Archived Newsletters

Two Central Texas Salamanders Receive Endangered Species Act Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected the Jollyville Plateau Salamander  and the Austin Blind Salamander under the Endangered Species Act and designated 4,451 acres as critical habitat for the rare amphibians. Read the final rule HERE.

living springs

The Austin Blind and Jollyville Plateau salamanders have spent years waiting in line for federal protection. The SOS Alliance filed a fully documented, science-based petition to list the Jollyville Plateau salamander as endangered in June 2005.

Although slow in coming, the listings recognize that these Edwards aquifer and spring dwelling species are at grave risk of near-term extinction as a result of increasing pollution and groundwater pumping from development in Travis and Williamson counties.

"Living Springs" Free Screening Tonight at Barton Springs 

Join Karen Kocher tonight for a screening of her new Barton Springs documentary. This screening kicks off the final fundraising push. If people would like to donate, they may do so at  https://rally.org/livingsprings

Screening starts at 8:30 PM at the Barton Springs north entrance, with a free full moon swim afterwards.
Get a glimpse HERE.

Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

We extend our thanks to our Barton Springs Fest sponsors:BS university

Silicon Labs, Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund, Perry Lorenz, Save Barton Creek Association, Raymond Goodrich & Family, Barkley Houses, Constructive Ventures, Planet K, Whole Foods, Southwest Strategies Group, WholeEarth Provision Co., El Interior, Blue Sky Running, Austin Energy, Gilbert's Gazelles, Cypress Real Estate Advisors, Sam & Maydelle Fason, Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Parks & Recreation Dept.,  Dick Kallerman, Tracey Whitley

BSF musicPlease join us in supporting and thanking these businesses and individuals that support Barton Springs and sustainable development.  We also extend our thanks to all the speakers, conservation groups, musicians, divers, snorkelers, hikers, and swimmers who enjoyed the Fest with us.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We look forward to seeing everyone again next year on the second Saturday of August.

The event was a big success.  We will have the photos up soon.  We recorded the Barton Springs University presentations and will be posting them online in the weeks ahead.

 

Join Karen Kocher next Tuesday, August 20th for a screening of portions of her new Barton Springs educational website. living springs

Screening starts at 8:30pm Barton Springs-north entrance and then free full moon swim after. Get a glimpse HERE.

Meanwhile, the drought continues.  Please take care to minimize your water use.

Today the New York Times ran a great piece on the move to lose and shrink lawns in order to save water. Check it out HERE.

This is a great time to let the drought take unsustainable parts of your landscape in advance of planting native and drought-tolerant plants in the fall.

The SOS office will only be open sporadically over the next two weeks, as we take a break and enjoy the last of summer vacation.  We will be back and in touch soon.

Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

sos campaign

On August 8, 1992 Austin voters cast their ballot in favor of the citizen-initiated Save Our Springs ordinance.  Millions of developer dollars failed to dent public support for saving the springs for current and future generations, with the SOS ordinance passing with 64% of the vote.

This Saturday we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the SOS ordinance vote with a full day of Barton Springs Fest activities. Grab your friends, family, swimsuit and towel and come out for a day at the springs. Ride your bike if you can.

We still need divers for the diving competition at 9AM!  Show off your best or goofiest dive-- Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up.  Our celebrity judges are: Council Member Laura Morrison, Former Council Member Brigid Shea and Jeff DiNicola, Assistant Coach, Longhorn Aquatics.

We also need parking attendants!  If you can spare an hour that would be great!  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help out. We will train you and you get to wear a groovy orange vest!

Barton Springs Eternal Check out the Fest details HERE. Please note: all snorkeling tours are full but we still have spots for tomorrow's (Friday) hike on the greenbelt at 8:30AM. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See you Saturday for this educational and fun community gathering celebrating the Soul of Our City!

