TPWD placing signs on San Marcos River to protect wild rice

awildriceThere are some new additions to the San Marcos River that anglers need to be aware of.


The new signs are to educate the public about recent state actions to protect the river.


Earlier this year, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department designated a segment of the river from the Spring Lake Dam to the San Marcos wastewater treatment plant as the San Marcos River State Scientific Area.


The signs and related public education efforts are designed to protect federally endangered Texas wild rice (Zizania texana), a plant found only in the cool clear waters of the San Marcos River. TPWD regulations prohibit uprooting of Texas wild rice within the designated segment.


Also, when the flows within the San Marcos River State Scientific Area are 120 cubic feet per second or lower, TPWD may put physical barriers around vulnerable stands of wild-rice to help people avoid the plant while enjoying the river.


“Wading through wild-rice stands is the recreational activity that has the most potential for uprooting the plants,” said Cindy Loeffler, TPWD Water Resources Branch chief. “With low river recreation in winter months, we don’t foresee an immediate need to provide physical restrictions. But it’s an excellent time to educate people about protecting the San Marcos River and its endangered inhabitants, and we will continue public awareness activities as we approach prime recreational season in spring.”


Loeffler said TPWD and its partners believe the public education and awareness gleaned from the new signs is a critical first step in the protection effort.