San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center
Southwest Region

Corona-virus Update

During the current public health emergency, whenever possible, outdoor recreation sites at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries will remain open to the public. Visitor Centers and other facilities, however, may be closed. Scheduled events may be cancelled. Please follow public health guidelines and avoid congregating. For more information: FWS Coronavirus Response page and call for local conditions.



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The San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center (Center) is located between San Antonio and Austin, Texas on I-35 along the Heart of Texas - East Wildlife Trail that was developed to provide nature enthusiasts with potential wildlife viewing sites.

Located near the Edwards Aquifer, a prolific artesian aquifer, the Center is involved with scientific research, including equipment and technology development, captive propagation technique development, habitat restoration, native species life history studies, and invasive species life history and control studies.

The hatchery works closely with the faculty at local Universities to provide volunteer, work, and research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in biology and geography.


The original hatchery was located near the headwaters of the San Marcos River and was the first warm water hatchery west of the Mississippi River. The hatchery opened in the mid-1890's and for over 60 years the hatchery mission was the production and development of efficient cultural techniques of warm water sport fishes.

The original hatchery was later donated to Texas State University in the 1960's. Texas State University in turn donated the 116 acres of land south of San Marcos for a new facility. San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Cultural Development Center was dedicated in 1976, and the name was later changed to San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center in 1983, and to the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center in 2012. The Center currently works with listed aquatic species associated with the Edwards Aquifer and other Texas spring systems.

Throughout its history, the Center has developed and demonstrated practical techniques for fish propagation, management, and monitoring; formulated solutions to hatchery and management problems; produced fishes to meet high priority needs; and developed strategies for monitoring, protecting, and managing high priority aquatic species, with emphasis on threatened, endangered, and interjurisdictional species.

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Last updated: March 25, 2020