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.”

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  • Citizen March 31, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    The Texas Standard should do much more research into this topic. Many studies show that removing these dams restores a healthier river environment, favoring native species over invasive ones. In this case, removing the dam will concentrate water in the main river channel instead of diverting it into a concrete ditch. This will allow the muck collecting behind the dam to gradually wash away, deepening the river channel. There will be plenty of water depth for recreation of all types. Mr Kvanli can also, if he wishes, continue using the slack water behind Rio Vista, just as he has for years. Removing Cape’s Dam will not affect this area of the river at all.

    • Laura Rice April 1, 2016 at 7:53 am

      Well said. We’ll try to keep an eye on it.

    • Brian Olson April 29, 2016 at 12:34 am

      I think who ever wrote this comment above has not looked at the facts nor has common since. Removing the Dam will lower the water level greatly. So much I believe will turn into low enough water levels to put a lawn chair in the middle of the river and create a party area and become an area that would not be pleasant. We will also loose our waterfall and a beatiful area. Do you know how many species will die removing the damn? It seems it’s worth killing some fish to stop humans from enjoying the river to me.

      • SMTX River May 13, 2016 at 9:59 am

        “Common since”…..learn some common grammer river rat

  • Dan September 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    This is a great opportunity for the city to expand the river park system. A new water feature like Rio Vista would be a critical highlight of the park. When viewed in its entirety from above Rio Vista to the bottom of Thompson Island, it would be unique and a beautiful gift for San Marcos’ present and future residents.

    • Brian Olson April 29, 2016 at 12:37 am

      Thank you for the good comment. If you like to help create that and save our River please give me s call.