Eliza Spring habitat, home to Austin's endangered salamanders, likely ready this summer

Once complete, Eliza Spring and its endangered salamanders will be able to be viewed through fencing.[/caption]

Later this summer, Austin residents and visitors will be able to see an endangered species back in its natural habitat.

Eliza Spring, one of four springs at the Barton Springs Pool that is home to the Barton Springs Salamander, is undergoing a renovation that involves removing a 1920s-era concrete-and-metal pipe that is, as David Johns, the Austin Watershed Protection program manager, puts it, "not in good shape."

Johns said in the past 90 years, the pipe—which was installed underground to maintain the flow of water—has been jammed with tree roots, rocks and other debris, causing blockages in water flow and creating problems for managing the habitat that is home to largest-known population of the Barton Springs Salamander.

The department is busy removing the manmade infrastructure and restoring the spring flow over a natural surface channel, a process called daylighting.

But Johns said the process—which began last November and was expected to finish this spring—has not been easy.

"It's a delicate site," he said. "There's water to deal with in multiple areas."

Eliza Spring, home to Austin’s endangered salamanders, will be renovated this summer The Barton Springs Salamander is an endangered species.[/caption]

Now he expects construction to continue until at least July. When the $2.3 million project is finished, Austinites will be able to peer through a fence and see the salamanders, which have been on the national endangered list for more than 20 years.

"I think it'll be visually appealing," Johns said.

Once the project is done, here is where viewers can spot them, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: Under rocks or in gravel found in the water several inches to 15 feet deep, or hiding in aquatic plants and algae.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department describes the salamanders as slender and long-limbed at about 2.5 inches in total length with a small, narrow head and reduced eyes. They vary in color from dark gray to a yellowish-brown and have external gills that are red in color.
By Marie Albiges

Marie Albiges was the editor for the San Marcos, Buda and Kyle edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covered San Marcos City Council, San Marcos CISD and Hays County Commissioners Court. Marie previously reported for the Central Austin edition. Marie moved to Austin from Williamsburg, Va. in 2016 and was born in France. She has since moved on from Community Impact in May 2018.


Easy Tiger is looking to bake 10,000 loaves of bread for those in need locally over the next 60 days. (Courtesy Easy Tiger)
From Easy Tiger baking 10,000 loaves of bread to Austin’s Couch Potatoes making masks: Here’s how local businesses are chipping in to help their communities

In addition to staying open for delivery and take-out, some restaurants are providing community meals to service industry workers and others in need.

Turnstile Coffee Beer and Spirits
Will they or won’t they? Austin restaurants split on when to open during coronavirus pandemic

While some restaurants have bunkered down to open at later dates, some Austin restaurants are moving forward with service.

Owners and founders Aurelio and Rosa Torres opened Mi Madre’s 30 years ago and have since grown it from a 10-seat taco shop to a Tex-Mex restaurant. (Photos by Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Family restaurant Mi Madre's turns 30

"We wanted to make this neighborhood better, and we wanted to live in this neighborhood. We love this neighborhood," said co-founder Aurelio Torres.

Despite heavy restrictions on public gatherings in place, sizable crowds gathered March 24 on the free side of Barton Springs pool, just hours before Austin's stay-at-home order went into effect. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents have reported 180 violations since Austin area's stay-at-home order went into effect

No penalties have been issued since the order went into effect March 25.

Austin Public Health officials confirmed the first death from the coronavirus in Travis County on March 27. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First Travis County resident dies from coronavirus

According to public health officials, the woman was in her 70s and had underlying health conditions.

Here is the latest news on stay-at-home orders across the Austin area

Find out if your locale is sheltering in place or what legal consequences the coronavirus is creating in the stories below.

While the agency is still tallying the number of unemployment insurance claims filed thus far in March, in the week prior to March 25, at least 150,000 claims had been filed. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Official: Increase in calls for statewide unemployment benefits is ‘almost vertical’

According to Serna, on an average day the Texas Workforce Commission’s four call centers statewide receive 13,000-14,000 calls; on March 22, the agency received 100,000 calls regarding unemployment insurance benefit inquiries.

Half of the Austin City Council called in remotely for their March 26 meeting, their first since strict social distancing measures went into effect. (Courtesy ATXN)
Austin economic relief efforts underway for renters, workers and small businesses following series of City Council approvals

Council members said the approvals represent only the start of coronavirus relief work coming from the city.

Artists Jasmine Gonzales, Morgane Xenos and Carmen Rangel painted this mural at Sixth Street's Bijou Lounge. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
HOPE Outdoor Gallery artists spray-paint murals on boarded-up Sixth Street bars to lift Austin's spirits

After Sixth Street bar owners closed their doors boarded up their properties to prevent vandalism, artists acted quickly to spray-paint murals with positive messages.

The Austin Board of Realtors is recommending all of its realtor members suspend in-person real estate showings until further notice. (Community Impact file photo)
ABoR ‘strongly discourages’ real estate showings

The Austin Board of Realtors is recommending all of its realtor members suspend in-person real estate showings until further notice.

(Courtesy University of Texas at Austin)
Central Texas officials: 90% reduction in interaction needs to happen immediately

New modeling from UT shows region could run out of hospital beds without reducing interaction.

Back to top