Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Grassy Knoll Syndrome?

JUNE 15, 1998:  Are local developers trying to close Barton Springs Pool? The following letters, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, were written to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in early 1993. All of them state directly or indirectly that Barton Springs must be closed to swimmers if the salamander is added to the Endangered Species List. Here are some choice excerpts:

"To list the salamander without closing Barton Springs pool would be virtually impossible, since Barton Springs pool is the only known salamander habitat." - Lonnie Fedrick, Executive Vice President, Newmark Home Corporation.

"Fish & Wildlife has stated that they do not think swimming in the pool poses a threat [to the salamander]. If the Salamander is listed, that could be open to debate." - Real Estate Council of Austin, in a February 1993 "Salamander Update."

"We would propose that if anything is harming the habitat of the salamander, it is the recreational activities which could be limited or eliminated by an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Austin." - Wm. Cameron Tucker, president, Texas Capitol Area Builders Association.

"I must conclude that the major water quality threats to the Barton Springs salamander must be the periodic dosage of chlorine bleach used in pool maintenance and the rapid deteriation [sic] of pool water quality caused by thousands of people per day recreating during the swimming season." - Phil Savoy, Murfee Engineering -R.B.

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