Our Work

Since 1979, the Save Barton Creek Association has worked to preserve our natural heritage through our public education, advocacy, and conservation programs.

Save Barton Creek Association is a nonprofit citizen group working to protect and conserve the six watersheds of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer (Barton, Bear, Little Bear, Onion, Slaughter and Williamson). SBCA incorporated in September 1979 in response to community concerns about the impact of urbanization on Barton Creek and Barton Springs. SBCA has been one of the lead conservation organizations in Austin working to ensure that future generations may enjoy the cool, clean waters of Barton Springs.

 

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Education

  • Host monthly Creek Crew Happy Hours. This monthly meet-ups allow members and the general public to keep up with SBCA and learn from our guest lecturers.
  • Host hikes and volunteer opportunities. We lead 1-2 guided interpretive hikes per month through our meet-up.com group. We also invite community members to volunteer opportunities such as clean-ups of the greenbelt.
  • Conduct field trips of the Barton Creek Greenbelt for youth and adults. SBCA leads tours along Barton Creek. For more information about tours or group volunteer opportunities, email us at sbca@savebartoncreek.org.
  • Work with partner Texas River School to bring 250 underserved children and youth to Barton Creek and Barton Springs. In 2016, SBCA helped develop a new program with the River School called “Find and Capture” which teaches children about navigation and documentation of nature.
  • Develop and distribute informational materials such as Hill Country Oasis, an educational booklet which outlines the ecology and geography of the Edwards Aquifer, Barton Creek, and Barton Springs.
  • Educational improvements at Goat Cave Karst Preserve. The preserve contains three important recharge features(caves) to the Edwards Aquifer. As part of an Austin Parks Foundation grant, we are installing a new kiosk, new signs to be produced with the help of University of Texas’s Bureau of Economic Geology and the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, and benches. The grant will be complete by March 2017.

 

Advocacy

Although our non-profit status prevents us from advocating directly for specific candidates, we make every attempt to ensure that the public and our elected officials understand how political and policy choices impact our environment.

  • Educate citizens through the #NoDrippingSewage Campaign. SBCA spread the word about a 2016 direct discharge proposal by City of Dripping Springs sewage into Onion Creek. This proposal would significantly lower water quality in Onion Creek, the aquifer, and Barton Springs. We supported allied nonprofits Protect Our Water and Clean Water Action on this issue. With research, we framed SBCA’s role within this issue, developed a specific media campaign, holding a public rally at Barton Springs Pool, and gaining Austin City Council and media attention.
  • CodeNEXT. Provide guidance to the City of Austin’s land development code rewrite
  • City Council Questionnaire and Forum – For several years, SBCA has joined with other local environmental groups to produce a comprehensive environmental questionnaire for City Council candidates. We also invite candidates to participate in a public forum in front of hundreds of potential voters. This work allows voters to make better informed decisions at the ballot box.
  • EcoChange ExChange – In 2009, we participated in a grass-roots effort to understand what environmental policies Austinites want to see enacted by their elected officials. Over 300 people attended, producing a comprehensive policy document we delivered to the City Council.
  • CAMPO 2035 Plan – As supporters of the ideals behind the Envision Central Texas project, we have asked CAMPO to prioritize urban and mass transit projects over the traditional suburban sprawl model.

 

Conservation

SBCA has always advocated for increased conservation, whether it be for sensitive environmental lands or scarce natural resources.

  • Conservation Lands – SBCA directly holds several conservation easements over the Edwards aquifer. We also support the efforts of groups like the Hill Country Conservancy and the City of Austin to acquire such easements and properties.
  • Shudde Fath Tract Trail. Through channeling uses we would like to see on this property, we will cut down on illegal dumping and behavior on this watershed protection parcel. The proposed trail would allow public access to an area where none is currently allowed and create a connection with the Barton Creek Greenbelt.