SAN MARCOS RIVER FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Vol. 15, No.4 Printed Quarterly on Recycled Paper
October 30, 2005
WEEK, WED. NOV. 2 AT TACO CABANA!
annual benefit at Taco Cabana is Wednesday November 2, and
everyone is invited. No tickets to buy, just come any time
between 5 and 9 p.m. that you would like to eat or drink.
When ordering, just drop the receipt in the fish bowl by the
cash register. Even take-out orders can benefit SMRF; just
remember to come inside and drop receipts in the fish bowl.
Last year SMRF members filled the Cabana all evening! Maybe
Wednesday night the weather will be warm enough to fill the
patio too. The Taco Cabana menu is varied. The enchiladas
and salsas are excellent, but their roasted chicken is great
too and not spicy at all. SMRF is grateful to Taco Cabana
for giving us 20% of all the purchases of food and drinks.
Thanks to all who plan to dine there Nov. 2---write this date
on your calendar today. Taco Cabana is located on Long Street,
which connects IH 35 and Hopkins/Hwy.80, behind Wendy’s.
We’ll see you there Wednesday night this week!
SPONSORS FALL NEWSLETTER
the many community service projects that Grande Communications
is known for in San Marcos, they are sponsoring the printing
and mailing of the fall SMRF newsletter! (Note that this newsletter
marks SMRF’s fifteenth full year of publishing a quarterly
account of river news and events.) FYI, Grande Communications
offers high-speed internet, local and long-distance telephone,
digital cable television and wireless home security services
over its own advanced broadband network to homes and businesses,
all on one bill. As an example of their community service,
below is the team of Grande staff participating in the San
Marcos Education Foundation’s recent Rattler Roundup
(benefitting schools) in the riverside City Park. Thanks Grande,
for being such a good neighbor, and for caring about the San
Marcos River too!
CHILI COOKS AT A BENEFIT FOR SAN MARCOS SCHOOLS IN OCTOBER
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HAS A FALL FLING, SAT. NOV. 5
Center invites the community to come over for a stroll on
the grounds, a tour of the aquarium, a glass-bottom boat ride
for only $2, plus lots of exhibits to view, all day on Saturday,
November 5. This Fall Fling event is an annual one and many
children and families attend. As always, admission is free
at Aquarena Center. The boardwalk and its exhibits are also
one of the unique and interesting things to see at Aquarena,
enabling people to walk out over the slough and enjoy seeing
turtles, fish and many different birds. All exhibits are free
and open to the public as part of Aquarena’s educational
service to the community, every day. In the gift shop is a
tiny model of the interior exhibit space planned for the remodeled
hotel, soon to be the Texas Rivers Center at San Marcos Springs.
The hotel building is looking lovely these days, with tasteful
color choices on the exterior, and is near completion.
ON AQUARENA CENTER GRANT
the spending of the $30,000 educational grant from Texas Parks
& Wildlife this summer, which provided transportation
and other expenses for about 2,000 schoolchildren and teachers
to experience a water education field trip to Aquarena Center.
Thanks to Texas Parks & Wildlife for this great educational
opportunity, and to Jane Moore, the grant coordinator and
scheduler of all those 2,000 students and teachers. Also thanks
to the staff at Aquarena, including Ron Coley the general
manager, and the countless volunteers who helped this year-long
project make water education a reality for the many underserved
school districts in this area. We’re proud to be a part
of the good work Aquarena Center is doing to educate the public
about the aquifer, water quality, endangered species, wildlife,
groundwater, rivers, and bays too.
the long awaited date arrived October 13, when Judge Covington
of Travis County’s 261st District Court convened a preliminary
hearing to consider SMRF’s appeal of the TCEQ Commissioners’
denial of our water right application at their March 2003
meeting. (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the
state agency that grants water rights, allowing individuals
or water suppliers to develop and sell the state’s water.)
for an instream water right in July 2000 for sufficient water
to maintain a healthy flow in the San Marcos River, as well
as flows continuing downstream to San Antonio Bay and its
estuaries. To name the needed amount accurately we used the
thirty years of scientific studies done with millions of dollars
set aside by the Legislature, and completed in 1998 by the
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Water
applications to SMRF’s were later done by Caddo Lake
Institute, Matagorda Bay Foundation, and Galveston Bay Foundation/Galveston
Bay Preservation and Conservation Association to preserve
their river and bay systems. Since their applications were
also denied, they have also filed appeals in the same court.
