Archived Newsletters

mother earth day Mother Earth Day Festival at the Springs

Come join in at the  "Mother Earth Day at the Springs," tomorrow at Zilker Park right across from the Hillside Theater, next to Barton Springs. Hundreds of school children will descend upon this fun and educational festival beginning at 9AM and going 'til 1PM.  

SOS will have endangered species activity tables and will be giving out our new endangered species t-shirts to the kids.  Free and open to the public.  

SOS Yoga at the Springs  yoga ashley

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 second yoga session of the summer. Please bring your own mat.  

Instructor for Saturday is Ashley C. from  Austin Kula Yoga.

Ashley is a native Austinite who specializes in Forrest, Vinyasa and children's yoga.  Students can expect an intense practice filled with pranayama, meditation, heat-building postures and the sweetness of flexibility and relaxation.  

She received her first 200-hour Vinyasa certification through YogaWorksu in Boston and completed the Forrest Yoga 200-hour foundation training with in Chicago.

 Please consider a donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

Yoga at the Springs Starts Tomorrow

Saturday, May 11th
9:30 - 10:30 am (note new time)

Join us outside the back gate of the pool off Robert E. Lee near the 2nd parking lot this Saturday for our first Yoga session of the summer. If it is raining at 8:30 am we will cancel. Please bring your own mat.  The yoga series continues every Saturday through July.

amyyoga Instructor for May 11th is Amy Y. from Austin Kula Yoga.

Amy has practiced yoga most of her adult life; mainly as a compliment to sports. As a lifetime runner, cyclist, swimmer and competitive triathlete she came to realize that yoga is a perfect compliment to repetitive motion sports.  Amy became certified through The Living Yoga Program in 2006 and earned her 500 hour yoga certification through Castle Hill Fitness.  Amy guides her students to explore, be adventurous, and discover their own inner teacher.  

 

Water Conservation Report Releasedread and leak

In 2011, environmental writer Paul Robbins released a report on the many problems with Austin's water conservation program entitled "Read It and Leak."  He has just released an update, which can be found HERE

Unfortunately, most of the problems identified two years ago are still occurring.  These include overstated savings, under-performing programs, and underspent budgets.  The report identified 20 specific corrective actions that should be taken. This report was partially funded by the SOS Alliance.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Don't forgot Mom this week-end. And please remember Mother Earth -- consider  a tax-deductible donation to SOS Alliance.

BAD WATER BILLS UPDATE  

As previously reported, State Rep. Paul Workman of western Travis County has led the charge to gut local control over land use and watershed protection.  Thankfully, most of these efforts have been stymied.  However, his HB 3088 is still alive.  It would grant developers the right to sue cities for damages whenever a city refuses a developer request to be grandfathered to older, weaker development rules.   The current law only allows suits for injunctive, non-monetary relief. 

Rep. Workman is also still pushing HB 890, which would create the "Hill Country Regional Water Authority."  This new entity would take over operations of the old LCRA water system serving Dripping Springs, the US290West corridor, and the Bee Cave/71West/West Lake Travis area.  SOS, many western Travis and northern Hays county residents and ratepayers, and several of the water districts that are wholesale customers of the proposed regional water authority have opposed the bill.  We are demanding that the bill provide for an elected board and include language in the bill that would protect current ratepayers from being forced to pay for system expansions that would only serve new development further out into the Hill Country.

Today the Travis County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 to oppose the bill as long as there was not an elected board.  The Dripping Springs Water Supply Corp. and Hays County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, which serves the Belterra  subdivision, have also opposed the bill as not protecting current wholesale and retail customers. 

Finally, Rep. Workman's HB 2640 would create a groundwater conservation district in western Travis County.  Normally we would strongly support such a bill.  Many Groundwater Conservation Districts are doing a good job of managing limited groundwater supplies.  But Rep. Workman's bill would create a toothless district that would, primarily, disrupt groundwater protection measures adopted by Travis County. 

