Save Barton Creek Association is committed to protecting water quality on Barton Creek, Barton Springs, the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer, and watersheds across Austin and the surrounding Hill Country. Our participation in City policy such as watershed protection ordinances and land development regulations is a significant piece of this effort.
Water Quality in our creeks and in Barton Springs varies throughout the year. Barton Creek has remained relatively clean thanks to land protections and other policies protecting the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer. However, in certain conditions water quality issues such as algae blooms can arise. Barton Springs has periodically closed due to water quality concerns such as bacteria. Other creeks in Austin suffer more pollution from urbanization.
Our water quality is degraded by point and non-point source pollution. Point source pollution is something easily tracked to a specific location, for example a wastewater treatment plan or industry.
Green Stormwater Infrustructure
Austin requires larger developments to treat for water quality. SBCA supports using more green stormwater infrustructure (GSI) throughout our City as a water quality control and for the additional benefits. GSI can be features such as rain gardens, green roofs and bioswales. Learn more here.
Non-point source pollution is an equally serious concern and requires the responsibility of everyone to keep under control. Rains wash pollutants from yards and roadways into the creeks and aquifer. You can do your part by minimizing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizer, cleaning up after your pets, and disposing properly of chemicals such as paint and automotive supplies. Loose sediment caused by construction activities can also be washed into the streams. If you live near a creek, extra care should be taken to avoid pollution.
Save Our Springs Ordinance
In 1992, the Save Our Springs Ordinance (SOS) was adopted by citizen initiative. The ordinance, applied throughout the Barton Springs Zone, required: non-degradation (based on total average annual loading), and lowered impervious cover to 15 percent impervious surface area for all development in the recharge zone, 20 percent impervious surface area for development in the Barton Creek portion of the contributing zone and 25 percent impervious surface area for development in the remaining portions of the contributing zone in Williamson, Slaughter, Bear, Little Bear and Onion Creeks. Since the adoption of the SOS ordinance several other watershed ordinances have been adopted. You can learn more here.
Personally, if I have to fight for this country, I will not fight for the flag, or the American “way of life,” or democracy, or private enterprise or for any other abstractions, which seem cold as kraut to me. But I will fight to the last ditch for Barton Creek, Boggy Creek, cedar covered limestone hills, Blazing star and Bluebonnets, Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos, and so on through a catalogue of this natural environment of Austin, Texas. It is through this natural environment of Austin, Texas, that I love America.