Get to know Board Member… Chasity Keen Larios, Communications

Chas and Mayor Lee Leffingwell at Council Cleans the Pool Day
Chas and Mayor Lee Leffingwell at Council Cleans the Pool Day

How long have you been in Austin?
Since 2003 when I began attending the University of Texas.

Why did you join the Friends of Barton Springs Pool?
To make a positive contribution to a sacred natural treasure.

What do you do during the day?
I work to help mentally ill defendants find treatment and stay out of jail as a member of Travis County’s first Felony Mental Health Team at the District Attorney’s Office.

What does Barton Springs Pool mean to you?
It represents a spiritual place that my Native American ancestors once enjoyed many years ago.

Favorite local band or artist?
My husband’s band, Hard Proof Afrobeat

I live on Lake Travis with my husband, Gerardo, Jude (deaf American Bulldog), Bonham and Leu (los gatos)

Favorite moment volunteering for FBSP?
Having every Austin City Council member attend last year’s Council Cleans the Pool Day along with State Rep. Donna Howard and County Commissioner Karen Huber while giving a speech about the true mission behind FBSP.

Any hidden talents?
I live with a musician… I am required to at least play a little guitar. Other than that, I was a collegiate debater.

Describe your first experience at Barton Springs Pool…
My first week in Austin was in the middle of August. I was walking around campus all day long trying to find my classes when I overheard a group of students talking about Barton Springs Pool. The next week, I skipped my first collegiate class to experience the cool, clean waters at Barton Springs Pool. I was convinced that I had found my home.

How long have you been a member of FBSP?
Since September of 2006.
Continue reading “Get to know Board Member… Chasity Keen Larios, Communications”

February President’s Report

Swimming with nets Could be a good year for cleaning the pool

by Robin Cravey

This year is looking pretty good for cleaning at Barton Springs Pool.  I don’t want to jinx it, but we may be heading into that rarity, an average year.  If so, we’ll be able to use our most effective cleaning techniques and keep the pool pretty clean.

It was around this time in 2006 that I joined together with a few other swimmers and pool lovers to raise a volunteer brigade to help out with the spring cleaning.  That winter we were in drought, and the pool was so full of algae that it was like green jello with spinach.  But we turned to our work with a will, and kept coming back week after week and month after month, and we finally got the algae under control.

One thing that made it hard to clean that year was that we couldn’t drain the pool.  It’s a lot harder to clean the pool when it’s full of water.  But the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says we can’t drain the pool if the springflow is lower that 54 cubic feet per second.  So in that drought year, we got in the water and scrubbed with push brooms and skimmed with nets.  It was hard work.

The next year, 2007, was a flood year.  Springflow was high, and we could drain the pool, but every time it got cleaned up and opened for swimming, a big flood came through washing in muck and debris and closed it again for a week or two.  It was miserable.

Then, we went straight back into a drought.  The years 2008 and 2009 were again years of low springflow and cleaning with the pool full.  The algae got bad again, but not as bad as in 2006, because we kept after it.

There is an art to cleaning with the pool full.  In the shallow end you have to know the shape and direction and speed of the big lazy whirlpool effect that pulls water into the drain just upstream of the first set of stairs.  If you work together, and move with the direction of the curling current, and pace yourself with the speed of the current, you can really do some good.  In the deep end, too, if you stretch a long net and move it at the right pace, you can corral some algae.

So this year, the drought is broken, and streamflow is good.  We have had a couple of small flood events, so we could end up with another year like 2007, but let’s hope not.  Instead, let’s hope for a year when every time we get in the pool to clean, it will be drained, and we can do some of the really deep and thorough cleaning that will last a long time.

Spring cleaning starts March 1, and Service Chairman Jonathan Beall has scheduled volunteer days for March 4, 6, and 12.  The 6th is a Saturday, and will be part of Austin Parks Foundation’s It’s my park day.  The 12th is a Friday, the last cleaning day before the pool reopens for spring break.  We’ll have two-hour shifts heel and toe on each of those days.  So drop Jonathan an email an let’s get the pool really clean.

Write Jonathan at

Robin with State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
Robin, Andrea Rado & Jon Beall with State Rep. Elliott Naishtat

Quick Dips

Fun Chairman Clarke Hammond and Membership Chairman Karl Detjen resigned from the board.  We appreciate their service, and we’ll miss them.  We are now recruiting for those positions.

Several members of the board and the Barton Springs Plan Coordinating Committee met with State Representative Elliott Naishtat.  He promised to support us in our efforts to bring improvements to the pool. Continue reading “February President’s Report”