Sink Creek Wastewater Interceptor Line: June 21 TPWD Hearing Cancelled

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hearing, scheduled for the June 21 City Council meeting, has been cancelled. TPWD, who helped fund the purchase of Spring Lake Preserve, is asking the city additional questions regarding the exploration of alternative routes. We are continuing to work with city officials on this very important issue.

Previous SMGA articles about the wastewater line:

Call to Action: Sink Creek Interceptor Wastewater Line Through Spring Lake Preserve
Wastewater Line Through Spring Lake Preserve
Sink Creek Interceptor Hearing Rescheduled for June 21
Tonight: Waste Water Line, Spring Lake Preserve
More articles on Sink Creek and Spring Lake Preserve

PNCA Hike: Fun and Surprises

New trail equipment in Middle Purgatory.
Photo by Mayor Daniel Guerrero
SMGA's Saturday, May 28th hike reminded me of the many benefits of the greenways, one of which is having greenbelts throughout town and within just a few minutes' drive (or better yet, a few minutes' walk). This became very important for me when I, the hike leader, awoke 20 minutes before the hike was to begin!

Even though Saturday morning began a bit frantically for me, the 3-mile hike (or 3.5 miles depending on which GPS we referred to) from upper Purgatory Creek Natural Area to the Hunter Road entrance was a wonderful reminder of the benefits of greenways. Fresh air, fellowship, and a good bit of exercise were a perfect way to begin a weekend. The weather was breezy and overcast, and the area was showing off its greenery with highlights of summer wildflowers thanks to rain the week before. We enjoyed a break at the overlook and a surprise along the way (see photo), and we finished up just in time for the sun to glare down on us as a reminder that summer is here.

I would like to thank the 13 folks who joined SMGA on the hike. Mayor Daniel Guerrero joined us for his first through-hike of PCNA. We truly appreciate that he took the time on a very busy Memorial Day weekend to experience this beautiful greenway. Many women from Texas Outdoor Women's Network (TOWN), including two from Wimberley and Bastrop, came to explore PCNA. Rob Roark, a frequent Purgatory Creek hiker, Melissa Millecam, who is quite the birder, and SMGA trail workers Aart Millecam and Mike Baugh, showed off the new shaded route near the dam. Great work guys!

We are taking a bit of a break from our guided hikes for the summer, but we will return with new ones this Fall!

- Maggie Hutchins-Wagner

For Your June Calendar

Tuesday, June 21: City Council Hearing on Wastewater Line Through Spring Lake
Plans for phase 2 of the project call for a wastewater line along Sink Creek and through a section of the western part of Spring Lake Preserve. SMGA does not support this proposed path. Read more here and then take action!

Thursday, June 30: Hays County Park, Open Space & Natural Areas Plan
6:30 PM, Hays County Extension office, 1253 Civic Center Loop, San Marcos. This will be a chance to see the results of all the input gathered from many of you over the last few months through meetings and online surveys. Read more here.

Please be sure to conserve water this month. Water restrictions are at Stage 2.

Community Events

We're taking a break from sponsoring hikes until the weather cools down a bit. Meanwhile, here are other events to enjoy.

Concerts & Movies in Your Park
This season begins with the showing of Shrek Forever After on Tuesday, June 7 at sunset, San Marcos Plaza Park (401 E. Hopkins). On Thursdays at the same location, enjoy the Summer in the Park concert series with Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones playing June 9. For more information and schedules, visit

June 11: Water Safari
From the San Marcos River Foundation: It sure looks like it is going to be a slow, long race this year, with the rivers so low, so we wish the paddlers a safe trip. It will certainly be grueling. Participants have 100 hours to finish. The awards banquet is down at Seadrift on June 15. For info see

Tube With T.O.W.N.
No tubing is planned for this week, but T.O.W.N. tubes the 1st, 3rd and 4th Thursdays during the summer. Hikes will resume in the Fall. This Thursday, June 9 is the regular monthly meeting of the Texas Outdoors Woman Network (T.O.W.N.) at 6:30 PM at the San Marcos Police Station auditorium. All are invited! This is a great organization for women wanting to do more in the outdoors such as camping, kayaking, biking, fishing, etc and have others to do it with. For more information about T.O.W.N. see

O'Quinn Ranch & Free Trees for TX

Sale of O’Quinn’s ranch brings out questions as to its fate
Wimberley View, 01 Jun 2011
The recent sale of a parcel of Wimberley Valley land, currently known as the O’Quinn Ranch, to the LaMantia family has stirred conversation as to its’s likely LaMantia would set up a land conservancy...

