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Dianne Wassenich. John Boggus photo

Wassenich chosen for conservation award

Audubon Society
Thursday, February 14, 2019

San Marcos’ own Dianne Wassenich has been chosen as one of four 2019 winners of the Audubon Texas Women in Conservation Award.

Instrumental in the founding of the San Marcos River Foundation, Wassenich has been heavily involved with the organization over its 33-year history — first as a volunteer, then as executive director.

She “has done just about every kind of work possible to protect the river, clean it, advocate for it and improve the habitat for the endangered species” the organization said in its announcement.

Other women recognized this year are Travis County Commissioner Valarie Bristol, who serves as the “main conservationist” for the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan, founder of the Cibolo Nature Center Carolyn Chipman Evans and Susan Kaderka of the National Wildlife Foundation.

“It’s a great honor,” Wassenich, who was nominated by Andrew Sansom of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, said. 

“I am honored to be in the company of the other award winners who are women I know who have done wonderful things for the state.”

Also in its announcement, Audubon noted that in recent years, the SMRF “has focused on permanent land conservation to keep the river flowing and clear by preserving recharge zone lands above the San Marcos Springs,” and goes on to list a 210-acre ranch “with a conservation easement,” another ranch, 250 acres, which was bought and then sold to the city of San Marcos “for water quality protection of major recharge feature,” and a smaller, 75-acre ranch now that is being surveyed in advance of a conservation easement.

SMRF also acquired 31 acres of riverside land just downstream of Interstate 35 last December that has been the site of multiple cleanups since then. 

SMRF “has become a land trust and will apply for accreditation” later this year, Audubon said.