South Lawn Sticky Burr (Soliva Sessilis)


During April’s volunteer cleaning, we attacked the sticky burrs on the South Lawn with a group ~15 volunteers, but were only able to clear only a small area.  As a result, we realized we needed to advocate for a more robust solution with PARD, and BSP Staff.

Thankfully, we were able to get a plan in place through the help of Kimberly McNeeley and Andrew Savage at PARD.  The result is that on the morning of Thursday, May 24th,  PARD’s Zilker Staff and members of the PARD Horticulture division started a process of brushing the plants with Finalsan, an organic weed killer.  They will cover a large area on the South Lawn and evaluate the results the following day before making a decision on whether to continue with Finalsan or resort to removal by hand.  We suspect it will take both approaches and will be gearing up for that effort if needed.

We understand that using a weed killer for eliminating this pesky weed is going to be controversial, but precautions and approvals have been obtained.  Here is what we know about Finalsan:  its active ingredient is an ammoniated soap of fatty acids, and it is a fast-acting weed killer that you spray on weeds and see results in hours.  This product is OMRI-listed and approved for organic gardening.  PARD requested approval from Watershed Protection Department to use Finalsan at the pool, and they approved it.  We believe that the professional licensed application of this product by PARD Horticulture will be a success.

The next phase of this effort will be to remove all the dead weeds and prepare that area for reseeding.  It will also involve a commitment by BSP Staff to irrigate the area so that it recovers as quickly as possible.  BSP Staff has assured us that a plan is in the works immediately after this pesky weed has been eliminated.

FBSP is coordinating our next volunteer pool cleaning event on Thurs (6/7) and will dedicate a team to do whatever is needed to ensure a speedy recovery of this area at our beloved Barton Springs Pool.  If anyone is interested in getting involved with this effort please go to our website ( and sign up to volunteer or just show up at the pool between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Steve Barnick
FBSP President


FBSP President’s Message — April 2018

President plants peck on plastic Anas platyrhynchos!


Our year of volunteering at the pool officially started with It’s My Park Day on Sat(3/3) where we had an amazing group of volunteers that got the chance to work on a weekend.  We were able to distribute several yards of mulch, did some amazing ligustrum removal in the area behind the diving board, and all the gardens got some much needed TLC.  The pool was partially drawn down which was a treat for our volunteers to see the springs exposed.  Our April 5 cleaning will be the first Thursday cleaning of 2018, and we are excited to help with reducing algae, and do whatever it takes to put a shine on the pool.

We are advocating for a lot of little projects inside the fence this year, including planting more trees, and our Advocacy Chair (Nelson Guda) is spearheading this effort.  We attended a meeting with the team of folks replanting aquatic plants in the pool, and from what we learned after our 2nd attempt to make this work, we are optimistic we will find the right protocol for future planting success.  There is also a wall that is degrading near the pump station on the north side and the sediment accumulation at the bypass tunnel entrance that we are going to inquire about what can be done.  As always, our volunteer efforts are the main mechanism to learn about the pool, raise awareness to any issues we encounter, and advocate for changes to make the pool the best it can be.

On Tuesday, April 3, the Bathhouse rehabilitation design discussion was kicked off, and for me personally and for FBSP as a group advocating for the pool, this is a proud moment in moving forward what was laid down in the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan.  The bathhouse project was a main topic of the BSP MP in 2009, and was also addressed extensively in the Feasibility Study in 2016 where all the challenges that entangle any development at BSP were documented.  And now in 2018, we are going to embark on developing a design for the bathhouse that will insure its place in landscape of BSP for the next 50-70 years.  We encourage all our members to get involved in this process!!  This is the time to speak out about your concerns, issues, and what you think is important about the bathhouse. To find out more about this project or sign up for project updates you can visit the website (   If you wish to comment to me at (, I would love to hear from you and carry your message the best I can as we advocate for the best design we can.