Free Trees for Texas from Odwalla
Odwalla is donating $100,000 to plant trees in the United States this year. You have a vote in where those trees will be planted! Visit and plant your tree in Texas. Each tree planted online equals $1 your state will receive to plant real trees in Texas State Parks.

County Updates: Open Space Plan & Habitat Conservation Plan

Hays County Parks, Open Space & Natural Areas Plan

Hays County's contractor, Design Workshop (, will unveil a draft of the Parks, Open Space & Natural Areas Plan on Thursday, June 30, at 6:30 pm at the Hays County Extension office, 1253 Civic Center Loop, San Marcos. This will be a chance to see the results of all the input gathered from many of you over the last few months through meetings and online surveys.

Kudos to all of you who heard the call to complete the survey near the end of the information gathering phase of the project! Your voice was heard and should be strongly reflected in the plan. Though the input phase is over for determining what citizens would like to see in our county, we suspect Rebecca Leonard would be delighted to hear your comments on the plan document itself at the unveiling noted above. We hope to see you there and get your reaction. The final version for adoption by the commissioners may not be complete until September. Click here for more info on the parks master plan process.

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

Thanks to the San Marcos River Foundation for alerting us that the HCP to protect golden-cheek warbler and black-capped vireo was approved by USFWS. This means the rolling land bank plan that was proposed a year or two ago has overcome the biggest hurdle! The first batch of preserve land will be purchased with a portion of the county parks bond approved by voters in 2007.

The plan allows people to buy mitigation credits from the county to replace land they build on that includes fragments of bird habitat, and the money will go to buy more conservation lands or conservation easements as part of larger contiguous tracts. The plan is to preserve many thousands of large blocks of acres over the next couple of decades, so some of the birds can survive. This is a small step in the right direction, though it does not necessarily preserve the most critical lands for water recharge or water quality. But the county says they will also be looking at that criteria as they purchase lands, because they know many county citizens care about water issues, and that criteria is written into the plan as another objective.

Volunteers Needed to Water Trees at Ringtail

Newly planted trees at Ringtail Ridge Natural Area are thirsty, and we're looking for some volunteers to water them. The young bur oaks at the entrance and the cypress tree in the dry pond near the bench are all in need of water. If you hike or bike Ringtail and are willing to help, email It's best if you can take a gallon jug with some holes in the bottom, fill it with water when you arrive, and leave it at the base of the tree. Let the water slowly soak in and then take the jug with you when you leave. Or, if you have some extra drinking water after your ride or hike, share it with a young, thirsty tree.

Call to Action: Sink Creek Interceptor Wastewater Line Through Spring Lake Preserve

A hearing on the Sink Creek Interceptor Line through Spring Lake Preserve will take place during the City Council meeting on June 21. The hearing will address Chapter 26 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife code.

As some of you may remember, phase 1 of the Sink Creek Interceptor Line was installed along Lime Kiln Road. The project was riddled with problems. Now, plans for phase 2 of the project call for a wastewater line along Sink Creek and through a section of the western part of Spring Lake Preserve. SMGA does not support this proposed path.

SMGA works to protect San Marcos’ natural areas, and we feel that running a wastewater line along Sink Creek and through Spring Lake Preserve poses a significant risk to this sensitive area (see route 5 on the map in this PDF; scroll down to page 5). Furthermore, proposed testing of the wastewater line only once every 5 years is too infrequent to discover potential leaks that could contaminate the San Marcos Springs and River, endangered species habitat, and water recharge land. While we appreciate that city engineers are aware of the errors in phase 1 of the project and plan to take extra precautions for phase 2, the reality is that everything breaks. 

Chapter 26 of the TPWD code requires a municipality to determine whether or not there is a "feasible and prudent alternative to the use and taking of such land". Is a route through Spring Lake Preserve the only feasible and prudent route? We urge the city to find one that will avoid damaging a sensitive natural area that the people of San Marcos voted to conserve.

What can you do? Email the city council and mayor at as soon as possible and let them know that you do not support phase 2 of the Sink Creek Interceptor Line. Ask them to consider alternative routes for the wastewater line.

Click here to review the city’s planning documents and see more visuals.