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Silicon Labs, Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund, Perry Lorenz, Save Barton Creek Association, Raymond Goodrich and Family, Barkley Houses, Constructive Ventures, Planet K, Whole Foods, Southwest Strategies Group, Whole Earth Provision Co., El Interior, Blue Sky Running, Austin Energy, Gilbert's Gazelles, Cypress Real Estate Advisors, Sam and Maydelle Fason, Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Dick Kallerman, and Tracey Whitley

Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

divingFlip - Out!  Sign up for the Diving Competition
We need you to show off your silliest or most professional dive at the Barton Springs Fest Diving Competition this Saturday!  Contest is 9 - 10:30 AM.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up! 

Learn!
Attend Barton Springs University under the shade of the pecans along the south fence. Check out the awesome speakers here.    

Swim!
Beat the heat -- Go for a refreshing swim in your favorite swimming hole then enjoy some ice cold watermelon donated by Whole Foods Market at the Watermelon Cafe starting around 10 AM.

juicebox soup peddler


Good News!!  The Juicebox & Soup Peddler Truck will be there starting at 10 AM and will stay until they are sold out!


 

Special thanks to our sponsors

Silicon Labs, Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund, Perry Lorenz, Save Barton Creek Association, Raymond Goodrich & Family, Barkley Houses, Constructive Ventures, Planet K, Whole Foods, Southwest Strategies Group, Whole Earth Provision Co., El Interior, Blue Sky Running, Austin Energy, Gilbert's Gazelles, Cypress Real Estate Advisors, Sam & Maydelle Fason, Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Parks & Recreation Dept., Dick Kallerman, and Tracey Whitley 

 Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

bs festPlan on spending  Saturday August 10th at Barton Springs Fest with friends and family, celebrating Barton Springs and sustainable communities. 

See the schedule of events and details HERE. Most of the events take place on the south side of Barton Springs, under the shade of the big pecans or in the water. Best access is from Robert E. Lee.

Ride your bike, or arrive early, to avoid parking challenges. We will be providing additional bike racks at the back gate.

Morning activities include guided snorkel tours and a diving competition.  Spots are limited, so sign up in advance by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Remaining available spots for the Barton Springs Pool snorkeling tour are: 8 AM, 8:15 AM, and a few spots at 9 AM. Diving competition is from 9 - 10:30 AM with professional dive and goofy dive categories. 

Barton Springs University teaching sessions begin at 10:00 AM near the South Gate.  We have a great line up of experts in Barton Springs hydro-geology, biology, conservation, history, pre-history, and culture. See the details HERE .

Live Music on the south hill from 4 until 7 PM, with Erik Hokkanen,The Djembabes and Bill Oliver.

All day enjoy swimming, educational tables from Austin conservation groups, and free watermelon.

Sign up for a guided hike on Barton Creek, offered this Thursday or Friday morning at 8:30am by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Silicon Labs, Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund, Perry Lorenz, Save Barton Creek Association, Raymond Goodrich & Family, Barkley Houses, Constructive Ventures, Planet K, Whole Foods, Southwest Strategies Group, Whole Earth Provision Co., El Interior, Blue Sky Running, Austin Energy, Gilbert's Gazelles, Cypress Real Estate Advisors, Sam & Maydelle Fason, Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Parks & Recreation Dept., Dick Kallerman, and Tracey Whitley 

Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
lease consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

bs fest

Barton Springs is part of what our life in Austin is all about. Plan to celebrate our local treasure on Saturday, August 10th with us at Barton Springs for Barton Springs Fest -- a full day of fun, outdoor and adventure learning, food and live music. 

The Austin City Council passed a resolution last month declaring the second Saturday in August as Barton Springs Fest to be celebrated at Barton Springs. The annual event is to celebrate the sixty-four (64) percent of voters that cast their ballot in favor of the citizen initiated "SOS," ordinance in August, 1992. Read the resolution here.

Sign-up for Barton Springs snorkeling eco-tours or the diving contest and then attend Barton Springs University under the shade of the pecans along the fence outside the south gate.  Enjoy free cold watermelon all day and live music inside the pool on the south hill from 4 -7pm. 

See confirmed speakers, music and other details HERE.  And watch for further details in the weeks ahead. 

