 20th, 2010
City, university sign pact to develop upper river watershed protection plan

Editor and Publisher

Hays County, the city of San Marcos and Texas State University have agreed to work to draft a watershed protection plan for the Upper San Marcos River, a project that encompasses Sink, Sessom, Willow and Purgatory creeks.

The project area surrounds the headwaters of the San Marcos River at Spring Lake and 251 acres of greenspace purchased by the city of San Marcos in 2007. The county contributed $700,000 in 2001 parks bond money to the land acquisition along with San Marcos voter-approved funds and private contributions.

The effort may eventually yield plans to buy other environmentally sensitive properties in the watershed, said Eric Mendelman, program manager of Texas State University’s Texas Rivers Institute.

“There are really no other institutions that can have a stronger impact, both beneficial and harmful, on the fate of the second largest artesian spring west of the Mississippi, inhabited continuously by humans for 12,000 years and the home to nine endangered species,” Mendelman told commissioners court on Tuesday. “Growth is inevitable. Destruction of our natural resources need not be. Together we can nurture what you might call a sacred mission — to warranty the abundant, crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River for years to come.”

In an interview after the court accepted a memorandum of understanding outlining the effort, Mendelman described plans as general in nature. He said stakeholders can consider a range of recommendations from education to strengthened development regulations.

“Watershed protection plans are as diverse as the stakeholder groups that put them together. I’m not going to say specifically what may bin this plan. That will be determined by the group as we go forward,” Mendelman said.

He declined to discuss specific properties that may be under consideration for purchase.

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