San Marcos River, from springs to water treatment plant


The City of San Marcos, Texas and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking to remove Capes Dam in San Marcos, Texas without first conducting a thorough and impartial assessment of the impacts of such action.

We believe the removal of Capes Dam has been insufficiently scrutinized, omitting the detrimental effects on aquatic ecology, the integrity of historical river features, and recreational usability that could be lost if Capes Dam is removed.

Thus we seek affirmation from responsible federal and state officials that the full National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process for issuing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be conducted before any action is authorized.


Click on links to read or download the documents referenced

  1. Map of San Marcos River from headwaters in Spring Lake downstream to the San Marcos Wastewater Plant

Letter of Intent

Statements of Concern:

  1. Lack of Peer Review of Impact Predictions
  2. Errors in Project Specification
  3. Historical Significance Ignored
  4. Consideration of Recreational Usability


  1. April 2016 USFWS documentation for TPWD, TCEQ, City of San Marcos, and more, with notes on errors and omissions.
  2. Critical assessments of the single scientific source supporting removal of Capes Dam.
  3. May 18, 2016 TPWD Sand & Gravel Permit request with notes on errors and omissions.
  4. May 3, 2016 TCEQ Dam Safety Information sheet with omissions noted.
  5. Sept 2, 2016 TCEQ judgment that Capes Dam is not a “dam.”
  6. 2016 USFWS SHPO-106 request and concerns of Texas Historical Commission.
  7. TCEQ dam removal guidelines.
  8. June 24, 2015 Watershed Systems Group document with concerns noted.
  9. October 12, 2015 Watershed Systems Group document with concerns noted.
  10. August 6, 2014 USFWS recommendation to City of San Marcos, concerns noted.
  11. January 17, 2012 USFWS report prepared by Texas State’s River Systems Institute, with concerns noted.
  12. Illustrations of threatened recreational use and alternatives to Cape’s Dam removal.
  13. News and editorial coverage of the Capes Dam removal controversy.
  14. August 2, 2004 Utah Water Research Laboratory’s report on the San Marcos River System, concerns noted.
  15. Jan 5, and Jan 7, 2000 San Marcos Daily Record following breach of Cape’s Dam, “Wildlife officials rescue wild rice after dam fails.”
  16. June 23, 2014 Presentation made in Trondheim, Norway “Assessing potential removal of two low head dams in an urbanized Texas karst stream”.
  17. Feb/March 2014 USFWS Texas Activity Report.
  18. June 29, 2014 Kollaus, Hardy, et al, Urban Ecosystems “Effect of urbanization on a Texas karst stream,” where it is admitted that removing Cape’s Dam offers “an opportunity to test … theory.”