Why Save Cape's Dam?
Over 150 years ago, original San Marcos settlers built Cape's Weir and the adjoining mill race. Over this time nature has taken hold of this area and flourished, harboring some of the world's most endangered species. The mill race is the left Chanel of the river starting at Cape's Dam. People have downplayed it as a ditch. Its 1/4 mile wide and 30 feet wide and avg of 4 feet deep. Equivalent of 250,000 cubic feet of water for flourishing habitat and green space. Click Picture above for more information!
Capes Dam was originated in 1866 and originally known as “Thompson McKie and Davis Mill Dam” It’s original purpose was for milling and grinning cotton. The ditch or as we call it the Millrace has an irrigation record that was filed September 9th, 1895 by a well known Veteran Dr. William Alexander Thompson that currently forms a nice size island called Thompson Islands. In 1979 and 1994 it received a Texas Historical Marker. He is one of the first to settle here in San Marcos. Way More info by clicking the image above!
Recreation on our river is probably one of the first things people think about when you say the word "San Marcos". We advertise in other city's and states that we have a great and clean water to come check out and play in from tubing, kayaking and canoeing. We are able to capture a ton of revenue from tourism and local citizens that have chosen this area for leisure. But if we do not have adequate depth of water even at times when our water flow (CFS) is low we will not have the proper.....Click Picture above to read more
Cape's Weir, and the Mill Race, are an integral part of rehabilitation programs for our nation's disabled veterans. The area provides unique accessibility, and furthermore allows disabled individuals independence when accessing the San Marcos River by essentially allowing them to enter and exit the river in the same place, on their own. Click the picture above more more information on one of the programs at Cape's Weir.
What's going on?
Cape’s Dam (actually a weir as it lets water pass) is a 150 year old river structure that creates Mill Race, Mill Race Falls and Thompson’s Island in Stokes Park, San Marcos. When this property was donated to the state of Texas the donors were promised that this historic place would be preserved. The city now manages this property and council has voted to destroy the weir, which was damaged by flooding several years ago and is no longer safe for recreation. River-lovers, scientists with dissenting viewpoints, and the donors of Stokes Park are protesting that decision. They are joined by voices from the veteran’s community, as the part of the river that will be destroyed will no longer be usable for recreational therapy kayaking by soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center. Opponents say that, although well intentioned, the Texas State experts’ plan to destroy Cape’s is a risky gamble—while restoration is a sure bet on preservation. Questions are also being raised about the cost of what the city has only recently acknowledged, that Mill Race will need to be blocked by what will essentially be a new dam—and then filled and sealed over its several hundred-yard course to prevent erosion.