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The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

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Texas State University-San Marcos established The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, formerly the River Systems Institute, as a leadership initiative to coordinate and further university-wide efforts in the field of aquatic resource management. The Meadows Center started out as International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources in January 2002, and was renamed the River Systems Institute in 2005. Following a large gift from the Meadows Foundation in August, 2012, The Meadows Center will continue the mission to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The Meadows Center aims to promote a holistic approach to the management of natural systems where key principles of sustainability and equitable use guide sound water policy.

Projects & Programs

 Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Come learn and experience Spring Lake through a Glass-bottom Boat tour. Tours are held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For more information call 512-245-9200 or click the link below. Learn more.
TWAP Transboundary Lakes Project
Walter Rast, Director of International Watershed Studies, traveled to Bridgetown, Barbados to report on the ongoing work of the lakes component of UNEP’s Transboundary Waters Assessment Program (TWAP) at the 7th International Waters Conference of the Global Environment Facility (GEF; Washington, D.C.), held during October 31 to November 3. The project goal is to identify, analyze and rank transboundary lakes and reservoirs in regard to their environmental status and vulnerability to human activities. For more information on this international project, click here.


The 15th World Lake Conference will be hosted in Perugia Italy from September 1 to 5, 2014. This upcoming conference forsees the participation of international, national and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, private sector representatives and other water stakeholders. For more information, view the conference website.

 Hill Country Water Resources

The Meadows Center is inviting kayakers and canoeists to join the Texas Stream Team, a citizen science program that has been monitoring the quality of Texas waterways since 1991. A newly launched Texas Stream Team Paddlers project is expanding opportunities for students, educators, outdoor enhusiasts, and all manner of paddlers to work on one of the most important issues of our time: Water. Learn more.

 San Marcos Watershed Initiative
The San Marcos Watershed Initiative (SMWI) is a project that explores ways to manage impacts to surface and groundwater resources through a stakeholder driven watershed protection plan for the upper San Marcos River watershed. Learn more
 Texas Water Issue Briefs

The Water Issue Brief papers provide information regarding important water conservation, education, and policy issues in Texas.

The purpose of these briefs are, to provide digestible, unbiased information about complex water issues in Texas to new legislators, decisionā€makers, and stakeholders interested in water resource issues. Learn more.

 Monterrey Shipwreck

The Monterrey Shipwreck was found 170 miles off the coast of Texas at almost 4,300 feet deep. Our Chief Underwater Archaeologist, Fritz Hanselmann, and a multi-disciplinary crew spent five days conducting operations to map and document the wreck in detail, to excavate target areas of artifacts, and bring them to the surface for in-depth study that will allow them to discover the vessel’s age, function, nationality, and identity. Learn more.

View National Geographic blog posts by Fritz as he was onboard.

  While it is known that many shipwrecks exist off the Carribbean coast of Colombia, very little has been done to document these areas. This project aims to search for and document these sites using systematic electronic and diver surveys to locate potential shipwreck sites and add them to the national database of archaeological sites, which will inform the development of a management framework and a better understanding of the extent of the resources. Learn more.
View National Geographic blog posts by Fritz as he was onboard.


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In the Flow Newsletter

Click to subscribe to In the Flow, a freshwater news wrap-up and analysis, co-published by The Texas Tribune and The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.