Barton Springs Pool General Grounds Improvements

Austin, Texas 2008-2014

This spring-fed pool, considered Austin’s crown jewel, is located within the 358-acre Zilker Park and is critical habitat for the endangered Barton Springs salamander and Austin Blind salamander.

The project provided a new entry and paved walkway to the south side of the pool to mitigate a dangerously steep and heavily eroded dirt trail which washed sediment directly into the pool at the spring outflow. The existing caliche parking lot was replaced with an 80-space paved lot with stormwater treatment. The project improved water quality to the pool and Barton Creek, accessibility, safety, heritage tree health, and restored portions of the riparian zone.

The design accommodated multiple environmental regulations including Barton Springs Zone, Save Our Springs Initiative, Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, Critical Water Quality and Water Quality Transition Zones.

Over forty public meetings were held, from informal design charrettes to formal City Council meetings, to discuss this highly sensitive project. Input from stakeholders was included throughout the process and worked into the design. The site development plan was presented and discussed with eleven City Committees, Boards, and Commissions as well as City Council for approval of an ordinance amendment to allow for permitting and project construction.


Early in the preliminary design phase, Blayne recommended a simple stormwater catchment within a small ravine above the spring outflow. This important feature and the simplicity of the proposed design became a critical component to improve habitat for the endangered salamanders. The accumulation of sand and litter within the catchment is evidence it is functioning as intended.

Rather than providing a new water quality facility for the proposed parking lot, the adjacent field was modified to serve two purposes - an athletic practice field and water quality treatment. Blayne initiated collaboration with the City’s Watershed Engineering Division to include the water quality improvements as part of Watershed's discretionary stormwater funding to offset project construction costs for the Parks and Recreation Department.

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I’ve worked with a lot of engineers, but I can’t think of a single one who would have done as good a job as you have, especially with the Board/Commission presentations. I’m really grateful (and I’m certain I speak for all of us at the City) that you’re part of this project.

Gary Gregson, Project Coordinator, Austin Parks and Recreation Department


schematic design, public meetings, low impact development strategies, construction documents, site permitting meeting SOS regulations including site-specific ordinance amendment approval, TCEQ permitting, construction administration