Cleaning the Green

Shallow Side UpYou hear a lot about the “big picture” threats to Barton Springs from AMD or Gary Bradley, but it’s the algae that accumulates in the pool that creates problems on a regular basis. Whether that algae is spurred by chemical run-off upstream, low water flow during droughts, or environmental protection for the salamander, the question is largely moot at the moment you gag on a floater mid-lap … when the algae is heavy, the pool gets kinda gross.

The Friends of Barton Springs Pool got together back in February to figure out ways to improve the pool, including a plan to help the city reduce the muck. In a few short months, the group has successfully organized dozens of volunteers for two cleaning days, and has garnered a lot more attention for their third effort, which happens today.

Today’s clean-up begins at 9am with a guided tour of the pool, followed by cleaning shifts from 10am to 6pm. The Friends and volunteers will be joined by members of the City Council (Dunkerley, Leffingwell, Martinez, Kim, and McCracken are slated to attend) and the good folks at Independence Brewing, who are sponsoring today’s clean-up with a volunteer party in addition to their summer-long donation drive. It’s probably too late to sign up for a shift in advance, but I’ll bet anybody who shows up between 10 and 6 will be put to good use. If you’d like to help out with future events, contact Steve Barnick with the Friends.

I chatted with Steve at a neighborhood gathering this past week, and was surprised at the impact they have generated in such a short period of time. It’s no mean feat to get the City Council to muck about in scunge, but it sounds as if there are bigger (money) projects in the pipeline beyond sweeping algae. Some of the Friends’ goals include renovating the bath house and improving the surrounding grounds, so their activism may ultimately reap benefits beyond just keeping Austin’s jewel sparkling clean.

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