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Spring Lake: A Texas Original

An ancient, living resource

From the sandy floor of Spring Lake, ancient waters bubble forth just as they've done for 10 million years. The heart of one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites by humans in North America, the San Marcos Springs have sustained life for millennia; now we are working to sustain them.

Spring Lake holds the key to scientific discoveries that inform sound water management decisions. Dr. Thomas Hardy explores the vital relationship between spring flow and the survival of the lake's endangered flora and fauna. Underwater archaeologist Fritz Hanselmann unearths long-hidden evidence of prehistoric cultures submerged and preserved beneath the lake, a window to our common past. And what our researchers learn here cascades outward and is helping find ways to provide sustainable water supplies for humanity and the environment all across Texas, the nation and the world.

Thanks to a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation, the River Systems Institute has been renamed The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. The foundation’s initial gift of $1 million and an expected $4 million over the next few years will be matched to create a $10 million endowment for the center. This gift makes it possible for The Meadows Center, led by noted conservationist and author Andrew Sansom, to ensure that both water and knowledge flow freely.

Endangered Species of Spring Lake
A few of the endangered species that call Spring Lake home


  • Location: Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
  • Source: Edwards Aquifer
  • Endangered Species: 8
  • Springs Beneath the Surface: 200+
  • Constant Temperature: 72°

Rising Star - Andrew Sansom

Andrew Sansom

Dr. Andrew Sansom is a Research Professor of Geography and Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University.

One of Texas’ leading conservationists, Sansom has dedicated his life to environmental conservation and has been instrumental in the founding of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and adding more than 500,000 acres to the state's parks and wildlife management areas.

He is the author of five books, and has published articles in Texas Monthly, The Texas Observer, Politics Today, Texas Highways, and Texas Parks and Wildlife.