The San Marcos Springs give rise to the San Marcos River and are home to several endangered and sensitive species, including wild rice. Researchers at Texas State University are evaluating specific in-stream conditions that favor growth of rice. Computer modeling of micro flows in the river, specific locations of rice, impacts of drought, inputs of sediment, and recreational use is contributing to enhanced understanding of rice in the river. Current work involves low-level flights by unmanned aircraft (UAV) collecting data using sophisticated sensors and specialized photo-imaging equipment. These data provide the basis for analysis and future decision making about the river and what may be allowed to take place in the river or near the river’s banks.
To explain this research to students and other visitors to the River Systems Institute’s Discovery Center, new computer simulations using this research data and UAV imagery are being rendered into special video for display. This new video, along with descriptions and special presentations will tell the story of endangered rice and other species, and also demonstrate current research techniques for evaluating the effects of drought and human activity on Texas’ streams. The video seen here is the first step in preparing a multi-media educational display showing current research, research methods, researchers, and efforts to protect wild rice.
In addition to video, interactive games will be created using actual research data and imagery. These games will allow students and other visitors to manipulate the factors that impact streams and see the result in a visually graphic and scientifically realistic way.
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H2O (Headwaters to Ocean) is a cooperative project sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and funding partner, the Ewing Halsell Foundation which supports the project H2O. H2O is an experiential, technology-enhanced education program focused on water, from headwaters to the ocean (http://www.water-texas.org)