SAN MARCOS, Texas — Texas State University and the Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department are inviting partners and news media to attend an
April 26 grand reopening event to mark completion of $3.1 million in
renovations to create a major educational and research facility devoted
to Texas springs and aquifers and the river watersheds that feed them,
as well as the lakes, bays and estuaries into which they flow.

– Lake Mohave

A master plan was created in 1999 for the Texas Rivers Center,
located on the grounds of the Aquarena Center on the Texas State
campus. Project design began in 2000. Renovation work began in 2003 and
was recently completed.

“This unprecedented partnership between the university and the
department has resulted in a kind of rivers incubator, with scholars,
researchers and biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife, the National
Park Service and the university all working together in the same
building,” said Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth. “The
partnership is evolving toward permanent protection for one of the
largest springs in the United States and a state-of-the-art
environmental education program for rivers and springs.”

One tangible result of the project is that Texas State is depositing
33,108 acre feet of San Marcos River headwaters water rights the
university owns into the Texas Water Trust in perpetuity. A draft water
rights permit to place the water into the trust has been prepared by
the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, with a final permit
expected soon.

The Texas Water Trust was created by the Texas Legislature in 1997
as a way for water rights holders to voluntarily protect instream
flows, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat or bay and estuary

“Making sure we have enough clean water for people and wildlife is
the most important issue facing Texas over the long-term,” said Robert
L. Cook, TPWD executive director. “The Texas Rivers Center not only
protects one of the most environmentally sensitive and important
cultural resource sites in Texas, it provides a platform for public
education and professional collaboration to promote conservation of our
most important resource–water.”

The Texas Rivers Center at San Marcos Springs will serve as a
research center and help educate the public about aquatic ecology and
the important role that water plays in everyone’s daily lives,
including the need to protect and conserve Texas water resources.

The former inn on the Aquarena property has been renovated and now
provides space for exhibits on water resources and offices for the
River Systems Institute, National Park Service, and TPWD Freshwater
Resources Program. The site also includes interpretive venues with
aquaria, glass bottom boats and a floating wetlands boardwalk. Future
work includes continued restoration of the old theme park to a more
natural state, plus development of additional water resource exhibits
and interpretive space and water-related research space.

San Marcos Springs on the property is the second-largest spring
system in Texas, producing an average of 150 million gallons of water

Texas State University purchased the Aquarena Springs resort theme
park in 1994. Shortly thereafter, the university began conversion of
the property from entertainment to educational use. Activities begin on
April 26 at 10 a.m. with glass bottom boat rides, followed by remarks
by officials at 11 a.m. For more information, contact the Rivers System
Institute at (512) 245-9200.

– Lake Mohave