SAN MARCOS, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The City of San Marcos is set to receive a grant from the United States Forest Service to help fund the purchasing of the Sink Creek Community Forest Tract.
The $423,500 grant is the first awarded to a Texas project by the Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Program.
The City purchased the 102 acres through a three-year, $1.27 million lease with The Trust for Public Land in 2017. City Council approved the lease-purchase agreement with the expectation that external funding would be sought to match the public funds committed.
“The city targeted this property for conservation so it can serve as a buffer from development in a particularly sensitive area,” said City Urban Forester Kelly Eby. “By awarding these funds to the City, the U.S. Forest Service is joining our efforts to achieve strategic environmental planning.”
The federal funds will be applied towards this year’s third and final installment payment.
The land, located in the Upper San Marcos Watershed, includes limestone cliffs, ancient live oak trees and wildlife and Sink Creek connects to the headwaters of the San Marcos River.
The land will remain open space to help protect the water quality of the river, foster the native ecosystem and mitigate some of the urban heat island effect as the city expands, says a release from the City.
Texas State University, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The Trust for Public Land, The Meadows Center, San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, San Marcos River Foundation, and the San Marcos Habitat Conservation Plan were all named in the release as partners and programs that helped secure the tract.