Last year, several Environmental Survey Consulting (ESC) staff members decided that we wanted to learn how to monitor water quality for the Colorado River watershed. We contracted Michael Jones with the Texas Stream Team in San Marcos to travel to Austin and provide training. Michael provided in-classroom training at the Austin History Center and then an in-field training on Shoal Creek at Seiders Springs. We were also joined by several Shoal Creek Conservancy volunteers. Five ESC staff are now certified volunteer water quality monitors.
We received a monitoring kit with all the necessary tools and chemicals from Jacob Apodaca of the Colorado River Watch Network (CRWN). Jacob also gave us a refresher training. ESC has now committed to monitor the water quality at Seiders Springs once per month. Parameters that we report include dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and specific conductance. We also report physical observations of water color, odor, significant rainfall, and algae abundance.
Seiders Springs has a colorful and unique history. The artesian spring provided water for Army camps in the mid-1800s. Ed Seiders operated a popular resort and bathhouse at the springs in the late 1800s with bathtubs cut from the rock on the hillside and filled from the springs. The downstream spring is the only ebbing-and-flowing spring in Texas. At times, the flow almost stops for several minutes and then gushes forth briefly before subsiding again.
We were surprised to find out that no one had previously chosen to monitor Shoal Creek at Seiders Springs given that it is such a peaceful, unique and beautiful location. By monitoring water quality parameters, we are helping to develop baseline data for the site and document water quality changes and potential water quality problems. ESC is delighted to contribute to the CRWN’s mission to support community-based environmental stewardship and the Shoal Creek Conservancy’s mission to create a healthy and vibrant community.