President’s Report

15 Feb 2012 by admin, Comments Off on President’s Report

Master Plan and General Grounds Improvements Update: Report on the Parks and Recreation Board and Environmental Board Joint Committee Meeting

by Gary Beyer

On Monday, February 6, the City of Austin provided a status update on the General Grounds Improvement Project, Barton Springs trees, and the Master Plan Short-Termed Projects. The General Grounds Improvement Project continues toward its start date of fall of this year. Great News! The number of trails has been reduced so that now the original trail from the south gate to the diving board has been eliminated. This will allow for the infilling of the gully and restoration of the critical root zone of the large pecan tree nearby. All direct traffic to the diving board beach will be through the area known as the South Woods, an area formerly located outside the fence. The trail through the South Woods will be ADA accessible. There will be another ADA trail from the south gate to the memorial area, but it has been changed from concrete to decayed granite. These improvements will reduce the impervious cover and will not detract from the natural, open aesthetic uncluttered with lots of manmade distractions.

The condition of the older heritage trees at Barton Springs continues to be problematic. Two large pecan trees, affectionately known as #18 and #19, have suffered immensely from decay and drought. One was cut down completely, and the other pruned so as to prevent accidents from falling limbs. To prevent the unfortunate situation whereby two trees were cut down behind the diving board without the public being informed, COA has enacted a public notification process which includes staff briefings, internet postings, notification of key interest groups, permits obtained for Heritage Trees, and independent professional evaluations. Also, A Tree Watering Plan has been developed for reducing the impact of the drought on trees. Several composting/mulching events have been scheduled, one on February 25 for trees inside the fence, which includes the laying down of a zoysia sod mix (yea grass!), one on March 3 to apply mulch to the northwest corner of the Bath House.

The Master Plan Short-Termed projects continue with various states of progress for various projects. Projects listed as complete are Structural Testing of Dams (cracks in the dam were found and are to be repaired along with the Bypass project), Topographic Survey, Removal of Flood Debris, Rehabilitation of the Bath House Roof, Pilot Study for Water Recirculation at Beach, and Pilot Study for Ultrasonic Algae Control. Ongoing projects include Repair of Bypass Culvert (this fall if there is no drought), Bypass Inlet Grate, Hydrodynamic Modeling, Bath House Mechanical Rehabilitation, General Grounds Improvements, Tree Treatment, Interpretive Plan, Sunken Gardens Improvements, and Pilot Study for Creek Flow. Back-flow preventers are being installed to the irrigation system at Barton Springs to bring the system up to code. There’s a lot going on at Barton Springs. Be involved! Thanks.

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