 

 Help us save Barton Springs from pollution and over-pumping.
Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

George P. Mitchell, a friend of the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, died this morning at the age of 94. Mr. Mitchell was a geologist, an independent oil and gas and real estate developer, and a major Texas philanthropist. Mr. Mitchell understood the vulnerability and importance of the Edwards Aquifer to central and south central Texas. He and his wife, Cynthia Mitchell, who died in 2009, were early donors to the Save Our Springs Alliance in the 1990s. In the 2000s, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell provided over $3 million in funding to help launch and sustain the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and its member groups, including SOS Alliance. Mr. Mitchell provided funding at a critical juncture to save and protect the land at Jacob's Well, near Wimberley. The land is now a Hays County park. The Jacobs Well Spring is a critical source of contributing flows to the downstream Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs.

In more recent years, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has become one of the largest funders for groups working to protect the Edwards Aquifer and the waters of Texas. Mr. Mitchell's son, Kirk Mitchell, is Board Chair Emeritus of the SOS Alliance. Our sympathies go out to Kirk and the entire Mitchell Family.

We will be forever grateful for George and Cynthia Mitchell's support for protecting Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer. Mr. Mitchell was the rare oil and gas pioneer who also understood that water and energy conservation are critical to sustaining a healthy planet.

You may read more about Mr. Mitchell and the Mitchell Foundation at www.cgmf.org.                                                      

Wunder waterith the heat and freedom of summer upon us, the reasons for making Barton Springs a recreation  and conservation priority have multiplied.  We hope you will join us, as often as possible, in the days and weeks ahead on both fronts.

It's hard to believe this place can still be so beautiful.  With so much growth, so much noise in the world, Barton Springs could have been forgotten.  Yet the Springs become more loved and more important to our community every year.   

Barton Springs flows today with remarkable clarity and strength because enough of us care to take action.  We recognize that Barton Springs and the other Great Springs of the Edwards Aquifer are the essential life support system for all of south central Texas. 

Please consider renewing your support for our local treasure with a summer donation or pledge to SOS Alliance today.  Your donation will be matched $1 for every $2 donated - and will be put to use immediately in SOS Alliance's conservation advocacy and education work.

mapNEW Barton Creek Greenbelt Map   

Next week we will release our new "Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail Map and Recreation Guide."  This map is 18" x 24" and printed on waterproof and tear-resistant paper.   

Click here to purchase a map or donate $25 or more to SOS here and receive one free.

bs fest

 

Barton Springs Fest August 10th

Mark your calendar for Saturday, August 10th  for "Barton Springs Fest" at the springs, 8am - 7pm.   

Established by City Council resolution last month, this new annual event honors Barton Springs and the August 8, 1992 vote for the SOS ordinance.

We will have snorkel tours, live music, a diving competition and "Barton Springs University" talks and panel presentations on the past, present, and future of our region's water resources.

Hope to see you there!   

 

Please donate today to help us fend off the latest attacks on the SOS ordinance from developers, state legislators, and some city staff.   

As the summer heat kicks in, join us early and often for a plunge into the crystal clear, refreshing waters of Barton Springs. Spring flows are low, down to 21.5 cubic feet per second, but the aquifer is settled and spring flows are especially clear. Grab a snorkel or goggles and check out the fish, underwater flowering plants, and look for the elusive freshwater eel that calls the pool home. 

The drought is real so please conserve water at every opportunity. Observe the City's one-day per week watering schedule. Make sure your indoor and outdoor water systems are free of leaks. Now is a great time to consider a more water-efficient, drought tolerant landscape. Identify plants and turf grass areas that could be converted to native, water saving landscapes and let the summer heat and drought help you prepare for making your landscape changes in the fall.