of the Oct. hearing was to get agreements between the Judge
and the attorneys representing the
groups on the procedures for going forward with the cases
and setting dates for the necessary legal steps.
set January 30 as the date to consider issues common to all
also gave parties who wish to intervene in the case two weeks
to request that. San Antonio Water System and Guadalupe Blanco
River Authority, and “every water hustler in Texas”
are expected to intervene against SMRF, according to SMRF’s
attorney Stuart Henry. Other groups may choose to intervene
on SMRF’s side, or submit amicus briefs.
action is the most ambitious and important effort SMRF has
initiated thus far to protect our river. We are all looking
forward to seeing it through to a successful conclusion. As
our attorney said when we first disclosed our idea of applying
for a water right to him, “This is a legacy case!”
Fairchild, President, SMRF Board of Directors
MARCANS PONDER PARKLAND NOV. 8
November 8th is a City of San Marcos Election Day. City Proposition
1, to purchase the land above Spring Lake, is among several
items on the ballot. San Marcos citizens will vote on whether
the City should purchase this land for a City park, to protect
water quality of Spring Lake and the river. Much of the 251acres
is on the recharge zone, so keeping the land undeveloped would
also protect the aquifer, which affects city’s drinking
water wells. This land was the controversial proposed site
of a conference center/hotel. That center is now planned for
the McCarty Lane and IH 35 area, a spot that already has the
roads and wastewater and water lines in place to serve such
a large project.
Board approved a resolution supporting the purchase of this
natural area above Spring Lake, which branches all the way
to Oak Ridge Drive near N. LBJ, and even over to Lime Kiln
Road, encompassing Sink Creek as well. Hays County has already
voted to give $700,000 to the City from their County Parks
Bond Fund approved by voters several years ago. The County
has purchased park land all over the county, in a carefully
balanced way between the four county commissioners’
districts, and has quadrupled the Parks Bond Fund with grants
from outside sources to make these purchases and improve the
parks. The City hopes to do the same with this Spring Lake
land purchase, and the park will be City-owned and managed,
Nature Conservancy is handling the negotiations and appraisals
for the City, since this land. is on their list of critically
important areas for water quality protection in Texas. For
information about how park land can benefit a community economically,
ecologically and health-wise, please look at the excellent
“Benefits” page on the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance’s
website www.smgreenbelt.org .
can read about the several bond propositions in the Voters
Guide published by the League of Women Voters, available at
the Public Library and the Hays County Elections Office. The
City also mailed a letter about the bond propositions to the
community, with a simple instruction sheet about the new voting
machines that will be used in this election for the first
time. Early voting will go on until Nov. 4, call 393-7310
(County Elections Office) for more information on locations
and times, or for Election Day voting locations. City Hall
is open for Early Voting 8-5 weekdays until Nov. 4.
COME TO SAN MARCOS
13 at 9 a.m., swimmers will congregate from all over central
Texas to swim non-competitively in the San Marcos River. The
swim will start in Rio Vista Park and fins are recommended.
It is free and open to everyone, just for fun. They will swim
upstream against the current, from Rio Vista Dam to City Park
and then regroup and swim rapidly downstream to return to
the dam. People do rest along the way upstream, or even stop
and catch the rest of the stronger swimmers as they return.
Some who want an easier workout just start at City Park by
the Tube Rental later, when the swimmers gather to head downstream.
It is fun to watch too.
to see if the date on your mailing label on the front of this
newsletter is accurate. This date notes the last date a donation
or dues were received, so please let
if the date is incorrect. (353-4628 SMRF office). Lifetime
members of SMRF may ignore this reminder on the label.
CRYPTO REMOVAL PROJECT BEGINNING
November 17, 7 p.m., SMRF is hosting a public meeting at the
Price Center to allow the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
an opportunity to talk about the big Cryptocorynae (or water
trumpet) removal project starting in about a month. The Crypto
plant, as most call it, is from Sri Lanka and is quite an
invasive problem for the river, probably introduced by a dumped
aquarium. Worst of all, crypto likes the exact same conditions
that Texas Wild Rice does, so it could easily crowd out the
endangered wild rice if floods washed it into the areas where
wild rice currently grows. Right now, Crypto is blanketing
areas of the river bottom between the City wastewater plant
and the confluence of the Blanco and San Marcos rivers. Blanco
floods can push water upstream into the San Marcos River.
test Crypto project that many SMRF volunteers were involved
in years ago has helped USFWS plan a much bigger project funded
by federal grants. An underwater vacuuming-type device will
suck up the plants and their roots, with some gravel and silt,
and send it to a big bag made of a fine mesh, located up high
on the ground away from the river. The water will filter out
slowly and with minimal clouding of the river. Their plans
include ways to alert canoers of the operation so they won’t
be too surprised to see the forklift on the bank holding the
huge suction tubes and pump high up in the air.
