I attended much of the subject meeting. Just before the meeting, I remember Dr Kent Butler telling me that the council vote stood 4 to 3 to approve the development—no doubt the energy of the many attendees changed the mind of 4 council members. I was totally frustrated that I could not testify because, I had probably authored more reports about the hydrology of Barton Springs than anybody, but was prohibited from testifying because I worked for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). I was especially upset hearing Jim Bob Moffett state that he knew more about Barton Creek than anybody--I would have loved to debate him regarding such knowledge. There is no doubt that this Council meeting was "a" if not "the" major milestone to energize environmental protection for Barton Springs. Although 5 major streams other than Barton creek provide recharge for Barton Springs, there is no doubt that Barton creek is the most vulnerable regarding contamination of the springs. For example, in 1986 I authored a 117-page report entitled Hydrology and water quality of the Edwards aquifer associated with Barton Springs in the Austin area, Texas. Page 85 of that report states: "Ground water originating from Barton Creek remains in the aquifer for only a short period before discharging at Barton Springs; thus processes such as absorption, adsorption, and chemical precipitation have relatively little time to decrease concentrations of water-quality constituents of that water. Because of the amount and proximity of recharge contributed by Barton Creek, this creek has a greater impact upon the quality of Barton Springs than any other recharge source." Information and data within that section of the report verify the validity of this statement. The future for the springs is bleak. Many large developments will be built in the Barton Creek and other basins--no current procedure or rule exists by which to stop this onslaught. Barton Springs will not rapidly become contaminated--its water quality will slowly degrade to the point where it will not be swimable thus will finally be closed to swimming. Plaques or monuments with photos and videos will be placed nearby so that visitors can see the joy it brought to millions of people. It is likely that I will not live to witness this. My fondest memories as a child were of Dad taking us kids to swim and play king on the very large inter tube we brought into the pool. Future kids and adults will not know what they are missing by not being able to enjoy the springs. However, in the mean time, I am proud to contribute time and knowledge to protect the springs but more proud of many who contribute much more than me.
Raymond Slade, Jr. Certified Professional Hydrologist