The San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1985 during the Sesquicentennial celebration for the community by a small group of San Marcos citizens with a mission to preserve and protect the flow, natural beauty and purity of the San Marcos River.

San Marcos River Foundation Newsletter- Vol. 9, No. 1
Printed Quarterly on Recycled Paper - January 10, 1999


Date: Friday, January 29, 1999
Time: 6 p.m. Refreshments and Video, followed by Meeting 6:30-7:30 p.m
Place: San Marcos Public Library, large meeting room left of entrance

Financial Report
Review of '97 Activities
Election of Board Members
Discussion of Direction for '98


The annual Membership Meeting gives members the opportunity to elect new Board members and give direction to the Board for the coming year. The nominating committee members---Board President Dianne Wassenich, Board Secretary Jo Ellen Korthals, and Board Treasurer Kay Moore, have nominated a slate of three to fill the three positions open this year.
Jo Ellen and Kay have each served two consecutive terms, which is all that is allowed by SMRF bylaws, and so they are retiring to the sound of much applause, in gratitude for their hard work for the River. We hope to continue to see them at SMRF meetings and events in coming years---they have helped to build a strong and successful organization, and can be proud of their valuable contributions to its growth during their terms.

See the article on page 2 for photos, names, and short bios of the board nominees. Additional nominations that members wish to make as alternatives to these three candidates can be made in writing to Secretary Jo Ellen Korthals' attention. (Mailing address on back of newsletter.) 10% of the River Foundation's membership must endorse a written nomination. Another way of nominating an alternative candidate is to attend the annual Membership Meeting on January 29, and nominate someone from the floor when the President calls for any additional nominations. This kind of floor nomination must have 25% of the members in attendance to endorse the nomination. These nominating procedures are in the River Foundation's bylaws.

Before the election, which usually takes just a few minutes, the gathering also offers an opportunity to meet and visit with the many people involved in the Foundation's work. Refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. and the GBRA video will be shown for those who wish to see an aerial view of the flooding of October 17. The meeting will follow, running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors are always very welcome. This Annual Membership Meeting is always a good party, because it is just fun to be around the kind of people who care about the River and its future.

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Mark your calendars for next year, noon, New Year's Day. What an invigorating way to start the year, and the millenium, at the headwaters of the River! The hardy souls who jumped into the river at the University Drive Bridge had a great time. About 25 people showed up, and about 15 jumped in. Most spent a minimum of time in the water, but stayed to visit for a while on the bank after the plunge, dripping dry and wrapped in towels and jackets. A pot of black eyed peas from J.P. Fancher was shared, fizzy toasts were made, and then everyone went home. The party was short but fun. Luckily, it was not very cold, but if it is next year, just wear a wet suit. Actually, the constant temperature of the River makes it a very pleasant experience, and one that the River Foundation members hope to repeat every year, as long as there is a River to plunge into. Now that will give us something to work for! The best part about the plunge was that it was a River Foundation event that was totally just for fun! (See series of plunge photos on the back page, taken by Linda Keese.)


Kathryn Chaney has been nominated to run for a second term on the River Foundation board. She is a retired schoolteacher, as is her husband Leo, and they moved from Houston 4 years ago. They have a new business remanufacturing laser printer cartridges, Texas Laser Line. Kathryn's interest in the River stems from her growing up on the River. In her first term, she was active in all the River Foundation tasks that help it run efficiently, including River Awareness Month events, River cleanups, filing, writing thank you notes, helping with mailings, co-chairing the Adopt-a-River program, and helping cater special events. Her knowledge of Quickbooks on the computer may come in handy in the coming three years of this second term she is nominated for, since the current Treasurer, Kay Moore, is retiring from the Board, having served the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by the bylaws.
The two new board nominees are Dana Ray and Therese Kosary-Whalen, and their photos are included on this page. Dana and her husband Lex moved to San Marcos in 1995 when he retired from the space industry. They own their own business here, Schematics Graphics Systems, which makes signage for the food service industry. Dana teaches English as a second language in Seguin at Texas Lutheran College, and taught ESL at SWT for the first two years they lived in San Marcos. She is very interested in environmental issues, and has attended River Foundation meetings and events like River cleanups since moving into San Marcos.