Nov. 17 public meeting, there will be samples of the plant
available, and a chance to ask questions and learn about the
interesting project. Please put it on your calendars today.
This effort to protect the wild rice is vital to the river.
Without the endangered wild rice and endangered fish found
in the river, the river would very likely not be flowing today.
Pumping from the aquifer is regulated mainly to protect these
fish and plants, listed as endangered under federal law. Without
regulation of pumping from the aquifer, the San Marcos Springs
and River will not flow in the future. Call 353-4628 for directions
or other questions.
DONATE MORE COMPOST
intern Stephen Coley, pictured below, helped SMRF put compost
on the Price Center gardens in June and July, allowing a great
flower show with less water required. Another volunteer, Wes
Johnson, just put two more truckloads on the gardens in October.
TDS and Gardenville generously donated some of the organic
materials and soil conditioners to the Price Center. SMRF
volunteers work at the Price Center on the building and grounds
to pay the SMRF office rent, so volunteer gardeners are always
welcome. This month, Irene Hoadley donated about 20 pots of
perennial xeriscape blooming plants. Those who have divisions
or seedlings of such plants can call the SMRF office to donate
them, 353-4628. Low water use is the main feature SMRF is
looking for in the plants chosen, plus blooms. A small masonry
repair to the garden wall is also needed, if there is any
volunteer with that skill.
NOW RECYCLE INK CARTRIDGES FOR SMRF
a new recycling service that will pay for ink cartridges from
printers of all kinds, as a fundraiser for SMRF. This will
be used to help match the $10,000 Mitchell grant that SMRF
just received. (see page 5). The company that pays for the
ink cartridges will also recycle cell phones, laptop computers
and PDA’s. For a complete list of the items they take
and the prices they will pay SMRF, you can go to www.cartridgesforkids.com
or you can just drop the cartridges by the SMRF office and
let us worry about it. The company will handle the cartridges
in a safe manner environmentally even if they are not able
to pay SMRF for some non-recyclable items. Please start a
recycling box at work for such items, and get your friends
and family to save them for you. This is a way to help SMRF
and keep harmful materials out of the landfill. Bring items
to SMRF events to turn in (like the Taco Cabana benefit Nov.
2). Our local representative of the recycling company will
box and ship them for us once a month or so. This company
started out doing schools, so that is why their name is Cartridges
for Kids. Our local rep, Jane Moore of Maxwell, is also an
accomplished grant writer, having worked with us on the Aquarena
SHARE OF TEXAS
One Simple Way To Care For It.
of San Marcos recently held their fall kickoff campaign for
Earth Share of Texas and United Way, which both receive generous
payroll contributions from City employees. Below is the photo
taken that day, of city employees and the banners on the steps
of City Hall.
been invited to speak at many businesses and government offices
in San Antonio and Austin this fall, and worked several booths
where information is passed out to employees who requested
Earth Share’s presence. Earth Share of Texas represents
SMRF and 70 other environmental groups in workplace payroll
contribution plans throughout Texas. For more information
on how you can support SMRF and other leading environmental
groups at your workplace, call 1-800-GREENTX, visit www.earthshare-texas.org,
or come by the SMRF office for an Earth Share brochure. State
and federal employees, including Texas State University employees
have the Earth Share option in their payroll contribution
plans, as do many businesses all over Texas.
birding trail that connects with the wider, stroller and wheelchair-accessible
trail in Schulle Canyon is finished by Greenbelt Alliance
volunteers. A dedication of the trails was held in September
in the 16-acre greenspace. The natural birding trail, which
is a location noted on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Central
Texas birding map, can be found by turning on Joshua Street
from Holland Street in San Marcos. Drive past the Lutheran
Church parking lot and park at the dead end of Joshua. It
winds through the woods and past an old barn that is often
a nesting site for vultures. (Do not disturb them if they
are still there.) There are all kindsof migrating birds coming
through San Marcos now, and this location is also a great
one for butterflies. The native vegetation of the woods of
Schulle Canyon is a delight for birds, butterflies, and hikers
Schulle Canyon wheelchair and baby stroller accessible trail
is flat and smooth. It is also good for evening strolls, or
fast walks for exercise, and is entered by turning on Alamo
Street off Holland, and driving to the dead end of Alamo.