We are anxiously awaiting Give5 to Mother Earth Day on Friday (April 20), the fundraiser for Austin’s environmental non-profits, including FBSP.  At last count, we had over 200 businesses signed up to dedicate 5% of their sales to the fundraising effort.  If you want to know more about this and who the sponsors are that are participating go to

Have you swam at the pool lately?  Before our large downpour at the end of March, the spring flow was on a steady decline to about 45cfs, and with the onslaught of spring weather, we are experiencing an algae bloom at the pool.  Thankfully, with that 3-5 ” of rain, the spring flow is up to just shy of 70 cfs.  This will help with stripping the algae from the surfaces of the pool and allow it to move on down the creek.  If you ever want to know about pool flow or the latest about the aquifer, check out the links on the right side of our website to see the USGS Barton Springs Weekly Water Flow and Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District.

And last but not least, we have been a supporter of the efforts to replace the tile facade at the Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater with a mural by the team headed by Wanda Montemayor.  If you do not already know about her work, check out the murals at Deep Eddy, and Barton Hills Elementary. I hope to have some of the concepts in our display case soon. So check them out and if you get a chance add your support to this effort.

See you at the pool,

Steve Barnick, FBSP President

President’s Report — March, 2018



We kicked off the new year with a board retreat in February where we discussed some very ambitious goals for 2018.  But first I would like to welcome our new Vice President, Ryan Cox.  Ryan expressed interest in getting involved with FBSP and we are all excited about having him on the board.  We are still seeking a membership chair so if anyone would like to get on board please get a hold of me and we will talk.

Fundraising is FUN

Fundraising is the main vehicle for us to supply tools and equipment used during our volunteer pool cleaning efforts. There are three very important fundraising events happening that we are proud to be a part of.

  • Amplify Austin is our city’s annual community wide day of online giving that’s  happening on March 1-2.  To make a donation for Friends of Barton Springs Pool, click this link and make donation!  Thanks!
  • Give5 Austin to Mother Earth is an event specifically dedicated to benefit 9 local nonprofit organization FBSP being one of them. A first part of the campaign involves finding business sponsors that will pledge to donate to 5% of their revenue on Fri(4/20) Mother Earth day.  If you business would like to participate as a sponsor, please click this link,, and sign up!
  • FBSP Booth is our chance meet folks, and spread our message at the south side pool entrance.  We offer an assortment of products for a donation and plan on sponsoring the booth on the Sunday before each of our first Thursday of the month pool cleaning events.  We are working on a new design for our t-shirts and other products so please come by and listen, learn and contribute to our cause.

Spring Cleaning is Fun, Too!!!!

In 2018, we are kicking off our year of volunteer cleaning at the pool by participating in the biggest city-wide volunteer event known as It’s My Park Day on March 3, 2018.  Sponsored by Austin Parks Foundation, participants can sign up for a shift at the Austin Parks Foundation site link, Just click the “Register” button, create an account (with name, zip, email, and password), provide the requested information (t-shirt size, allergies, emergency contact, DOB, address), click the waiver agreements, and you’re in!  Please share information with others using this link,

This is a chance for our members to participate on a Saturday while the pool is closed for spring cleaning.  Our regular volunteer pool cleaning events on the first Thursday of the month will run from April to October.

Ongoing Challenges for Friends

We have a multitude of challenges both inside and outside the fence at Barton Springs Pool. As an nonprofit organization our true calling is inside the fence sponsoring volunteer pool cleanings. We take the knowledge and experience gained from these events to raise awareness of issues, advocate for change and work with the BSP Staff to find solutions. This year we have challenges that include planting trees, repopulating plants in the pool, removal of sediment at the bypass tunnel inlet, keeping algae in the shallow end under control, eliminating non-native plants, and of course putting a shine on the pool railings and the diving well ducks. We are also giving support to many outside the fence activities that in part are integral to the goals of the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan. This involves the renovation of the bathhouse, a Zilker Park visitors center, and feasibility studies on how to improve pool water flow.  We are also in support of the HOT funding for historic preservation, the city bond initiative for purchasing aquifer land, and stopping our neighboring communities from dumping treated sewage into the aquifer. If you have a chance please add your name in support of these very important challenges to Barton Springs Pool.

We are all about finding ways to put big smiles and foster good feelings at the pool. The celebration of the completions of Eliza Springs Day Lighting project , the annual FBSP member picnic, and organizing Council Cleans the pool will hopefully keep everyone smiling and wanting to make the pool the best it can be this season.

