Dear Friend of the Hill Country,
While we have been blessed with recent rains, the threats to our Hill Country home waters seem never-ending. Our hands here at Save Our Springs Alliance are full.
Please, if you are able, make a generous tax-deductible donation to SOS today. Now, perhaps more than ever, we need your support for our work protecting our water, our parks, and the native wildlife that depends on them.
Our small team of advocates, educators, and scientists are working right now on these projects to protect our home here in the heart of Texas.
*Earlier this year we won a landmark court ruling prohibiting treated sewage from being discharged to Onion Creek and the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer. But lawyers for the State and Dripping Springs have appealed. If we win again Barton Creek, Onion Creek, and all of our Hill Country streams will be protected from wastewater discharges. The appellate briefs are filed, and the case will be argued in January.
*Meanwhile, SOS joined with 21 other conservation groups last month to petition the EPA to force the TCEQ (our state EPA-equivalent) to stop it’s systematic failure to protect our state’s high quality and pristine waters, from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. TCEQ’s consistent failure to protect our crystal-clear Hill Country streams and springs is Exhibit A in this petition to EPA.
*This summer Austin launched the Zilker Park Vision Plan process – which will determine if Zilker becomes more park, and less pavement, or is further paved and privatized. Special interests are pushing hard to convert Zilker and our other parks into profit centers.
To counter these pressures, SOS, with support from the Zilker, Barton Hills, and Bouldin Creek neighborhood associations, commissioned a Rewilding Zilker Park plan. This plan would restore riparian woodlands and shaded areas to large areas of Zilker Park that are mostly unusable during hot summer months. And we are working with allies across the City to protect our public trust park lands from further development. Check out the Rewilding Zilker Park plan on our website – and please donate to help us protect Zilker Park from further commercial development.
* We are growing our Barton Springs University Educational Program with a new "Park-nership" with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Barton Springs University is now a year-round series of educational events, snorkeling eco-tours, and summer camps, highlighted by a full day of outdoor learning at Barton Springs Pool in September. Your donation will help us educate and activate the next generation of activists and stewards of our local environment. You can learn more and view our 2020 Virtual BSU Day at www.BartonSpringsUniversity.org.
*Just two weeks ago our local toll road authority resurrected its 2013 proposal to add 4 toll lanes to south Mopac, from Cesar Chavez to Slaughter Lane, with a double-decker toll bridge over Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake and Austin High School. With your help SOS defeated the original (ghastly) plan, and with your help we will do it again.
*In September Austin scientists detected toxic cyanobacteria in a pool at Sculpture Falls. With warming temperatures, SOS’s legal and policy advocacy will help keep nutrient pollution that feeds toxic algae growth out of our lakes, streams, and springs.
*SOS staff attorneys, working with the San Marcos River Foundation, Texas River Protection Association, Protect Our Blanco, and others have just this year stopped or slowed proposals to discharge treated sewage into the Blanco and San Marcos rivers, Barton Creek, Onion Creek, and other Hill Country streams.
*When developers this summer announced a large project on the banks of the Pedernales River, just across from the spectacular Hamilton Pool Preserve, SOS joined with local scientists to petition the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Pedernales River springs salamander as endangered. The salamander is only found in small springs along the river, most of which are near or within the proposed river front development. Pollution and pumping of surface and groundwater to serve the proposed project threaten both the salamander and a freshwater mussel found in the river.
And other threats, like the proposed 20,000 seat Violet Crown amphitheater project above Barton Creek, seem to pop up every week. We know what to do, but we literally cannot do this work without your continued and generous support.
Please donate today either with a one-time or a recurring gift. Use the enclosed envelope or donate online at SOSAlliance.org. Please also consider donating appreciated stock and/or including SOS Alliance in your planned giving.
Thank you for your consideration and if you have any questions, please feel free to email Bill@SOSAlliance.org or Pat@sosalliance.org.
With our warm wishes for a happy holiday season,
Bill Bunch Pat Brodnax
for SOS Alliance Board and Staff
P.S. Please view and bid on locally sourced arts, crafts, and services offered in our new Virtual Silent Auction, which opens on November 15th and closes on December 6th. Go to: www.32auctions.com/saveoursprings
P.S.S. With the pandemic we will again miss our annual holiday party, but please join us at Barton Springs for the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Splash. The pool was closed last year, New Year’s Day, but we will make up for the lost fun this year with a covid-safe plunge and our traditional coffee, donuts, event t-shirts, and general merriment.