City officials plan to begin construction on improvements designed to create new access points along the San Marcos River in early 2014 to conclude by the end of the summer.
An estimated $1.57 million will be paid to Shirley & Sons Construction Company, Inc. to begin construction on new access points for the river next year, according to a report on the San Marcos River Bank Stabilization and Access Point Project. Multiple access points will be constructed, with emphasis placed on creating a dog beach area, according to plans by the City of San Marcos.
New access points will be constructed throughout the river in order to protect endangered wildlife such as Texas wild rice, according to a written statement from Dianne Wassenich, the Executive Director of the San Marcos River Foundation.
“The points will be in spots that do not direct people to enter right on top of the wild rice, which we definitely need to protect,” Wassenich said in a written statement. “The endangered wild rice is one of the main factors that made the computer models of river flow to be set for a decent amount of flow to be preserved in our river. The rice requires water to be flowing over it, to be healthy.”
The access points will allow for the general public to enter and exit the river with greater ease, Wassenich said.
Barriers, such as pool floats, will be placed along the river in an effort to protect certain spots where endangered wildlife resides. Wassenich said river visitors will still be able to enjoy the water but will be asked to be wary of plant life.
“It is extremely important for students to learn what the plants look like and avoid them when paddling or tubing in the river,” Wassenich said.
Wassenich said students will be employed to help protect wildlife in areas where Texas wild rice and other endangered plant life lives.
“There are students hired to be ‘Conservation Crew’ members during the summer to point out where the rice is and how to avoid it,” Wassenich said. “You can float on by, but try not to tear it up.”
The Shirley & Sons Construction Company was selected for the project after being approved by a five-member evaluation team, according to a letter from city engineer Gary Lacy to the San Marcos Purchasing Manager.
The letter said the City of San Marcos received a sealed proposal from Shirley & Sons on Aug. 29. The evaluation team concluded Shirley & Sons was a “responsive and responsible” proponent of the project, according to the letter.