See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick, FBSP President

President’s Report — December, 2017



We capped off our 2017 volunteer pool cleaning effort by planting 3 pecan, and 2 oak trees that were dead or damaged on the south side entrance of the pool.  We worked in cooperation with PARD’s Urban Forestry Program to coordinate this effort. It  was a real pleasure to purchase and plant these trees where needed. We hope to plant more in the very near future.

For the year we sponsored (7) six hour first Thursday pool cleaning events that resulted in an estimated 300(~1500 hours) people volunteering to put a shine on the jewel of Austin.

For several years, we have reached out to the corporate community to help with volunteer cleaning and our list continues to grow. This year we had the pleasure of working with Whole Foods, C3 Presents, BRC Recovery, American Youth Works, and ABGB.  We also received support with food donations  from Tacodeli, and Austin Pizza.


As always, we learn from these volunteer experiences and use that knowledge to raise awareness and advocate for change.  This year was no different.  We noticed the irrigation issue and pressed PARD on what  was the cause and how it could be fixed.  PARD responded by implementing a better plan for irrigation until a replacement pump was installed.  This new pump should take care of all our irrigation and pool cleaning needs of the future.

We continue to push for better management of the plants in the pool and in cooperation with a group of stakeholders led by Barton Springs Conservancy (BSC) and supported with a grant from Austin Parks Foundation (APF) to fund another aquatic plant re-planting effort in the pool on Nov. 16.

We responded to a request by Watershed Protection Department (WPD) to take on the removal of Ligustrum from the area behind the diving board and ran into a problem with poison ivy which by seeking members that are not allergic to help out we were able to knock down a lot of these non-natives and hopefully the native plants will have a better chance to thrive and take over that area.

The BSP Master Plan is our guide to the long term projects important to BSP.  One such effort is  opening up the upstream dam to creek flow to improve water quality in the pool.  A presentation to the Joint Committee on Thurs (Nov. 16) spearheaded by BSC and supported by FBSP and other stakeholders to get this process started was made.  Another project is the renovation of the bathhouse.  We continue to support the efforts of BSC to seek HOT money for historic preservation that will be a huge funding source for this effort.

We have been able to apply and receive grant money for tools and equipment for our volunteer cleaning that have made the job easier for BSP staff and our team.  Many thanks to Austin Parks Foundation and the generous membership donations that help fund this.

Our year officially ends/begins on New Year’s Day celebrating the POLAR Splash event at the pool where we will be sponsoring a booth at the south side entrance from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  We encourage y’all to come by chat, get involved or make a donation to our cause in exchange for t-shirts, and towels. Come joins us, it is going to be a blast!!

See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick
FBSP President

BSP Poster 12-17

Presidents Report (Aug-Sept 2017)



We are proud to announce the addition of Seth (Jason) Cross to our FBSP board as the new Fundraising Chair. After a lively discussion at our booth on the south side in July, Seth expressed interest in getting involved. He has experience as a lifeguard at BSP in the 90’s is a regular lap swimmer and has a deep appreciation for who we are and what we are doing so please welcome Seth to our team.

We are still seeking to fill Duck Kiss(1)vacancies at Vice President, and Membership so if you have an interested please get in touch with me at [].

THANKS TO THOSE THAT HELPED!! As you know we are working hard to remove non-native plants at BSP. One of our challenges is finding people that are not allergic to poison ivy to volunteer. Last month we put a callout to our membership and the response has been amazing. We also had a member offer the services of his baby goats who graze on the poison ivy and we are hoping to work out the details to make that part of our monthly pool cleanings in the future. Irrigation of the grounds using creek water has been a challenge this summer due to some issues with the pump. We met with PARD and we are happy to report they will be replacing the pump with a system that is programmable and capable of pumping at the wide range of pump flow and pressure needs that are required at the pool.

NO SPRAY ON SUNSCREEN AT THE POOL!! This has become a nuisance to anyone that is exposed to the cloud of sunscreen and its effects on water quality. Advocating for a total ban on sunscreen seems a bit excessive so we are hoping that with some added signage and possibly some other methods we can reduce this issue in the future. If anyone has any suggestions we ask that you write them out and submit them at the pool’s suggestion box or email them to me at []

PLANTING POOL TREES  Planting trees at BSP, we recently met with PARD-Forestry department to advocate for replacing some lost trees at BSP. FBSP has funding available and we are working out the details to get this done as soon as possible.

