Save Barton Creek Association, or SBCA, is a citizen-run non-profit organization working to protect the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer. Founded in 1979, the SBCA has become one of the most prominent conservation groups in the Austin area. While they do help directly with conservation and restoration projects, the SBCA is mainly focused on advocacy and education. We met with Angela Richter, director of the SBCA, and Teresa Johnson, who shared their knowledge with us about the Barton Creek Edwards Aquifer, flora and fauna in the area, and threats to this ecosystem. They took us on a tour of the Barton Springs Bathhouse, as well as a hike about .5 miles into the greenbelt.
While we learned a lot of important information about the Barton Springs area, we also learned in detail about the specific issues the SBCA is currently working on. This post will detail the current SBCA projects Angela discussed on our field trip, and ways you can get involved. For a description of what we did on our field trip, and information we learned about the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer, see the post titled “A walk in the greenbelt with Save Barton Creek Association.”
Much of the work done by the SBCA is advocacy. However, because they are a non-profit organization, the SBCA can not advocate for or endorse any specific candidates for political office. Instead, one of the organization’s goals is to educate those in office on how different policies affect the environment.
One of the largest advocacy projects the SBCA is currently working on is the #NoDrippingSewage Campaign. In 2016, the City of Dripping Springs released a discharge proposal to dump sewage into Onion Creek. As we learned from Angela, Onion Creek is a major contributor of water to Barton Springs. This proposal would significantly decrease the water quality of Onion Creek, as well as Barton Springs, and the Edwards Aquifer.
How can you help? Sign their no dumping sewage petition HERE: http://www.savebartoncreek.org/about-us/our-work/
The SBCA is also focused on educating the public. They often conduct field trips, like ours, as well as hosting hikes and volunteer opportunities. Their main volunteer program is Creek Crew. The SBCA is in charge of maintaining a section of trail in the greenbelt. The Creek Crew removes trash and invasive species from this section of the creek and trail. Additionally, there is a Creek Crew happy hour once a month where you can meet new friends, listen to a guest speaker, and learn about more ways to get involved with the SBCA.
How can you help? Find more information on Creek Crew happy hour HERE: http://www.savebartoncreek.org/creek-crew/
To find out about the next Creek Crew meetings, email the SBCA at SBCA@savebartoncreek.org or subscribe the their mailing list HERE: http://www.savebartoncreek.org/stay-in-touch/
Another aspect of SBCA’s education outreach is to inform people on how to safely use household and automotive products and do yard work. Their goal is to help people in the Austin area change their everyday habits in order to reduce pollution in the Barton Creek.
How can you help? Find the list of recommendations from the SBCA and Texas Water Commission HERE: http://www.savebartoncreek.org/information/what-you-can-do/
Additionally, the SBCA offers internships each semester as well as over the summer. Currently, all internships are filled by UT students, but St. Edwards students are also welcome to apply!
For more information about internship opportunities, email Angela Richter at email@example.com.
All in all, it was an extremely informative field trip. We learned all about Barton Springs, Barton Creek, and the Edwards Aquifer. With so many opportunities to get involved, we can all support the SBCA in the wonderful work they are doing to help the Austin area.
Post by Maia Samboy
Photos by Maia Samboy and from http://www.savebartoncreek.org