If you haven't already, contact Rep. Workman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call his office at 512-463-0652, to thank him for pulling down HB3087 and urge him to pull down HB 890, HB 2640 and HB 3088 as well.

 

ygaSOS Yoga at the Springs
Saturday, May 11th
9:30 - 10:30 am (note new time)

Join us outside the back gate of the pool off Robert E. Lee near the 2nd parking lot this Saturday for our first Yoga session of the summer.  Please bring your own mat.   

Instructor for May 11th is Amy Y. from Austin Kula Yoga.

The yoga series continues through July.


Please consider a donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

Just when our most vulnerable Hill Country water supplies need more protection, not less, a few Austin area state representatives have sponsored legislation that would lead to more pollution and overpumping - while also forcing existing water ratepayers to bankroll boondoggle water projects.

State Rep. Paul Workman of western Travis County has led the charge, along with State Rep. Jason Isaac, representing Hays and Blanco counties.   If either of these gentlemen represent you, we need your help calling and writing them and educating all of your friends, family and the media on what they are doing.  Once exposed, Reps. Workman and Isaac will have no choice but to drop or amend their legislation to protect our water, not ruin it.

Last week we asked SOS friends in western Travis and Hays and Blanco counties to contact Reps. Workman and Isaac to oppose HB 3087, a bill by Rep. Workman that would gut the SOS ordinance and every other local ordinance that limits development to less than 50 percent impervious cover.  To his credit, Rep. Workman pulled this bill down from a scheduled committee hearing.  (Thank you!)

This week we ask you to contact Rep. Workman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call his office at 512-463-0652, to thank him for pulling down HB3087 and urge him to pull down HB 890 and HB 2640 as well.  If you live in Hays or Blanco County, please write or call Rep. Isaac to urge him to drop his HB 3918.  Representative Isaac can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 512-463-0647.Here is a short summary of these "bad, bad thang" water bills.

Please consider a donation or monthly pledge to SOS today.

 Join us tonight for a special screening of "The Unforeseen"

7p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Slaughter Lane

Director Laura Dunn and SOS Executive Director Bill Bunch will be there afterward to join in a discussion of current development issues in the Barton Springs watershed. 

Directed by Austinite Laura Dunn and Executive produced by Robert Redford and Terrence Malick, the film centers around the story of Circle C developer Gary Bradley's fight with Save Our Springs leaders in the 1990s and early 2000s. See the trailer here.

This powerful work of art will make you laugh, cry, and think in new ways about how we live and what we are doing to our home town, our home planet, and our home waters. Dunn shows the recent history of Austin in a way that challenges us to reclaim our future.  

 Seating is limited. Reserve seats HERE.

 

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photo by Will van Overbeek

Hike a nearby trail, ride your bike to Barton Springs or your neighborhood park, snorkel the Springs and see the giant bass and underwater flowers.  We could not ask for better weather this fine 24th annual Earth Day. 

See the new Tim de Christopher documentary at Alamo Lake Creek tonight at 8:00.   This is not an SOS sponsored event, but some of us will be there to see Tim's story told on the big screen. (details below)   

Join us and the South Mopac Neighbors' Alliance for a screening of The Unforeseen, Laura Dunn's award-winning documentary on Barton Springs and Austin as a microcosm of global development, this Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Alamo Slaughter Lane.  Laura will be there afterward to join in a discussion of current development issues in the Barton Springs watershed.   (details below) 

While much has been done to protect Barton Springs, the threats continue to grow with urban development and a changing climate.  Last week the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District declared a Stage III "Critical" drought for the third time in five years.  The declaration was triggered as Barton Springs flows fell to 24 cubic feet per second.  Those with pumping permits (serving about 50,000 people in southern Travis and northern Hays counties) must now reduce pumping by 30 percent.  The worsening drought comes on the heels of a year of slightly higher than average rain fall.  Recent rains have done little to recharge the aquifer or refill the Highland Lakes.  Reducing pumping from the Barton Springs Edwards and transitioning to a water efficient economy are our only solutions to extended drought and a climate that is predicted to grow hotter and drier. 

