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 Spring Lake Dive Authorization Course (DAC) will be authorized to scuba dive in Spring Lake for the purposes of program objectives.
In short, the Spring Lake Dive Authorization Course (DAC) is a class specifically for diving in Spring Lake. The DAC 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 DAC 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 DAC is taught on the weekend. 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. To see a schedule of upcoming classes, click here.
To participate in the DAC, one must hold an open water scuba certification by a nationally recognized agency (NAUI, PADI, SSI, GUE, YMCA, etc.). A minimum of 20 logged dives are also required. Participants will need to bring their own scuba equipment, including tanks and weights.
The cost is $230 per student. For current Texas State University faculty, staff or students we offer a 50% discount.
In order to stay current, Diving for Science or DAC volunteers need to conduct a minimum of two dives annually.
The Meadows Center 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: The Meadows Center will not provide tank fills until our new compressor is installed.
After completing the DAC, 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.
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. The Habitat Conservation Project is now complete.
The Habitat Restoration Project is now complete; divers who have completed the Diving for Science authorization course or the new DAC 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.
The Spring Lake Habitat Restoration Project has been completed. Please come visit and take a boat tour!