A kiosk and trail entrance is obvious there. This trail was
built by the City with grant funding from Texas Parks &
exciting local birding news, the elusive Ringed Kingfisher
was seen again this fall at Spring Lake’s slough from
the boardwalk, and along the river. Some birders even saw
the Ringed and Belted flying near each other, which made it
very easy to judge the enormous size of the Ringed. If you
haven’t been to the boardwalk at Aquarena, try it out
soon during this great fall weather. See osprey, hawks, egrets,
a San Marcos birding check list from the Master Naturalists,
send $1.00 by mail to Winifred Simon, P. O. Box 398, Wimberley,
TX 78676. The Aquarena gift shop also has them for sale.
& TOM THUMB GROCERIES
stores have Remarkable Cards to offer good discounts as you
check out. Be sure to get SMRF down on your card as the charity
of your choice if you use one of these cards, or if you know
any family member or friend who does, even in other cities.
Spread the word! SMRF’s code number is 1808 for the
Remarkable Cards. Ask at the checkout counter about this fundraiser
and how to get a Remarkable Card. It’s easy and free.
DAM MAY GENERATE AGAIN
of the old cotton gin and the Martindale Dam, David Long,
has applied for a federal permit to use the hydroelectric
generator at the dam. He contacted U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to be sure
that he was meeting all their requirements, and he has agreed
to only generate when the flows are sufficient to always keep
water flowing over the dam. He pledged to keep records for
those two agencies on river flows when the river gets down
to 100 cfs, and NEVER surge generate.
generation by previous dam owners had the locals up in arms
years ago, because raising and lowering gates at the dam caused
the river to rise and fall every day, and cut off most of
the flow of the river for many hours each day. Raising and
lowering the level of the dam caused trees to loosen on the
river banks, and fall into the river. Erosion and interruption
of the river flows were a problem for riverside landowners,
who objected strenuously back then.
Long says he wants to get along with his neighbors, and is
trying to do this project correctly, and without damage. He
provided his email address, email@example.com, so that people
can email him their questions about the project. He hopes
that enough electricity can be generated to make the repair
expenses of the equipment financially feasible. He has done
some work to repair the old building, but has not yet worked
on the generating equipment. He says the former owner took
out the main gate in the dam when he left years ago, in a
fit of anger over the objections to his surge generating.
It will not be easy to replace that gate.
and Jan Smith, who lived in Martindale for many years and
now live in San Marcos, lost their daughter Keri Nebgen in
a car accident. Keri is survived by her husband and two small
sons. She and her family lived in Jacksboro, near Fort Worth.
Memorials in honor of Keri from several of the Smiths’
friends from the San Marcos and Martindale area have come
to SMRF, and a tree planting will be done by the river when
the time is right for the family. SMRF takes memorials as
a serious symbol of trust placed in the organization, to make
sure that the work to preserve the river goes on beyond our
lifetimes. Memorials make us work even harder for future generations.
Our heart-felt sympathy goes out to Keri’s family at
this very sad time for them.
to get an idea of what SMRF plans for its revamped and updated
website format. The Greenbelt Alliance has an annual photo
contest with pictures taken in San Marcos parks. The river
photos from this year’s contest are particularly wonderful
in their photo gallery, so take the time to view those at
their website. Josiesque Designs, a San Marcos Chamber member,
is working on SMRF’s site, adding a new calendar feature
and a way to pay dues by credit card via Paypal. SMRF Board
member John Tolbert is busy taking photos of the river to
use in the new format. Our new website that will be completed
December 15, so check it out then.
TO GENEROUS DONORS
honored to receive a $10,000 grant recently from George Mitchell
of The Woodlands, who is generously helping the many aquifer
and water protection groups in central Texas grow and work
together in the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance. The amount
needs to be matched, so SMRF is planning lots of fundraising
events and projects to meet that goal. Any donations to SMRF
in the next three months can be doubled with this matching
and Martha Hixon of San Antonio donated to the Greater Edwards
Aquifer Alliance in response to a mailing from the Alliance,
and also enclosed an extra $500 check for SMRF because they
admired our work on preserving instream flows in Texas Rivers.
