San Marcos River Foundation

Environment | 74-2428376

Protecting and preserving a clean, flowing, and accessible San Marcos River through water and land conservation, advocacy, and community engagement.





Land Conservation

Numerous surveys are conducted in recharge zones to 1) locate natural karst features which serve as rechharge conduits, 2) identify endangered and invasive species, and 3) perform dye-tracing to establish aquifer flow patterns. A thousand dollars covers the cost of topographical studies and LIDAR mapping or comprehensive studies of flora and fauna

Water Quality Monitoring

This amount covers the cost of supporting one citizen scientist and one site for one year with the necessary chemical reagents and supplies to conduct Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved testing

Water Quality Monitoring

This reflects the cost of a TCEQ approved water quality monitoring kit used by up to 10 volunteers to monitor sites along the San Marcos River and the tributaries that feed into it

Habitat Protection & Conservation

For our many river clean ups, this amount covers the cost of trash bags and net bags given out to recreations tubers and clean-up crews for one full year, along with 30 pairs of work gloves and one dozen tools (pruners, rakes, and shovels) to remove invasive species and replant with natives

ABOUT San Marcos River Foundation

The San Marcos River Foundation has worked for 35 years to protect the flow, natural beauty and purity of the San Marcos River for future generations. The San Marcos springs flow from the Edwards Aquifer creating one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the southwestern United States with many rare and endangered species all of which require clear, clean and continuously flowing water with a stable temperature. The River Foundation actively advocates for the river, its springs, and the aquifer and watershed that feeds it. We educate the public and local officials on the river's cultural and scientific importance and offer volunteer opportunities that help people understand our unique water system and how best to protect it.

Land Conservation

The River Foundation is also involved in an ambitious land conservation program to ensure that critical areas of the aquifer recharge zone around the springs are protected against dense development which could impede rainfall into the aquifer and affect spring flow, especially during this period of unprecedented growth in Central Texas. In the last 5 years, the River Foundation has conserved over 500 acres around the springs, educated city officials and land owners on the importance of land conservation for the river and shown that protecting recharge zones helps San Marcos during flood events by mitigating damage to people and property.

Water Quality Monitoring

The River Foundation also operates the oldest and largest water quality monitoring group in Texas made up of citizen scientists. By collecting data at 30 sites, these monitors help scientists better understand the healthy parameters of our river and serve as an early warning system for potential problems.

The River Foundation has also initiated and participated in the creation of watershed plans in the region to improve degraded areas and protect others from future damage by stressing that a healthy river ecosystem is good for the environment, people and the local economy.


Responsible for the land and water conservation program, community relations, and advocacy. Serves the community and region by participating in watershed planes, habitat conservation programs, water planning boards, and acts an an advocate for the San Marcos River in local government.
Handles administrative duties, volunteer and educational opportunities, and runs the River Ranger Water Quality Monitoring program.

San Marcos River Foundation is a trusted Give Austin partner and a verified 501(c)(3) charitable organization