Join Us for Special Events at Barton Springs

SOS continues to host free yoga at the back gate of Barton Springs every Saturday morning at 9:30 through July.  Find us in the shade of the great Mother Pecan.  . . .  Mark your calendar for Saturday August 10, 2013 for Barton Springs Fest - a full day of fun, music, refreshments, and outdoor education at Barton Springs. Last month the Austin City Council passed a resolution establishing the second Saturday of every August as Barton Springs Fest day, in commemoration of the August 8, 1992 voter approval of Austin's Save Our Springs citizen-initiative ordinance.  Watch for more details soon . . .  And look for us at the front and back gates of Barton Springs at varying times educating swimmers  on how they (you) can help protect Barton Springs.

Donate (or sell us cheap) a water education truck

SOS needs a small truck to haul our t-shirts, educational materials, folding tables, shade canopy, and other outreach supplies to Barton Springs and various special events. If you have one to donate, or to sell to us for cheap, please let give us a call at 477-2320 or contact Bill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Quick Water News Updates

As reported on the front page of the Statesman yesterday, State Senator Dan Patrick of Houston has introduced a bill in the Special Session of the Texas Legislature that would override the Austin, voter-approved Save Our Springs ordinance. Thankfully, the bill has little chance of passage during the short and limited special session. 

We again extend our sincerest thanks to State Representative Lon Burnam of Fort Worth for blocking one of the very worst water bills of the 2013 regular session. Rep. Burnam also co-sponsored and passed key water conservation legislation.

Read more HERE

 Please consider a summer donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

Barton Springs Fest Set for Second Saturday in AugustBS University

Yesterday the Austin City Council voted to establish the second Saturday of August as "Barton Springs Fest" day.  The now annual event was launched last year as a 20th anniversary celebration of Austin voters approving the Save Our Springs ordinance on August 8, 1992.  Festivities take place at Barton Springs, including "Barton Springs University" panel discussions and teaching sessions, live music, poetry, film, guided hikes and swims, and, of course, lots of cold watermelon. Special thanks go to Councilmembers Laura Morrison, Chris Riley, and Kathie Tovo for sponsoring the council resolution establishing the annual event.  Stay tuned for more details. Read the resolution here. 

Bad Water Legislation Update

The good news is that the multiple bills by Rep. Paul Workman of southwest Travis County to further expand grandfathering and prohibit cities and counties from protecting watersheds failed to pass.  Another bad Workman water bill, which would have created a Trojan horse groundwater district in western Travis County, passed the House but Rep. Workman failed to convince any Senator to carry the bill on the Senate side.  Read more here. 

Jeremiah Venture proposal to spray sewage on the Barton Springs recharge zone set for hearing

SOS Alliance and the City of Austin have been fighting for more than six years a request by developers Lee Weber and Sean Breedlove for a TCEQ permit to spray irrigate treated sewage directly on the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.  The proposed wastewater treatment facility and the planned 1200 home development it would serve are both located immediately adjacent to City of Austin watershed protection lands on Onion Creek.  If approved, it would be the first permit granted for irrigation on the recharge zone. Read more here.

new yogaSOS Yoga at the Springs SaturdayBrendan Bell

Join us Saturday, 9:30 - 10:30 am outside the back gate of the pool off Robert E. Lee near the 2nd parking lot this Saturday for our yoga session this week. Please bring your own mat. The instructor for May 25th is Brendan Bell from CorePower Yoga 

 Brendan was first hooked by Bikram Yoga in the 90s when living in San Francisco. The physical challenge was intense but what really captured him was the powerful mind-body connection he found in this form of exercise. After years of sporadic practice, Brendan was introduced to Vinyasa at CorePower Yoga in 2002, and he has had a dedicated practice ever since. He is a very optimistic person, who believes in our own power to choose a happy life.

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Grand opening benefits SOS and other local charities

EcoClean has opened their second Austin location on West Anderson Lane and is celebrating with a week of giving to their community partners! Visit their new store at 2436 West Anderson Lane any day next week and 35% of what you spend goes directly back to SOS, Keep Austin Beautiful, KOOP Radio, and Urban Roots!  Come to the grand opening happy hour on Thursday May 30th, 4 - 6PM to meet the non-profit partners, enter a drawing for $100 of EcoClean services, enjoy free beverages, chair massage and other giveaways!

Please consider a donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.