TGR NEWS - June 2020
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Come “Learn and Live” at Government Canyon
Second in a series of six articles.
Government Canyon State Natural Area is part of the Texas State Parks system. It is designated a natural area rather than a state park because its primary focus is protection of the property's natural resources. Given that designation, access and recreational activities may be restricted if the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) deems such action necessary to protect the environment there.
The reserve is located in northwestern Bexar County inside the Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District’s boundaries. It protects a large, relatively pristine tract of Hill Country terrain that is home to numerous and diverse species of plants & wildlife and the upper Culebra Creek and Leon Creek watersheds. The approximately 12,000 acres of land Government Canyon State Natural Area occupies was originally purchased to protect the critical aquifer recharge zone which diverts rainfall into the Edwards Aquifer, the main source of drinking water for San Antonio.
First opened to the public in October, 2005, Government Canyon State Natural Area offers more than 41 miles of trails. Visitors can camp, attend a program or guided hike, geocache, picnic, take nature photos and look for birds and other wildlife. For those looking for a place to go birding, Government Canyon is a good place to find the endangered Golden-cheeked warbler.
One of the most visited features on the property are the dinosaur tracks which are located about 2.5 miles from the visitor’s center. Scientists believe the tracks were made about 110 million years ago. At that time, this location was actually near the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. The dinosaurs would walk along the moist, fine-grained mud and leave tracks which would then be exposed to the sun allowing them to dry and harden. Erosion over time have exposed the tracks for today’s people to discover, study and protect. The Witte Museum, University of Texas at San Antonio, Trinity University and Texas Parks and Wildlife are continuing to study and preserve these unique dinosaur tracks today.
SAWS Turns on Tap to Vista Ridge Project
Robert Puent, SAWS CEO
Given the current state of social distancing amid coronavirus precautions, there was not the typical big celebration with elected officials, speeches and ceremonial ribbon-cuttings as San Antonio Water System (SAWS) opened its long-awaited Vista Ridge water supply. But despite the downplayed event, this was a major step forward for San Antonio’s water future.
The understated festivities took place April 15 at SAWS’ Agua Vista Station. The 50,000 acre-foot Vista Ridge water supply project carries a total cost of about $3.4 billion and is San Antonio’s largest-ever non-Edwards Aquifer water source and will primarily serve the areas in Central and Northern Bexar County. The water comes from a series of Simsboro and Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer wells located in Burleson County.
The infrastructure to deliver the 16.3 billion gallons of water per year water to San Antonio consists primarily of 142 miles of 54″ and 60″ diameter steel transmission pipeline, three pump stations, one cooling tower, 18 wells, seven miles of well collection lines, three four million gallon concrete tanks and one 10-million gallon concrete tank.
“Somehow I never imagined our grand opening would look like this,” said SAWS President/CEO Robert Puente. “But, we are obviously very happy about bringing this project online. This is probably the biggest achievement we will experience in our lifetimes to secure San Antonio’s water supply for the next 30-50 years.”
Much like the 142-mile Vista Ridge pipeline, the project’s path to completion has been a lengthy one. A years-long solicitation process came to fruition in 2014 with the selection of Vista Ridge by the SAWS Board. City Council affirmed that decision by unanimously approving a multi-year rate plan to fund the project.
“We were extremely pleased to read about this important water supply being completed,” said Trinity Glen Rose District General Manager George Wissmann. “That new supply of water will help us meet some of the water demand in Northern Bexar County that the Trinity Aquifer was being tapped for. That just helps us preserve the Trinity Aquifer into the future. So, we congratulate SAWS on this bold project and a job well done to bring it online.”
TGR Addressing COVID-19 Virus Health Safety Concerns
The Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District (TGR) staff moved into its new offices in Helotes in March and after about a week or so had to vacate them because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic declarations made by the State of Texas and City of San Antonio. The District also will not hold any public meetings during the month of April unless necessary.
District staff are still receiving and responding to emails and doing as much TGR business as possible while safely protecting constituents, staff and the general public by reducing group interactions. We will continue to monitor public health reports and recommendations and will make future business decisions based on the guidance provided by public health officials.
If you need assistance, please call 210-219–5555 to contact someone directly.
In case you haven’t logged the new TGR District office location into your contacts yet, here’s the address - 14789 Old Bandera Road, Suite 105, City of Helotes, 78023. The District now has more space at a lease price that is competitive with the previous Camp Bullis location.
TGR Publishes 2019 Annual Report
The Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District (TGR) just published its 2019 Annual Report. The TGR board reviewed the report in early March and approved the document for publication at its March meeting.
The 2019 Annual Report provides good background on the:
purpose of the district
well monitoring work
financial position, and
community outreach programs
This year, the District included two charts which outline TGR’s involvement in regional GMA-9 joint water planning efforts required by the State of Texas. The charts provide a 10-year history of water use in the region and how that compares to the region’s goals for water production from the Trinity Aquifer. Those goals are known as “desired future conditions.”