Texas Observer: Lessons for the future of Texas water from the Medina and San Antonio rivers

“During busy summer days, more than 200 recreational boats launch from Red Cove Cafe & Marina in the unincorporated community of Mico. But on a Wednesday morning this May, only two boaters’ cars sat in the parking lot on the shore of Medina Lake. Chance Heyen, the young proprietor, said his family closed their cafe in 2021 because of the lake’s dropping water levels and dwindling numbers of tourists.

Given Mico’s tiny population, “We pretty much rely on traffic coming from out of town,” Heyen said.

Medina Lake stretches for 18 miles, forming a skinny dragon shape between Medina and Bandera counties. It was built in 1912 by damming the Medina River to create an irrigation reservoir for farmers. Mico, less than an hour’s drive west from San Antonio, was originally named after the Medina Irrigation Company and then morphed into a seasonal vacation destination. To thrive over the decades, the family-run marina and cafe has had to adapt to a boom-and-bust water and tourism cycle…”

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