Archived Newsletters

Next Tuesday July 29th, starting at 5:00 PM but going late, TxDOT and CTRMA are hosting a public hearing at the Bowie High School cafeteria to take public comment on their draft Environmental Impact Statement for 45SW. The lengthy document is riddled with unsupported assertions that the toll road will have "negligible" impacts on the environment. Read our summary of the most egregious shortcomings of the draft EIS on the Keep Mopac Local website here and file your own written comments before August 13th online here. SOS Alliance and our Keep Mopac Local allies will be filing detailed comments by the 13th. An update on the overall 45SW aquifer toll road picture is posted here.

Public Hearing and Written Comments on SH 45 SW Draft Environmental Statement

Next Tuesday, July 29thstarting at 5:00 p.m. but going late, TxDOT and CTRMA are hosting a public hearing at the Bowie High School cafeteria to take
public comment on their draft Environmental Impact Statement for 45SW. The lengthy document is riddled with unsupported assertions that the toll road
will have "negligible" impacts on the environment. Read our summary of the most egregious shortcomings of the draft EIS on the Keep Mopac Local
website here and file your own written comments before August 13th online here.  SOS Alliance and our Keep Mopac Local allies will be filing detailed
comments by the 13th. An update on the overall 45SW aquifer toll road picture is posted here.

Join us on Saturday, August 9th from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for Barton Springs Fest 


It's almost time for the 2nd Annual Barton Springs Fest! Last year's Fest was a wonderful success, with many
hundreds of participants enjoying snorkeling tours; outdoor learning at the Barton Spring University sessions;
and live music on the south hill.  We are looking forward to a bigger and better Barton Springs Fest this year!   

The event celebrates Barton Springs and sustainable living. It also commemorates the August 8, 1992 vote by
two-thirds of Austin voters in favor of the citizen-initiated Save Our Springs Ordinance. This year's Barton Springs
University sessions will emphasize Austin's water future in the face of a changing climate and rapid population
growth in the Edwards Aquifer region.     See details here.  



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This week the Austin Water Resources Planning Task Force released their final report to City Council recommending a new course for Austin’s water future. The Task Force’s 21-page report is a must read for anyone interested in water issues.

The Austin City Council created the Task Force in March, spurred by ongoing drought, a changing climate, and continued mismanagement of the Water Utility and it’s ill-advised head-long rush to build Water Treatment Plant No. 4 (aka the Billion Dollar Mistake on the Lake).

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Join us Saturday
August 9th

8 AM ~ 7 PM at
Barton Springs

See details
HERE

icon Barton Springs Fest Site Map 2014

 

#BSFest2014

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Last Friday, June 27th, TxDOT released its draft "Environmental Impact Statement" on the proposed SH 45 SW aquifer toll road. A public hearing is set for July 29 at Bowie High (please mark your calendars) and the official comment period extends 15 days beyond that date.

You may file comments online at any time between now and then here.

The draft document, with supporting appendices, clocks in at a whopping 1020 pages. A veritable sharknado of words and pictures, and no less absurd. How many times can you repeat that impacts will be "negligible" without providing any substance to back up that assertion? Let TxDOT count the ways. Read more here.

Water News

The Austin Water Resources Planning Task Force held their last meeting last Wednesday. The Task Force delegated the final, non-substantive edits of the Task Force's report to Task Force Chair Sharlene Leurig, so the final report has not yet been released. You can view the final working draft here.The final Task Force report should mark a turning point in how Austin and the City's Water Utility meets our long-term water needs in the face of rapid population growth and a changing climate.

32-year Old Grandfather Turned Back

Finally, SOS Alliance, the Austin Sierra Club and Oak Hill neighbors won the first battle at the Austin City Council under the new "project duration" ordinance. Developers of the so-called "Harper Park Two" project sought to build 70 detached condominiums on 17 acres in Oak Hill on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Under the 1992 voter-approved SOS ordinance the project would be limited to 15 percent impervious cover on a "net site" basis. The developers were seeking to build at 75 percent "net site" impervious cover, as "grandfathered" back to the much weaker 1982 Barton Springs Ordinance. Read more here.

Please make a donation today to help us continue our work on SH45SW and other important water issues. You can make a donation online HERE or mail a check to SOS, 905 W. Oltorf, Ste. A Austin, TX  78704.  Thank you!

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Snorkeling tour at Barton Springs Fest 2013


MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

The 2nd Annual Barton Springs Fest will take place at Barton Springs Pool Saturday, August 9th from 8 AM - 7 PM

Last year's Fest was a wonderful success and hundreds of Austinites enjoyed outdoor adventure participating in snorkeling tours and hikes; outdoor learning at the Barton Spring University; and live music on the south hill. Many local environmental and other community groups participated adding to the fun community atmosphere. This year's event celebrates Barton Springs and sustainable living. It also commemorates the August 8, 1992 vote by two-thirds of Austin voters in favor of the citizen-initiated Save Our Springs Ordinance.  Hope to see you there!

Finally, SOS Alliance, the Austin Sierra Club and Oak Hill neighbors won the first battle at the Austin City Council under the new “project duration” ordinance. Developers of the so-called “Harper Park Two” project sought to build 70 detached condominiums on 17 acres in Oak Hill on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Under the 1992 voter-approved SOS ordinance the project would be limited to 15 percent impervious cover on a “net site” basis.