Steve already had a lifetime membership, so now Martha has
one too. We appreciate their kind words and donations!
generous couple, Anne and John Olden of Houston, donated $300
recently, in addition to the many volunteer days they have
put in for SMRF at the Price Center and on the hyacinth project.
They helped with our annual party last year too, donating
several CD’s of their favorite “river” music
for the silent auction.
also to Grande Communications which covered the cost of printing
and mailing this newsletter, mentioned on the front page.
And thanks to Purgatory Creek Chili Pod which donated $500
to SMRF from their annual July benefit cookoff at Shorty Grumbles’
place at Staples Dam on the river. See their photo on the
back page, handing over the donation.
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monthly volunteer workdays on Spring Lake, to remove water
hyacinth, an invasive exotic floating plant, have been well
organized by Minnette Marr. She is a botanist hired by the
University to assist with volunteer coordination, and also
worked with the City on a grant to remove elephant ears and
plant native plants along the lake and slough. Minette has
been hired away from San Marcos by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower
Center, and we wish her well in her new job.
to continue the hyacinth workdays, but November and December
have holidays around the fourth Saturdays, which SMRF traditionally
uses for hyacinth volunteer days. We will probably not work
on those weekends, since so many people travel during the
holidays. Watch the weekly email updates for the next date
of a hyacinth volunteer day, which is a great excuse for a
morning on the lake. If you really want to work through the
holidays, let us know and we’ll arrange it. SMRF office:
PLANNING BEGINS NOW
annual SMRF membership party and silent auction in late January
will be extra special this year. Already, items for the silent
auction are being gathered. If you have an idea for the silent
auction, please call the SMRF office, 353-4628. Anything from
baked goods to artwork to fishing trips is great, and any
business that wishes to donate items is appreciated. There
were many donations last year, but this year will be even
bigger. SMRF will publish a list of those items in the January
newsletter, list them in the newspaper, and even put them
up on the website around January 1 for email bidding by members
and friends of SMRF all over Texas. Final bidding will happen
at the party. If you would like to help gather silent auction
items, please call and volunteer a couple of hours. To be
a really fine event, it will take everyone pitching in to
help put on the party and silent auction.
TO OUR LONG TIME WEBMASTER
thank you is in order for volunteer Mark Kosary of San Antonio
who has been updating the SMRF website for several years.
Mark notes that the counter on the website read 1500 hits
when he started, and recently the counter read 102,897. The
counter was not installed at the beginning of SMRF’s
web presence, but within a year or two. Check www.sanmarcosriver.org
on December 15 to see the new “look” of SMRF’s
TRAIL CONFERENCE HERE IN SAN MARCOS NOV. 4, 5 & 6
all about trails and greenspace from the experts, and enjoy
lots of fun social events all weekend. You can just come to
the social events, or all of the weekend’s fun, depending
on how much time you have. Silent auction items are also being
accepted if you have one to donate (call Amy Kirwin, 754-0912).
Information on the conference, sponsored by the City and the
San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, is on www.smgreenbelt.org in
the News and Events section, where you can also get registration
forms and phone numbers.
TO HAVE FUN WITH SMRF
SMRF email list to get weekly updates about volunteer projects,
and special events. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
to join this list today. Dates are posted of each volunteer
event, like the monthly water hyacinth removal project on
Spring Lake. Remember to update SMRF when an email address
changes. Also, since SMRF’s office rent at the Price
Seniors Center is paid for by volunteer hours, there are many
little jobs around the center. Garden, paint, repot plants,
vacuum, dust, fold newsletters, decorate for Christmas, arrange
flowers, and enjoy working with fellow SMRF members. Many
hands make light work, especially when working with other
CREEK CHILI POD DONATES $500 TO SMRF
each year some of the best chili cooks in Texas gather at
the Staples Dam and the home of Shorty Grumbles to hold a
cookoff and silent auction. The money they raise has gone
to SMRF, the Staples Civic Center and York Creek Fire Department
for the last few years. This year several SMRF members served
as chili judges, which was an honor and a tasty privilege.
This group has a lot of fun, but they also do a great job
of raising money to help SMRF protect the river, too.