Recreational scuba diving is not authorized in Spring Lake. Aquarena is an environmentally sensitive area and was declared a critical habitat in 1980. Home to eight federally listed endangered species, Spring Lake is governed by the rules and regulations of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Spring Lake is also governed by the Antiquities Code of Texas since it is registered as an archaeological site. For the reasons listed above, recreational scuba diving in Spring Lake is not permitted. However, researchers and volunteers that successfully complete the Diving for Science course will be authorized to scuba dive in Spring Lake for the purposes of program objectives.
In short, the Diving for Science course is an authorization course specifically for diving in Spring Lake. The Diving for Science program was designed to protect and preserve the abundant natural, historical, and cultural resources found in Spring Lake’s aquatic environment. Additionally, the program establishes protocols and ensures that research objectives are met while diving in a safe manner. Once completed, the Diving for Science program provides countless opportunities for researchers and volunteers to scuba dive in Spring Lake in support of program objectives.
Common tasks or objectives might include underwater gardening, removing exotic plants, planting native plants, cleaning glass on the bottom of boats, assisting researchers, etc.
Typically, the Diving for Science course is taught twice a month on the weekends. Topics include the Edwards Aquifer, endangered species, archaeology, state and federal regulations and diving techniques to ensure protection of Spring Lake and its related ecosystem. Additionally, several dives will be conducted in Spring Lake on both days.
Attention: Diving for Science classes have been temporarily suspended for the duration of the Habitat Restoration Project.
To participate in the course, one must hold an open water scuba certification by a nationally recognized agency. Participants will also need to bring their own scuba equipment.
The cost is $230.
In order to stay current, Diving for Science volunteers need to conduct a minimum of two dives annually.
Aquarena will refill scuba tanks for researchers and volunteers who are participating in the Diving for Science course. Aquarena will also refill scuba tanks for researchers and volunteers after they finish diving in Spring Lake. Please make sure your tank is up-to-date on the visual inspection and hydrostatic test.
Attention: Aquarena will not provide tank fills during the Habitat Restoration Project.
After completing the Diving for Science course, volunteers and researchers alike may participate in any of the following courses: Underwater Naturalist, Underwater Archaeology, Photography and Videography and Documentary Film Making. Click here for a full description of each class.
Attention: Scuba classes have been temporarily suspended for the duration of the Habitat Restoration Project
The purpose of the Habitat Restoration Project is to restore both aquatic and terrestrial habitats on the peninsula and in Spring Lake to a more natural setting. Basically, this means that old structures from Aquarena Springs Theme Park will be removed. The ground breaking ceremony was on September 21, 2011 and the Corps of Engineers started construction soon after. Steady progress has been made since September 2011. For up-to-date information on the project, follow the progress here.
The Habitat Restoration Project is now complete; divers who have completed the Diving for Science authorization course can schedule volunteer dives with Taylor Heard.
Volunteer diving status will not be affected as a result of the project. Current volunteers will remain current when the project is finished.
We do not have an exact date, but we are anticipating the project to be completed in late spring or early summer of 2012.