The hotter part is already here and the drier part may be as well.  Nationally, temperatures have increased an average of 0.435 °F per decade since the first Earth Day in 1970.  This is triple the average increase of 0.127 °F per decade from 1910 to 2012.   Texas has gotten hotter at slightly above the average national increase.   The slow motion nature of global climate disruption continues to prevent effective action at the local, national or global scale.  We encourage SOS supporters to join 350.org, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign and other groups working to reduce carbon emissions. 

And to help keep the Soul of Our City clear and flowing for our children and grandchildren, please consider making an Earth Day donation or monthly pledge to Save Our Springs Alliance today.

Tonight, April 22nd, 8 pmbidder 70
Special Screening of "BIDDER 70"
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek 

BIDDER 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability.In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.  Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon. Redefine justice for yourself. Official Website  http://www.bidder70film.com/

Get BIDDER 70 Tickets Through Alamo or SOS: To reserve seats for tonight click HERE to order tickets or HERE through SOS.  The BIDDER 70 official website shows that it is sold out and it is not.

Wednesday April 24th, 7PM
Special Screening of  "The Unforeseen"
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Slaughter Lane 

Directed by Austinite Laura Dunn, the film tells the story of growth in Austin and the movement to save Barton Springs. This powerful work of art will make you laugh, cry, and think in new ways about how we live and what we are doing to our home town, our home planet, and our home waters. Dunn shows the recent history of Austin in a way that challenges us to reclaim our future.

 

Seating is limited.  Order tickets HERE.    

Celebrate Earth Day with us this Sunday, Monday and/or next Wednesday. And, if you live in western Travis County or Hays or Blanco Counties, email your state representative today or over the weekend and tell them to OPPOSE House Bill 3087, which would prohibit Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio from protecting the Edwards Aquifer and managing growth in vulnerable, Hill Country watersheds.

Sunday, Aprilcarbon footprint 21st , 2pm - "Carbon FootPrint" Event
Lady Bird Lake East Side, 2401 Lakeshore Blvd.

An Austin World Beat Performance of poetry, music & dances offered by Daniel Llanes w/"For the Love Of It." Join artists, neighborhoods & environmental groups to bring awareness to conscious living and environmental stewardship.   "Carbon FootPrint" is produced by Dances For The World, co sponsored by Mexic-Arte Museum & the City of Austin Cultural Contracts Division,  PODER, SOS Alliance, Sierra Club, Austin Parks Foundation, Austin Parks & Rec. Dept. and Texas FolkLife.  The event celebrates the closure of the Holly Power Plant in East Austin.

bidder 70 Monday, April 22nd, 8 pm - Screening of "BIDDER 70"
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek 

BIDDER 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability.In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.  Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon. Redefine justice for yourself. Official Website  http://www.bidder70film.com/

Wednesday April 24th, 7pm -  Screening of  "The Unforeseen"
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Slaughter Lane

Directed by Austinite Laura Dunn, the film tells the story of growth in Austin and the movement to save Barton Springs. This powerful work of art will make you laugh, cry, and think in new ways about how we live and what we are doing to our home town, our home planet, and our home waters. Dunn shows the recent history of Austin in a way that challenges us to reclaim our future. 

Seating is limited. Order tickets HERE.

 

STOP House Bill 3087 --

Starting now and thru Monday, if you live in western Travis County, write to your State Representative, Paul Workman, and tell him to withdraw his House Bill 3087 as a terrible attack on local control, the Edwards Aquifer, and Hill Country watershed protection.  The bill is set to be heard by the House Land & Resource Management Committee at 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

If passed, the bill would prohibit cities from limiting development to less than 50 percent impervious cover without paying the landowner for any reduced development potential.  Cities all over Texas, through zoning and watershed protection rules, regularly limit development to much lower levels as a way to manage growth and protect vulnerable watersheds.  Ask Representative Workman if he knows that the TCEQ recognizes that the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer is more vulnerable to pollution than any other aquifer in Texas. Ask him if he knows Rollingwood, Westlake, Bee Caves, Lakeway, San Marcos, San Antonio, and many other cities limit development to levels much less than 50 percent impervious cover.   In fact, standard subdivisions typically have 30 to 45 percent impervious cover.  Ask him exactly who he is representing in sponsoring this bill?

