A clinging plant, Texas wild-rice (Zizania texana) is uniquely suited to life in the fast-flowing headwaters of the San Marcos River. Its long thin leaves offer little resistance to the turbulent flows, moving and streaming right along with the vortex of water. The worldwide population of this aquatic grass exists within a three-mile reach downstream of the San Marcos Springs, with large colonies found just below Burleson’s Dam. Believed to be a remnant species from the last ice age, Texas wild-rice endures in these cool, clear, CO2-enriched waters.
A shaft of sunlight shines into a high pressure spring chasm through the viewing well of Spring Lake’s vintage 1945 glass-bottom boat. As water rushes up from below, it scours the surface of the facing incline, preventing the accumulation of plants.
Hiding during the day under five feet of soft sediment, an American eel (Anguilla rostrata) emerges at night to hunt. Having a keen sense of smell, eels depend on scent to find food. The American eel is a generalist species that colonizes a wide range of habitats. Its diet is therefore extremely diverse and includes most of the aquatic animals sharing the same environment.
“Spring Lake is a liquid time capsule.”
Modern man is about to discover that WATER IS LIFE! It is very possible that Spring Lake will be the battleground that marks the turning point of the management of fresh water resources in America. The battle for ground water, instream flows and the conjunctive use of surface water, combined with aquifer supplies, has been going on at the San Marcos Springs since the drought of the 1950s.