The primary mission of the SMARC is to provide support for, and undertake research on aquatic endangered, threatened, and species at risk.


Guided tours are available by appointment only. Biosecurity protocols are in effect. Please call (512) 353-0011 to arrange a tour.

About Us

The San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center is part of the National Fish Hatchery System - a network of fish hatcheries, fish health centers, fish technology centers, and the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership program. Together they provide services that help us manage aquatic resources, protect the health of our wild and hatchery-raised fish, and recover threatened and endangered species. The unparalleled conservation efforts of this system not only enhance aquatic species and their habitats, but also improve fishing opportunities for our Nation’s 58 million recreational anglers.  

The San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center plays a leading role in guiding the science and technology that is foundational to species and habitat conservation in the United States, including assisting with the recovery of endangered, threatened, and declining populations of fish and other aquatic species, preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and improving fish culture technology and culture protocols.

Fish Tech Centersplay a leading role in guiding the science and technology that is foundational to species and habitat conservation in the United States, including assisting with the recovery of endangered, threatened, and declining fish stocks, and improving fish hatchery culture technology and culture protocols.

In the late 1800s, our station was the first Federal, warm-water fish hatchery west of the Mississippi. Originally located on land adjacent to the San Marcos River, which is now Texas State University, the station was relocated to 116 acres of land south of the City of San Marcos. We transitioned from a traditional fish hatchery to a research facility, beginning in the mid-1970s. 

Our station is co-located with the Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.

What We Do

The mission of the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center is to support conservation efforts through applied research on species that are endangered, threatened, and at risk. The center is a refugium – or safe harbor – for endangered species. Major consideration is placed on assessment of biological issues related to the springs of the Edwards Aquifer and other west Texas spring systems.  

Our Organization

  • Edwards Aquifer Species Conservation
  • Invertebrate and Amphibian Conservation
  • Plant Ecology and Habitat Restoration

Our Species

The San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center conducts research on many aquatic species, including plants, freshwater mussels, crustaceans, insects, salamanders, toads, and fish. We have the largest captive population of Texas blind salamanders in the world. 

Projects and Research

  • Freshwater mussel propagation
  • Spring invertebrate ecology and identification
  • Houston toad propagation and reintroduction
  • San Marcos salamander reproduction
  • Texas blind salamander reproduction
  • Toxicity research for Barton Springs salamanders
  • Captive propagation of Pecks cave amphipods
  • Captive propagation and husbandry of Comal Springs riffle beetles
  • Captive propagation and husbandry of Comal Springs drypoid beetles
  • Captive and wild population genetics of Texas wild rice
  • Seed and Seedling growth and development of Texas wild rice
  • Texas wild rice population monitoring and assessment

Visit Us

We are a public facility. If you let us know that you are coming, we will gladly show you around and talk to you about what we do. Often, our staff are in the field, working. So, advanced notice of your visit is encouraged to ensure a staff member is available.

Get Involved

Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National fish hatcheries provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love.

Location and Contact Information