Notably, the bill does not call for landowners to pay cities when cities build roads, water and sewer lines, and extend electric service in ways that make their land skyrocket in value.

You can reach Representative Workman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call his office at 512-463-0652.

If you live in Hays or Blanco County, please write or call your representative, Jason Isaac, and tell him to oppose HB3087 and urge him to tell Representative Workman and the House Land & Resource Management committee members to oppose the bill. Representative Isaac can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 512-463-0647. Tell him that protecting local control and the Edwards Aquifer is not negotiable and should be defended at every turn, not attacked by state legislation.

Please join SOS today...

We need your help to support our watchdog efforts that protect our local treasure - Barton Springs. If you are able, please make a  tax-deductible donation or a monthly pledge to SOS.  

carbon footprintSunday, April 21st , 2PM
"Carbon FootPrint" Event"
Lady Bird Lake East Side, 2401 Lakeshore Blvd.

An Austin World Beat Performance of poetry, music & dances offered by Daniel Llanes w/"For the Love Of It." 

Join artists, neighborhoods & environmental groups to bring awareness to conscious living and environmental stewardship.  Bring a blanket or lawn chair, a picnic basket, and friends and family.  

"Carbon FootPrint" is produced by Dances For The World, co sponsored by Mexic-Arte Museum & the City of Austin Cultural Contracts Division,  PODER, SOS Alliance, Sierra Club, Austin Parks Foundation, Austin Parks & Rec. Dept. and Texas FolkLife.  

The event celebrates the closure of the Holly Power Plant in East Austin.

Monday, April 22nd, 8PMbidder 70 Special Screening of "BIDDER 70"
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek 

At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow...  - Tim DeChristopher 

BIDDER 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability.In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.  Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon. Redefine justice for yourself. Official Website  http://www.bidder70film.com/

Wednesday April 24th, 7PM
Special Screening of  "The Unforeseen"
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Slaughter Lane

Directed by Austinite Laura Dunn, the film tells the story of growth in Austin and the movement to save Barton Springs. This powerful work of art will make you laugh, cry, and think in new ways about how we live and what we are doing to our home town, our home planet, and our home waters. Dunn shows the recent history of Austin in a way that challenges us to reclaim our future.

Seating is limited. Order tickets HERE.    

Please join SOS today...

We need your help to support our watchdog efforts that protect our local treasure - Barton Springs. If you are able, please make a  tax-deductible donation or a monthly pledge to SOS.

back trailPool Grounds Improvements Approved

Late last Thursday night the Austin City Council approved moving forward with the Barton Springs grounds improvements on a unanimous vote.
 
Before the vote, Councilmember and regular Barton Springs swimmer Laura Morrison amended the proposal to move the controversial path and overlook from the South Lawn to a spot immediately adjacent to the existing south path down to the pool.
 
Previously, with persistent efforts by Barton Springs swimmers and SOS members, several bad ideas for the south side pushed by city consultants and staff were eliminated.These included expanded parking; a large, garish ornamental gate; a steel bar, ornamental fence; a relocated south gate; an "art in public places" installation inside the pool area; and two or three paved access routes that made no sense.  

back gate The proposal still raises unanswered questions about impacts to the historic district and unexcavated archeological resources that cover the site. Nothing is provided to improve day-to-day maintenance and care of the heritage trees and pool ground landscaping. More bike racks are needed, along with a comprehensive shrinking and redesign of the south side parking. On the plus side, over 100 trees will be planted along with other native plant landscaping. 

