River access restricted near Spring Lake Dam
SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Southwest Texas State University officials have posted signs along the San Marcos River below the Spring Lake dam prohibiting canoeing, wading and swimming in that area due to dangerous debris left after the October floods.
San Marcos Area Recovery Team (SMART) divers discovered the debris earlier this year during routine training exercises. At least one team member reported sustaining injuries when the river current pushed him against an exposed reinforcing steel rod.
“Public safety is our chief concern in restricting access to this area,” said Bill Nance, vice president of finance and support services. “It is just too dangerous for people be in that section of the river.”
The restricted area is marked by the Spring Lake dam, the banks of the San Marcos River and a cable that stretches across the river near the steps on the Sessoms Street side of the river.
The university is currently working with the engineering firm of PBS&J of Austin to create an emergency repair plan for the Spring Lake dam, which was severely damaged by the October flood. Once the emergency repairs are completed, the university will work with PBS&J to examine long-range plans to renovate the damaged structure.
Both the emergency repairs and any permanent renovations done to the dam will need the approval of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TNRCC, Army Corp of Engineers and the Texas Historical Commission.
“We expect a report from the engineers on the emergency repair plan in about three weeks,” Nance said. “Then we will have to get it approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineers. Once we get the permit, we‘ll go out for bids, award the contract and hopefully work can begin on the emergency repairs sometime around the first of June.”