Jacob’s Well Natural Area
Protecting the 96 acres of land surrounding Jacob’s Well with conservation easements designed to restore and protect the conservation values of the land in perpetuity means more than just saving the spring. By transferring the Jacob’s Well Natural Area to Hays County, we have created new opportunities for public recreational access paired with experiential learning about water and the environment.
The Jacob’s Well Natural Area project was woven together by David Baker starting as early as 1991 when the Baker family with partner investments purchased the first 25 acres and half of the parcels with access to Jacob’s Well. This private stewardship effort continued as he formed the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (now known as The Watershed Association) and purchased additional parcels, including an RV park, Tennis Center, and flood-prone condos. Through massive volunteer projects and private investment, the impervious cover was removed and structures were deconstructed. Funded by the 2007 Hays County Parks bond, the official Jacob’s Well Natural Area became a public open space in 2010.
Jacob’s Well is an iconic spring of the Texas Hill Country. Jacob’s Well is a karst spring flowing from Middle Trinity Aquifer and is the headwaters of Cypress Creek near Wimberley, Texas. Cave divers with the Jacob’s Well Exploration Project have mapped over 6,000 feet of underwater passage with a maximum depth of 140 feet.
The Middle Trinity Aquifer is the primary groundwater resource for water supply in the region. Jacob’s Well flow responds to climatic variations of both short- and long-term cycles. Groundwater pumping from the Middle Trinity Aquifer also directly influences flow at Jacob’s Well. The combination of periodic drought cycles and increased groundwater pumping has significantly diminished spring flow in recent years. Groundwater use is managed and coordinated by the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District through the newly created Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone.
The Watershed Association continues efforts to strategically conserve land in critical recharge areas and threatened habitats. The Watershed Association has completed appraisals, conducted warbler surveys, and met with local landowners, elected officials, and The Nature Conservancy to discuss conservation and funding options for properties adjacent to Jacob’s Well. Land conservation is central to achieving the mission of sustaining spring flow and the healthy economy of the Wimberley Valley.
For more information on the Jacob’s Well Natural area, maps, and swimming reservations, please visit the Hays County website.
Useful links, articles, and reports:
- Swimming Suspended at Jacob’s Well, Hays County Press Release, 6/28/2022
- New Species Described at Jacob’s Well Honors David Baker, The Watershed Association, 4/12/21
- Jacob’s Well Is A Source Of Life For The Wimberley Valley. What Would Happen If It Were To Stop Flowing For Good? Riane Roldan, KUT, 2021
- Behold the Bounty of the Blanco, Joe Nick Patoski, Texas Highways, 2021
- Evaluation for the Development of a Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone in Hays County, Texas, Gary et al, 2020
- Natural Area Expansion Project: Land Preservation at the Headwaters of Cypress Creek, Conservation Conservancy, 2016
- Jacob’s Well Natural Area Master Plan, Hays Co. 2012
- Jacob’s Well Inspires a Push To Protect the Underwater Cave and Springs, Joe Nick Patoski, 2011
- Genetic characterization of Eurycea salamanders from Jacob’s Well, Hays County, Texas, Forstner et al, 2010
- Hydrology and Biology of Cypress Creek (Hays County), Dedden 2008