QUIETER POOL  Have you noticed the reduction in pump noise coming from Eliza!!! A group of stakeholders following a suggestion by Bill Bunch(SOS) to cover the pumps were successful in convincing PARD/Watershed that this was important. A big shout out to Bill for the idea and the perseverance of the stakeholders involved in making it happen.

HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX FUNDS FOR PARKS AND BARTON SPRINGS  Finding funding for improvements to the Bathhouse and possible new Zilker Welcome Center are in the works at city hall. Mayor Adler recently held a press conference where he proposed a 2% Hotel Occupancy Tax to address funding the “downtown puzzle”, that includes a new convention center, homeless issues downtown, additional historic preservation of tourist destinations in the city, and other community benefits for our parks, cultural arts, and commercial music venues. This by no means is the complete story, it is complicated, and controversial but we are encouraged by the proposal and support any effort that will help with funding Barton Springs Pool Master Plan efforts to rehabilitate the bathhouse.

CELEBRATING THE DAY LIGHTING OF ELIZA SPRINGS  While we still do not have a date for coordinating this event, we all are exhausted and confused by how long this has taken but in the end we will be able to rejoice in raising awareness to our most important Barton Springs Salamander Habitat and that my friends is a good thing!

See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick
FBSP President

NOTE: Our next south side booth is Sun(9/3) 10-4 and volunteer pool cleaning is Thurs(9/7) 9-3.



I am proud to report that we have sponsored 3 volunteer pool cleaning events this season and we are actively seeking out corporate sponsor’s to sign up for a employee team building event by volunteering at the pool. Our most recent pool cleaning in May we had a very hardy group from Whole Foods that I think had a blast making the pool shine brightly

One of the activities that we are having difficulties with accomplishing is removal of ligustrum in an area behind the diving board. The reason being that area also has a lot of poison ivy which if you are allergic to like me you avoid at any cost. We are looking for folks that are not allergic to poison ivy and are willing to get in there and remove as much ligustrum as possible. There are a lot of good plants in that area that we will need to identify, avoid and even provide a little TLC which will be much easier once we have the ligustrum removed. If anyone wants to help with that during our first Thursday of the month volunteer pool cleaning please contact me at or seek me out at the pool I am wearing the yellow hat.

It has come to our attention that the irrigation system on the south side is not able to use spring water for irrigation due to some issues with the pump. FBSP is working with BSP Staff to get this spring water pumping system back online and we will keep you updated as we know more.

Kudos, to Domingo (BSP Staff) for coordinating a replanting effort in the gardens surrounding the bathhouse FBSP heard about this effort and applied for a grant from Austin Parks Foundation (APF) to cover the cost of plants. Check it out I think it looks great!

Hats off to the folks at ABGB Hell Yes they have become a regulars at all our pool cleaning events this year!! Another group we have come to rely on are the folks from Benchmark they alternate with a team of guys and gals and they always come ready to work.

Coming soon we are in the process of organizing a special event to commemorate the grand opening of the Eliza Day Lighting project. No word on when that will be but we are in the loop for getting that date as soon as possible. We are looking forward to getting that work done.

APF grants are what we use to invest in tools for cleaning at the pool and again this year we will be applying for that grant money. If you get a chance give a shout out to APF for creating this opportunity to keep our tool inventory adequate for our needs.

We are also working with a group of stakeholders to repopulate the plants in the pool. When the pool floods much of the plants are scoured away and there is solid evidence that the water quality of the pool is improved with a healthy plant population. So keep your snorkel clean and clear and maybe you will see some of that effort in the very near future.

We have t-shirts($15), and towels($25) with the FBSP Logo that are available for a donation. We will be sponsoring a booth at the south side entrance on Sun(7/2) from 10:00 – 4:00 so come on by and have a chat, get a shirt and sign up to volunteer on Thurs(7/6).

See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick
FBSP President