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Ecological Restoration

The mission of the Headwaters at the Comal is to strengthen the relationship between the community and nature by showcasing the significance of the Comal Springs.  One goal of the Headwaters is to highlight the hydrological, environmental, and cultural history of the region and to be a living demonstration of sustainable practices for the local community and nation.

Beginning in 2016 the Headwaters at the Comal has transformed close to 5 acres of asphalt into an immersive native prairie landscape.

94% Reduction in the total suspended solids (pollutants) reaching the Comal Springs System through:

Removed 50% of the impervious cover currently on the property.

Uncapped and restored the historic spring cistern.

Constructed berms, bioswales and vernal pools to filter and cleanse stormwater before it enters the Comal River.

Environmental improvements include:

Restored the natural riparian habitats for numerous endangered and threatened species, endemic only in the Comal Springs or Edwards Aquifer.

Removal of 1/3 of the 1930s era spring cap allows leaves, pollen, and other organic matter to fall into the water, which improves habitat for endangered and threatened species living in the springs system.

Planted hundreds of native grasses, plants, and trees.  Reestablished two (Riparian Woodland and Savanna), of the eventual four, different regional planting typologies that will be featured on the site.

Diversion of the overflow pipe from the existing water storage tank on the site into a gabion catch basin. In the event of an emergency, this measure will prevent chlorinated water stored in the tank from entering the springs system unchecked and allow the water to filter and cleanse first.

Removed invasive species and restored natural plant communities.

Installation of permeable pathways, including grass pavers along the crushed granite fire lane, reuse of concrete foundation as pavers along trails, repurpose old facility building into open air education/event pavilion.

Another building on site has been updated, and now serves as our covered education Pavilion.

The Headwaters has also re-purposed the concrete slab of a building removed from the site, into the pavers used throughout the site.

What’s included in phase 2?

While the Headwaters staff and partners consistently offer a variety of programs across our areas of focus, demand for programs currently exceeds the project’s capacity, primarily due to lack of indoor facilities. The next phase of development, which is dependent of the generous support of the community, will address that lack of indoor space and all abilities access.

Main Building Restoration

The main building on site will be restored in the next phase of development allowing for a variety of programs, events, field trips and meetings. This specially designed buildings includes the use of natural lighting and ventilation to minimize use of resources. Use of innovative technologies will reduce water consumption and solar roof panels will allow the site to achieve net-zero energy use addressing our goal of providing an innovative, nature-oriented gathering and meeting space that builds a regional ethic of valuing cultural and ecological resources.

Picnic Area Entrance

The vision of the main entrance to the Headwaters provides a welcoming green space drawing visitors into inclusive, interpretive concept of this center’s vision to provide a premier education center inspiring hearts and minds on the importance of conservation to community. The shady gathering place will be enhanced by creative archaeological features currently in design reminding visitors of the importance of this very site to people since the beginning of human existence in the region.

Future Phases

The last pods that make up the restoration of the main building focus on a screened fresh-air exhibit and classroom providing additional space for field trips and possibly archaeological exhibits. Administrative offices and an additional large meeting space accommodate a variety of programs, community groups and gatherings including flex space for field trips or meetings. Looking out over the community gathering lawn and further into the native prairie restoration this space is certain to be in high demand throughout the year.

Ways to Get Involved in Phase 2

Opportunities to support the Headwaters extend beyond Membership. We rely on support from individuals and corporations in order to restore and sustain the ecosystem here at the Headwaters.

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