Public Input Opportunity: 2018 City Bond Funding of $100M for Park and Watershed Protection Lands

FBSP supports city bond funding of $100M to buy park and watershed protection lands in the Onion and Barton Creek watersheds as part of the City’s 2018 Bond Referendum.  While there are many worthy projects under consideration, the recommendations from City Staff and the Bond Election Advisory Task Force (BEATF) Open Space Working Group don’t go far enough to provide watershed protection funds, so Friends urges that the BEATF include $100M of funding to take more Barton Springs watershed lands out of the development pool and help protect the springs and prevent flooding in the lower Onion and Slaughter Creek watersheds.

As detailed here and on the City’s Bond Election Advisory Task Force website, city staff’s current 2018 bond proposal package of $640M would require an additional 1-2 cent tax rate increase.  From this amount, the bond package proposal would allocate $30M to PARD for open space and parkland acquisition (against a request for $25M), and would allocate $20M to WPD for open space and parkland acquisition (against a request for $150M).  In short, city staff is recommending $50M for open space and parkland acquisition.

As detailed here, the Parkland/Open Space Working Group is recommending $85M for land acquisition, including $50M  for WPD “Watershed Protection Land Acquisition” and $35M for PARD land acquisition all around town.  See, Open Space Working Group Report, II(B)(2) and III(B).  Better, but not enough.

We urge all Friends to support City Bond Funding of $100M to buy park and watershed protection lands in the Onion and Barton Creek watersheds.  Your next opportunity will be at the Community Input meeting tomorrow (Dec. 7, 6:30pm at Hampton Branch Library in Oak Hill) where participants are given $800M in “bond fund” cash to hand out to the various bond categories with explanatory notes.  At the meeting, you can weigh in with (at least) $100M in “cash” to support buying Barton Springs watershed lands to take them out of the development “pool” and help protect the springs and prevent flooding in the lower Onion and Slaughter Creek watersheds.  You can also take the 2018 Public Input Bond Survey by clicking here to express your bond funding priorities.

Please let the BEATF that the amount for parkland and open space should be doubled, noting that there is a strong argument that parkland/open space  bond projects are very successful in getting voter approval for bond elections.

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