Special thanks go to Councilmember Morrison, her aides Barbara Rush and Donna Tiemann, Roy Waley of the Austin Sierra Club, and the SOS summer outreach team who engaged swimmers at the back gate to speak out and petition against the worst of the proposals for Disney-fying the south side. We thank every SOS member who attended a meeting, wrote a letter or email to the city, or signed a petition favoring a restoration (rather than a development) approach to springs grounds. Read the Statesman coverage of the story HERE

Wimberley Valley Watershed Association defends Jacob's Well spring, helps protect Barton Springs

Check out Austin American-Statesman reporter Asher Price's excellent report on the work of Wimberley Valley Watershed Association to protect the quality and quantity of spring flows at Jacob's Well spring. The spring flows into Cypress Creek west of Wimberley, then to the Blanco River, where it then recharges the Edwards Aquifer.  During times of drought, a significant portion of this recharge flows to Barton Springs. This is a "must read" piece for SOS members and friends. SOS works in partnership with WVWA whenever possible and especially encourage our members in Hays County to support WVWA's work.

carbon footprint

Earth Day Week Events!

Sunday, April 21st ~ "Carbon FootPrint." 

An Austin World Beat Performance of Poetry, Music & Dances offered by Daniel Llanes w/"For the Love Of It" Lady Bird Lake East Side, 2401 Lakeshore Blvd.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair, a picnic basket, and friends and family. "Carbon FootPrint" is produced by Dances For The World, co sponsored by Mexic-Arte Museum & the City of Austin Cultural Contracts Division,  PODER, SOS, Sierra Club, Austin Parks Foundation, Austin Parks & Rec. Dept. and Texas FolkLife. The event celebrates the closure of the Holly Power Plant in East Austin.

Wednesday April 24th, 7pm ~ A special screening of "The Unforeseen"

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Slaughter Lane. Directed by Austinite Laura Dunn, the film tells the story of growth in Austin and the movement to save Barton Springs. This powerful work of art will make you laugh, cry, and think in new ways about how we live and what we are doing to our home town, our home planet, and our home waters. Dunn shows the recent history of Austin in a way that challenges us to reclaim our future. Seating is limited. Order tickets HERE.    

Please make a donation to SOS today...

We need your help to support our watchdog efforts that protect our local treasure - Barton Springs. If you are able, please make a  tax-deductible donation or a monthly pledge to SOS.

new poolTomorrow, Thursday April 11 at 4:00 p.m. or later, the Austin City Council will hold a public hearing on proposed "Barton Springs Grounds Improvements." This is Agenda Item 82. Please attend to voice your opinion about the changes coming to Barton Springs pool.   

While relentless input from SOS members, regular swimmers and others has substantially improved the staff's proposed plan, we still need to urge council to reduce impervious cover and pull all 3 of the south side parking lots back from Barton Creek. Current plans only deal piecemeal with the parking lot closest to the back gate. That parking lot will be pulled back closer to Robert E. Lee and paved to reduce dust and erosion, with only a very slight decrease in overall impervious cover.  

We also need to remind council that improving pool grounds will be meaningless if we do not protect the quality and quantity of spring flows. City efforts to protect spring flows and prevent pollution need council attention, especially in light of the recent zombie grandfather ordinance approval.  

View the staff backup information HERE by clicking on agenda item #82 and then the pdf supporting documents to the right. View other concerns and questions about the plan HERE. If you cannot attend, send one email to council HERE.

We will post an updates on our facebook page regarding actual starting time. There is free parking under the city hall building.       

Also at City Council this Thursday

Item 45 proposes taking the next step to removing Austin Energy from direct supervision of City Council to an independent board. Our friends in renewable energy and conservation are opposing the move as reducing accountability of Austin Energy to voters and ratepayers. Please join in supporting them.

Mcarbon footprintark your calendars for these Earth Day week events!

April 21st ~ SOS sponsors "Carbon Footprint." Earth Day event. See details HERE

April 24th, 7pm ~ Screening  of "The Unforeseen."at the Alamo Slaughter. Details to come.

Please make a donation to SOS today...

We need your help to support our watchdog efforts that protect our local treasure - Barton Springs. If you are able, please make a  tax-deductible donation or a monthly pledge to SOS.  Click here to donate online.