The Fight Over a Dam in San Marcos

Former Olympic kayaker Ben Kvanli speaks to the Standard about his fight to restore the Cape’s Dam:

By Hady MawajdehSeptember 3, 2015 5:13 pm| ,

This past spring was a big one for flooding in Texas.

The eyes of the nation were turned to the tragedy of whole homes coursing down the San Marcos River as the torrential rains fell over Memorial Day weekend. The cleanup is still under way, but left behind — at least in part — was a dam, known by locals as the Capes Dam.

It was originally built over 100 years ago to help control the flow of the San Marcos River, but after the recent floods, a structure that was already damaged became dangerous with metal jutting out.

Now Ben Kvanli, former Olympic kayaker is fighting the big push to tear it down.

“The dam has seen better days,” Kvanli says. “It’s sort of flowing poorly, but it has always had issues.”

Kvanli works on the dam. He says the closing could affect not only his finances, but a plethora of folks who use the waterway for more than just recreation.

“We have thousands of people coming out here to kayak and paddle board,” Kvanli says. “It’s most of my business. But the biggest losses could be to the folks we help therapeutically. We have veterans and kids come out here for therapy and if they close this it will hit them the hardest.”