Bill Oliver’s Mother Earth Day Festival

Bill’s annual Mother Earth Day festival will be September 15th this year. This is the 16th year that we’ve had families and lovers of Barton Springs come together to celebrate the end of summer and the start of the school year. Bill the “Environmental Troubadour” has reminded us year after year to  fight for what we love with a passion in our hearts. Come to Barton Springs on September 15th from 9am to 1pm for music, Hula Hoops, pirates, art, magic, science exhibits, and smiles. For more information: Mother Earth Day Website

To donate to the Mother Earth Day Festival or Save Barton Creek Association click Donate 

Save Our Springs 25th Anniversary!

It has been 25 years since our momentous group effort to protect our beloved Barton Springs. We want all of our SBCA members to come to the South Entrance “big tree” on August 8th from 8pm to 9pm. We will be watching “Common Ground” a documentary by Karen Kocher. This occasion will help organizers of old reaffirm their belief in protecting Barton Springs and its surrounding watersheds. Invite the uninitiated so they can become educated in our battle to protect Barton Springs. Bring a chair or blanket. Also come swim before the showing or stay afterwards for a free-swim!.


Save Barton Creek Association strives to be an objective opinion on Austin’s development in regards to water quality and green space integrity. Our organization analyzes Austin’s CodeNEXT zoning code to determine the cities ability to protect our creeks, rivers and watersheds.

Read More:

CodeNEXT Community Viewpoints Paper

It’s My Park Day! March 4th


Join Save Barton Creek Association on this family friendly adventure as we make final improvements to Goat Cave Karst Preserve. This is a year-long project funded by an Austin Parks Foundation Grant. We will be installing any remaining interpretive signs and benches, defining the educational area around the new kiosk, and creating a trail extension. March 4th at 10am  Register here!

Tools, water, and snacks will be provided, but try and bring your own gloves if you have them.


All volunteers will receive a SBCA water bottle.

Parking Details: You may park on Coastal Drive; Walk into preserve from Davis Lane until you see us!


Recent Aquifer Study Shows New Data for Recharge Water

The new aquifer study “Stream Recharge Water Balance for the Barton Springs Segment of the Edwards Aquifer” was published in December 2016. The study recalculates the amount of contributions of recharge into the aquifer. The new study found the contributions of local rivers and creeks are:

  • Onion Creek: 32.6%
  • Barton Creek: < 10.5%
  • Slaughter Creek: 7.2%
  • Bear Creek: 6.2%
  • Blanco River: 6%
  • Little Bear Creek: 3.9%
  • Williamson Creek: 1%

These percentages only account for 56-67% of total groundwater recharge, 17% of which is stream autogenic recharge. Autogenic recharge means a concentrated flow into large fractures, caves and sinkholes. Upland autogenic recharge accounts for 33-44%.

According to prior tests, upland autogenic recharge only accounted for 15% of recharge. This means that water flowing directly from karst land in the recharge zones is playing a far bigger role in the recharge of Edwards Aquifer than expected.

The karst landscape is largely composed of hole-ridden limestone rock that allow water to easily percolate through the terrain and into the aquifer. Precipitation that falls on the recharge zone flows directly into the aquifer. This study illustrates the importance of proper environmental practices even when the area isn’t directly next to a water body.

SBCA Receives $48,800 TPWD Grant

On May 2nd, SBCA received a $48,800 CO-OP grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife to work with long-time partner Texas River School on a program to serve over 250 underserved children and youth. The program, H2O Above and Below, will take students from canoeing on the Colorado River to snorkeling at Barton Springs and taking underwater photographs in Barton Creek.


Over the course of the summer, SBCA will be working with Texas River School staff and volunteers to lead students on 24 trips: 16 half-day and 8 full-day excursions. In the River Sense class, students will learn basic water safety from a trained guide, then will embark on canoes on the Colorado River. In the Discover the Source class, students will visit the Splash! Exhibit and snorkel in Barton Springs Pool (the most daring will dive down to “discover” the springs that feed the pool).  In the Find and Capture class, students will learn the basics of compass orienteering, then kayak on Barton Creek with digital underwater cameras and a photo-scavenger hunt list.

