Our year of volunteering at the pool officially started with It’s My Park Day on Sat(3/3) where we had an amazing group of volunteers that got the chance to work on a weekend. We were able to distribute several yards of mulch, did some amazing ligustrum removal in the area behind the diving board, and all the gardens got some much needed TLC. The pool was partially drawn down which was a treat for our volunteers to see the springs exposed. Our April 5 cleaning will be the first Thursday cleaning of 2018, and we are excited to help with reducing algae, and do whatever it takes to put a shine on the pool.
We are advocating for a lot of little projects inside the fence this year, including planting more trees, and our Advocacy Chair (Nelson Guda) is spearheading this effort. We attended a meeting with the team of folks replanting aquatic plants in the pool, and from what we learned after our 2nd attempt to make this work, we are optimistic we will find the right protocol for future planting success. There is also a wall that is degrading near the pump station on the north side and the sediment accumulation at the bypass tunnel entrance that we are going to inquire about what can be done. As always, our volunteer efforts are the main mechanism to learn about the pool, raise awareness to any issues we encounter, and advocate for changes to make the pool the best it can be.
On Tuesday, April 3, the Bathhouse rehabilitation design discussion was kicked off, and for me personally and for FBSP as a group advocating for the pool, this is a proud moment in moving forward what was laid down in the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan. The bathhouse project was a main topic of the BSP MP in 2009, and was also addressed extensively in the Feasibility Study in 2016 where all the challenges that entangle any development at BSP were documented. And now in 2018, we are going to embark on developing a design for the bathhouse that will insure its place in landscape of BSP for the next 50-70 years. We encourage all our members to get involved in this process!! This is the time to speak out about your concerns, issues, and what you think is important about the bathhouse. To find out more about this project or sign up for project updates you can visit the website (http://www.austintexas.gov/bartonspringsbathhouse). If you wish to comment to me at (email@example.com), I would love to hear from you and carry your message the best I can as we advocate for the best design we can.
We are anxiously awaiting Give5 to Mother Earth Day on Friday (April 20), the fundraiser for Austin’s environmental non-profits, including FBSP. At last count, we had over 200 businesses signed up to dedicate 5% of their sales to the fundraising effort. If you want to know more about this and who the sponsors are that are participating go to https://austingive5.org/.
Have you swam at the pool lately? Before our large downpour at the end of March, the spring flow was on a steady decline to about 45cfs, and with the onslaught of spring weather, we are experiencing an algae bloom at the pool. Thankfully, with that 3-5 ” of rain, the spring flow is up to just shy of 70 cfs. This will help with stripping the algae from the surfaces of the pool and allow it to move on down the creek. If you ever want to know about pool flow or the latest about the aquifer, check out the links on the right side of our website to see the USGS Barton Springs Weekly Water Flow and Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District.
And last but not least, we have been a supporter of the efforts to replace the tile facade at the Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater with a mural by the team headed by Wanda Montemayor. If you do not already know about her work, check out the murals at Deep Eddy, and Barton Hills Elementary. I hope to have some of the concepts in our display case soon. So check them out and if you get a chance add your support to this effort.
See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick, FBSP President