San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center
Southwest Region

Coronavirus Update

Although most refuge and hatchery lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check the refuge or hatchery website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Current Policies
The Department of the Interior’s current COVID-19 policy incorporates CDC guidance. As CDC science-based guidance changes, our policy will adapt. Visitors have always been encouraged by DOI to review CDC guidance when making their plans to recreate responsibly. CDC guidance indicates that fully vaccinated people are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission. Unvaccinated people must wear a mask indoors in DOI buildings at all times and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and in healthcare settings on DOI lands. We will continue to ask visitors to follow CDC guidance to recreate responsibly.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


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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: August 2, 2021