Therese Kosary-Whalen is a speech therapist for the public school system, and formerly taught speech-language in the Communications Disorders Department at SWT. A San Marcan since 1979, she has a "deep and profound love" for the River, she says. She definitely swims more often in the River than anyone we know, even in the winter. In fact, she has been plunging into the River on New Year's Day for years. She and her husband Mike Whalen own a home on the River near Martindale, and he is a hunting guide.


SMRF members will be serving lunch at the Cottage Kitchen at the intersection of C. M. Allen and Hopkins from 11-1, on Friday, Feb. 5. The full meal and beverage with dessert is only $5.00, and lunch-to-go is also an option. The menu will be Italian, with turkey sausage, onions, red and green bell peppers in a marinara sauce on polenta, salad, garlic bread, and homebaked desserts. There will also be a vegetarian version. This luncheon will benefit the Heritage Association, which is the single largest contributor to the River Foundation's endowment fund (to the tune of about $30,000 in the past 12 years). SMRF members will gather to cook, chop, and assemble on the day before the luncheon, and more members will be needed to serve. Call Dianne Wassenich at 512-393-3787 to volunteer to help. Or just come to eat, and bring all your friends and coworkers!


The annual huge spring river cleanup is scheduled a week early this year, and the job is bigger than ever because of the flood. Mark your calendars for February 27, Saturday, 10 a.m., and meet at City Park for assignments and canoes. Bank walkers are also needed, since so much debris is caught in trees. Bring a hoe or rake, or home-made stabbing tool to help retrieve trash from places you can't reach. Work a few hours or all day, whatever your body can take. If you have a large group, like a class or Scout troop, that wants to help, just call Organizer Tom Goynes at 392-6171 to find a spot that needs help. If you are part of an Adopt-a-River group, be sure to let him know that you are covering your assigned section that day. All workers are invited to a barbecue dinner at 6 p.m. at Shady Grove Campground in Martindale after the cleanup. Canoes are provided by TG Canoes and Spencer Canoes for people who help clean. Canoe clubs come from all over Texas for this event, and always wonder why so few locals show up to help, so let's change that this year. The River water is more clear and beautiful than ever--- let's clean it up so you can appreciate the beauty without the trash interfering with the view.

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TNRCC has just granted a request by Texas Parks & Wildlife to allow their fish hatchery to build a treatment plant for its wastewater, before the permit hearing is settled, since their budget requires them to spend this money now. It is very unusual to build a plant before getting a permit, but SMRF is not objecting, since the waste so desperately needs to be treated. We have asked that they build a plant that can be added to, so that after we win tighter restrictions on the fish hatchery wastewater permit, that restrictive permit can be met by adding a simple unit to the plant to take out more of the suspended solids. SMRF is holding out for a permit that is at least as restrictive as the City's sewage discharge permit, and wants the fish hatchery to discharge only as much volume as the computer model shows that the River can handle, which is approximately half of their current volume. This will require them to reuse some of their water, and thus draw less from the River.

The City's Bed & Banks permit, seeking River water for their drinking water in exchange for treated wastewater discharged into the River from the City sewer plant a mile or so upstream, is in the final stages of the three year hearing process. The final briefs were filed January 8. Now everyone waits for the hearing judge's decision. SMRF was appalled to see that the City brief requests permission to pump down the River to the level of 46 cubic feet per second. This is half as much as the lowest level the River fell to during the '96 drought, for a comparison most can understand. Truly a trickle, not a river! And a much worse stance than most thought the City would ever take. The good news is that TNRCC and the Public Interest Counsel agreed on several points with SMRF in their final briefs, so even if the permit is granted, at least the very worst and most irresponsible things the City wanted to do will not be allowed. Several small victories have already occurred during the hearing, that mean the City will have its hands tied to a certain extent. That may be all SMRF can hope for, in a state permit hearing when Texas river protection laws are so weak and unenforced. Of course there is still hope that as more of the Council and City staff retire and are replaced, more sensible decisions will be made in future years, and the wastewater will be used in more productive ways that will avoid harming the River. Lessons can be learned from New Braunfels and Comfort, who understand that their rivers have great economic potential as tourist attractions, and that clean flowing rivers are a quality of life issue also.

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