Every year offers a new lesson in stewardship at Barton Springs Pool.
by Robin Cravey, president
This year May brought record heat again. Drought lies like a burning brown blanket over the hill country. Global warming is up. Springflow is down.
Several things have conspired to bring the Pool to this healthy state. Our first Thursday springs cleaning parties have become more and more effective. The plantlife in the Pool that was in a state of riot last year has been tamed. And the removal of a huge load of flood debris from the deep end has allowed the lifeguards to perform a real thorough cleaning down there.
Not all of the Pool looks good. It’s easy to find the habitat areas, now, because they look like swamps. They look like experiments in benign neglect. They need some serious attention, and soon.
The bad news is that the global warming curve is pointing up. Scientists say a hotter dryer climate is coming to Austin. We ought to start taking this into account as we plan for Pool maintenance and improvements. For example, everything we plant should be drought-tolerant.
We should also stop talking so much about keeping Austin weird and start talking more about keeping Austin cool. That means reducing the urban heat island effect. Stop the generation of urban sprawl and the commuter lifestyle. Plant a lot of trees.
Of course, the focus for FBSP will always be the Pool, the Pool grounds, and near surroundings. We’re going to apply our stewardship to whatever comes out of the springs and down the creek. Cool springs: it’s our bubbling jewel!
The FBSP Picnic by the Pool is coming up Saturday, June 25th. It’s going to be great fun. We’ll have it at the rock garden above the Hillside Theater, where we can have beer! (in moderation, of course) Join us for some good family fun.
I attended an interesting meeting on the grounds improvements. Architects Brian Larson and Brad Burns were there, along with arborist Don Gardner, city staff, and others. We had another rehash of ideas for the tree court. It’s time we move forward with that.
The Joint Subcommittee of Parks and Environmental held a productive meeting. Environmental Board chair Mary Gaye Maxwell invited staff members to work on an improved reporting system for the short-term projects.
BSPCC member Emily Little and I have been meeting with the staff to talk about the project to restore the Pool entrance to the central rotunda. Emily and her colleagues are volunteering a huge amount of professional service to get this project going.