The developers were seeking to build at 75 percent “net site” impervious cover, as “grandfathered” back to the much weaker 1982 Barton Springs Ordinance. Many thanks to Councilmembers Morrison, Tovo, and Martinez, and Mayor Pro Tem Cole, who all voted “no” on the proposal. The developer’s had no real basis for their grandfather claim, and could show only minimal improvements on the 32-year old, 1982 standards. Many thanks to the narrow council majority on this important Barton Springs vote.

The Austin Water Resources Planning Task Force held their last meeting last Wednesday. The Task Force delegated the final, non-substantive edits of the Task Force’s report to Task Force Chair Sharlene Leurig, so the final report has not yet been released. You can view the final working draft here. The final Task Force report should mark a turning point in how Austin and the City’s Water Utility meets our long-term water needs in the face of rapid population growth and a changing climate.

Yoga at the Springs starts Tomorrow, Saturday, June 28th at 9:30 AMalt

We will gather under the large Mother Pecan at the back gate area. The back gate will be open but the connecting parking lot will not. Please park at the parking lot down the road from the back gate parking lot - take a left into the lot if traveling north on Robert E. Lee and take a right if you turn off Barton Springs Rd. onto Robert E. Lee. Walk down the trail to the back gate ticket booth area where you will see an opening in the fence and walk back to the pecan tree. We will have signs posted and Jill will be there early to show folks the way.

Our instructor for Saturday is Pam Brewer. We will continue the series every Saturday through August 9th.  Please bring your own yoga mat and water. See you there!

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

The 2nd Annual Barton Springs Fest will take place at Barton Springs Pool

Saturday, August 9th from 8 AM - 7 PM

JOIN SOS ALLIANCE!
Summer membership special
Student / Individual $10  Family $15

Save Our Springs Alliance is the only watchdog organization working full time with scientists, lawyers, and educators to protect the land, water and wildlife of the Hill Country and the Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem. We simply cannot do this work without the continued support of donors like you. Please consider becoming a member today! Thank you for your consideration. Click  HERE  to make your donation online or mail to: SOS, 905 W. Oltorf, Ste A, Austin, Tx  78704.

Stay tuned for updates ---

We all can take a simple but important action against the SH 45 SW aquifer toll road and in favor of Keeping Mopac Local. Please make your voice heard!

Please send one email today telling the Austin City Council to appoint Councilmember Laura Morrison or Councilmember Bill Spelman to the Coordinating Committee that manages our Balcones Canyonlands Habitat Conservation Plan at tomorrow's City Council meeting (Item 68).

This one action is critical to protecting both listed endangered and "species of concern" from the proposed 45SW aquifer toll road.   Send just one email to all of the council at this link.

Here's what is going on. (It is only slightly complicated.)

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Today we all can take a simple but important action against the SH 45 SW aquifer toll road and in favor of Keeping Mopac Local. Please make your voice heard!

Please send one email today telling the Austin City Council to appoint Councilmember Laura Morrison or Councilmember Bill Spelman to the Coordinating Committee that manages our Balcones Canyonlands Habitat Conservation Plan at tomorrow's City Council meeting (Item 68).

This one action is critical to protecting both listed endangered and "species of concern" from the proposed 45SW aquifer toll road. Send just one email to all of the council at this link.

Here's what is going on. (It is only slightly complicated.)

As you may know, last month the Austin City Council voted 6-to-1 in favor of a resolution opposing the SH 45 SW aquifer toll road.  Only Mayor Leffingwell voted against the resolution.  At that time the Mayor stated very clearly he would continue to support the 45 SW toll road despite the 6-to-1 council vote.

Currently the Mayor serves as the City Council's only representative on the Coordinating Committee for the federal Balcones Canyonlands "Habitat Conservation Plan" and endangered species permit.  SH 45 SW ramrod, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, serves as Travis County's representative.

The Coordinating Committee has considerable say over whether the proposed SH 45 SW can be built in compliance with the Habitat Conservation Plan and federal permit jointly held by the city and the county. With Leffingwell and Daugherty constituting the entire voting committee, it is clear what they will do regardless of the science or the terms of the HCP and permit.

It is essential that the council vote this Thursday to appoint Laura Morrison or Bill Spelman to the committee so that the Council's policy against 45SW will not be completely overruled by the one Leffingwell vote against the council's policy. With your voice we can make this happen.

Don't be confused: The mayor is trying to paint this as some kind of personal affront to his dignity.   This is a red herring (with apologies to said herring). This is a policy difference and the Council supermajority has every right to appoint a representative to this critical position that is aligned with council policy. Follow this link to watch the video from yesterday's City Council work session discussion on this topic. Select Part 2 of 4 and advance to 12:40 on the video time. The mayor's obfuscationis on full display. Without action by the Council tomorrow to replace Leffingwell on the committee, the mayor and Commissioner Daugherty will do all they can to push 45SW forward in the months ahead, before Brigid Shea and Sarah Eckhardt join the Travis County Commissioners' Court in January.

Let the council know you are watching, that you understand what is going on, and that they should act together to appoint Councilmember Morrison or Spelman to this key position. You may also sign up and testify on Item 68 on tomorrow's City Council agenda. Thank you for your support to Keep Mopac Local and protect our water and wildlife from this sprawl-inducing, traffic-snarling toll road. This is an important battle that will likely continue over the next year.

Please stay involved and donate to support our work on this if you are able.

altBarton Springs Pool Improvement Project Completion Ceremony

Please join us this morning, June 25th at 10:00 am at the south gate of Barton Springs to celebrate the completion of the General Grounds Improvements project.