September President’s Report

Flash flood rapid response

mobilizes volunteer cleanup

by Robin Cravey

Hurricane or tropical storm? Either way, Hermine sent a major flood into Barton Springs Pool. The flood washed in huge volumes of gravel, debris, and silt. Naturally, FBSP went into action.

Service Director Jonathan Beall was out of town, so it fell to me to organize and lead the effort. I worked with Pool Manager Wayne Simmons to schedule the cleanup. For safety reasons, he wanted hold it on Wednesday, September 15th.

FBSP volunteers cleaning up after Hermine

Chasity Larios got the word out to our members, the press, and the public, and Emma Cravey rounded up food for the volunteers. Steve Barnick, Emma, Gary Beyer, and Tom Weber volunteered to be shift leaders.

We had a great volunteer turnout. For once, we had more volunteers than we could put to work. Groups who volunteered included American Youth Works and T-3 Training, Tri-Zones Training, Gilbert’s Gazelles, Jack & Adams, Rogue Running, Social Cycling Austin, Team in Training, and Carmen Troncoso Running. Several news stations put out the call, includng Fox 7, KVUE, News 8, and KXAN. More than a hundred responded, and we were able to put about six dozen to work. We might have done more, but the staff was overwhelmed by the turnout.

We got a lot done. We shoveled up the gravel that was deposited outside the upstream dam; scrubbed the shallow end floor, pushed sediment out of the sagittaria plants growing along the ‘beach’ area, aerated the soil on the south hillside, scrubbed handrails, and more.

There’s still more to do, and we have our regularly scheduled cleaning coming up October 7. Sign up by emailing service @

FBSP volunteers cleaning up after Hermine

Quick Dips

Help wanted. Hardworking pool stewardship organization seeking new communications director. Must be talented, energetic, and willing to work long hours without pay. Email appllication to president @

Gravel bar. Major flood debris will be removed from the Pool in November. The City Council approved the contract unanimously. The Pool will be closed for most of November, though Deep Eddy wll be open for extended hours. After the removal of the gravel and debris, cleaning the Pool will be much more effective.

Bypass tunnel. Members of the FBSP board and the Barton Springs Plan Coordinating Committee met recently with Watershed Director Victoria Li and staff to discuss the problems with the bypass tunnel repair effort. Staff has promised a written response soon.

Get to know board member Mary Yarrington, Secretary

Mary Yarrington, Secretary

How long have you been in Austin?

Initially, 1984-1988, and then returning in 2008, total residency going on six years.

Why did you join the Friends of Barton Springs Pool?

To accept some civic responsibility helping out and to understand some of the necessities and challenges in caring for Barton Springs Pool.  I saw a poster at the pool advertising for volunteers and I had nothing better to do that Thursday.

What do you do during the day?

I am working, saving to travel, and getting outside as much as possible, any small act of gardening seems to help my day when I get it in.

What does Barton Springs Pool mean to you?

Barton Springs Pool is a wildly alive environment, a historical gathering place, part of a prolific aquifer system.  Visiting the pool brings out the good in all people, whether it’s a first time or over many times, it becomes an auspicious event, never dull.

Favorite local band or artist?

All local music is good. Continue reading “Get to know board member Mary Yarrington, Secretary”

FBSP Volunteers featured in the Austin American Statesman

>View the picture gallery of our volunteers cleaning the Pool on Wednesday, September 15.

“Volunteers came out in force throughout the day Wednesday for an emergency pool cleanup party sponsored by The Friends of Barton Springs Pool under the supervision of the City Aquatics Department to assist in restoring the Austin landmark to its original condition before flood waters from Tropical Storm Hermine hit the area. Lifeguard Lillie McCarthy brushes away the silt layers in the shallow end of the pool.”

FBSP Volunteers featured in the Daily Texan
By Clayton Wickham, Daily Texan Staff
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010

About 60 volunteers came together Wednesday to help clean up Barton Springs Pool which was overrun with silt and debris from last week’s flash flooding, in an attempt to reopen the popular swimming hole by Saturday.

The pool closed after storms caused by Tropical Storm Hermine hit Central Texas. Victor Ovalle, Austin Parks and Recreation Department spokesman, said the staff has worked to clean up the pool since last Saturday, and the city hopes to reopen the pool by this weekend.

Friends of Barton Springs Pool organized the “Flash Flood Rapid Response.” The event began at 10 a.m., and volunteers worked in two-hour shifts until 6 p.m.

“We really do appreciate the effort,” Ovalle said. “The Friends of Barton Springs Pool are a great organization that helps the department with resources and volunteers, and we couldn’t do it without them.”

Volunteers at the pool used push brooms to scrub silt off the bottom of the pool floor, scrubbed walls and removed fallen trees limbs from the pool area. Along with bringing silt and debris, flooding damaged fencing and some of the railing at the pool.

“It was quite a flood,” said Robin Cravey, president of Friends of Barton Springs Pool. The Parks and Recreation Department is still exploring whether the Barton Creek bypass tunnel, a channel which carries water from several small springs alongside the Barton Springs Pool, received any damage.

Although Wednesday’s cleaning was scheduled as a response to Hermine, the Friends of Barton Springs Pool hold cleaning events regularly on the first Thursday of every month except for November and December. Volunteers with the organization work year-round to maintain the pool and advocate for improvements to it.

“Every year, attendance at the pool grows, and so we need first class facilities,” Cravey said.

September Treasurer’s Report

Friends of Barton Springs Pool Treasurer’s Report

(September 2010)

FBSP Beginning Balance: $1,816.83
4th of July Zilker Parade: $45.00
Council Cleans Pool 8-12-10:
Tent-T-shirts $90.00
Tent-Donation $20.00
Mike Martinez $100.00
Riley, Spelman, Shade, Morrison, Leffingwell $90.00
Earthshare from Earth Day 2010: $242.18
Sub-total new income: $587.18
Total Income: $2,404.01
Online Donation Processing Fee (June-July): $3.80
Giant check: (Barnick) $75.00
Hospitality for 7/01/10 Tent (E.Cravey) $79.80
Total Expenses: ($158.60)
FBSP Balance: $2,245.41