While Barton Springs Pool is an iconic landmark of Austin and many people are familiar with the end of Barton Creek and its seven miles of public greenbelt, less is known about the forty-odd miles beyond that tumble and twist across private lands, eventually feeding the Colorado River. Legendary fights saved Barton Springs in the 1980s and 1990s, when the pool repeatedly was closed because of pollutant runoff from streets, nearby construction, and leaking sewer lines. In 1992, a highly publicized campaign resulted in land protections and stricter water standards.
But will the creek and its springs become fouled again? That possibility arises upstream where tributaries and other creeks flow across mostly rural acreage, attracting new housing and business developments. Not only would city bathers lose access to the pool, but endangered species of salamanders and birds that depend on the Edwards Aquifer and its unique habitats face an uncertain future.
Following the creek from downtown Austin’s Barton Springs Pool to its source as a cow-pasture trickle, longtime resident and journalist Ed Crowell explores the creek’s contentious political history, its historic and current residents, and the mounting environmental pressures threatening it. Barton Creek highlights the passionate individuals involved in the stream’s preservation, from city scientists to local landowners, who want to see the creek running clear and clean for future generations. Striking photography and vivid descriptions will entice readers to fall in love with Barton Creek all over again.
About the Author
ED CROWELL is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. During his tenure at the Austin American-Statesman, he served as city editor, state editor, and features editor. He is coauthor of Barefoot Pirate: The Tall Ships and Tales of Windjammer, and he resides in Austin.
“Barton Creek is a tale of environmental advocacy, a study of nature, and the story of a key part of Texas. The book will be a revelation to many who value the Creek but are unaware of its history or the challenges to its preservation. Barton Creek is a great introduction to an iconic national treasure.” —Ken Kramer, author of The Living Waters of Texas
— Ken Kramer
"Crowell’s Barton Creek is a joyful discovery and celebration of Austin’s most beloved creek. The personal narrative provides a tactile connection to little known sections of Barton Creek, and illuminates the great success story of environmental advocacy that formed Austin’s identity as an environmental city. Even the most habitual Springs swimmers and Greenbelt hikers are likely to discover something new.” —Angela Richter, executive director, Save Barton Creek Association