We will be looking for volunteers for these trips! To sign up for volunteer alerts, register for our e-newsletter.

Thank you to our partners at Texas River School, Rowing Dock, Texas Rowing Center, City of Austin Watershed Protection, photographer Anthony Maddaloni, and Foundation Communities.

SBCA Embarks on New Trail Project

SBCA and a stakeholder group comprised of City of Austin departments & nonprofit and community groups plan to apply for grant funding this year to build a sustainable trail on City Water Quality Protection Lands named after Austin icon Shudde Fath.

For more information, watch an interview with our Director of Development and Community Relations, Olivia Hayden, or visit our Shudde Fath Trail Page for questions and answers about the project.

We are currently in the planning and early fundraising stage of the project. For more information about business sponsorships and partnerships, please contact



#AmplifyBartonCreek on March 8th

SBCA needs your help during this year’s Amplify Austin campaign. Water is scarce, and as population booms in Central Texas, our precious resources are at risk. Save Barton Creek Association has been working to protect these resources and educate our community for more than 35 years.

Your gift contributes to educational programs like interpretive signage, youth & child programming, brochures, and more. We are also working with multiple stakeholders to develop a new trail and entrance to the Barton Creek Greenbelt that will be accessible by public transit and could create new opportunities for aquifer-related and water quality education.

You can schedule your Amplify gifts online today, and can give until 6pm on March 8th. Please help us protect and conserve Austin’s resources for the next generation! Share your donation on social media and don’t forget to tag #amplifybartoncreek and #amplifyatx.



Volunteer with SBCA @ It’s My Park Day March 5th

SBCA will be hosting a volunteer day for Austin Parks Foundation’s “It’s My Park Day” on March 5th. Join us at the Barton Creek Greenbelt Spyglass Entrance at 10am for an invasive species removal along the greenbelt. We’ll be removing invasive Nandina and Ligustrum in order to increase biodiversity along the riparian zone surrounding Barton Creek. For more information and to register, click the link below.

Click Here to Register Now — Space is Limited!

Zoning and Platting Commission Focuses on Creeks

Report: February 2nd  Zoning and Platting Commission Meeting
Presentations from Mike Kelly and Kevin Shunk from the Austin Watershed Protection Dept.

In a recent city Zoning and Platting Commission meeting on February 2nd, a briefing was held regarding development impacts on Austin creeks. To start the discussion, two speakers from the Austin Watershed Protection Department gave an informative presentation on their experience dealing with flooding, erosion, and water quality city-wide. They highlighted the ways in which development of land near our creeks directly affects us and our environment.

The first impact noted is through the increase of impervious cover. Adding new obstructions to the flow of creeks and streams increases the amount of runoff produced and also alters natural flow paths. These negative impacts are especially worsened during flooding events and can severely damage the delicate natural environments within our watershed. Physical observations include decreased water quality, hydrology, as well as increased bacteria levels. For our creeks, this means  greater loss of biodiversity, stream bed widening, and loss of natural riparian functions — just to name a few.

Additionally, surrounding man-made structures can be damaged from stream migration at a cost to homeowners, private business owners, and the city. These erosive results are visible through damaged bridges, roadways, homes, and other structures both natural and man-made.
Some solutions that the presenters mentioned included currently employed tactics like uses and improved maintenance of regional detention ponds, building elevated roadways, and partnering with developers to lessen impacts to surrounding waterways and drainage systems.

These are positive solutions to continue implementing, but there was still an overwhelming emphasis on the need for more remediation and protection. The future will call for more tactics like strengthening city regulations, increased use of large filtration ponds, incorporating green infrastructure into the city’s ongoing planning process, and researching new ways to combat the negative impacts of development.

Overall the presentation made it clear just how important a role we and our city planners play in protecting the wellbeing and health of our creeks, as well as our own health and safety.”