Can't We Preserve Our Preserves?

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 27, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Are water-quality preserves and endangered-species habitat preserves the appropriate place for new toll roads in the Barton Creek, Barton Springs, and Edwards Aquifer watersheds? That's the question we asked at the last CAMPO meeting, where we displayed a map – which has the seal of Travis County on it – that shows new roads cutting through Balcones Canyonlands Preserves and Barton Springs Water Quality Preserves owned by the city of Austin.
    Can't we preserve our preserves? Is that too much to ask?
    For questioning the wisdom of building a new road through preserves and opening up Barton Creek watershed land to development, we were labeled by Chronicle writer Kimberly Reeves as “anti-growth” [“Cease-Fire Ends in Southwest Road Wars,” News, Sept. 22].
    We are for conservation, for clean water, and for public involvement in infrastructure decisions. We don't try to stop growth. We and many other community organizations and citizens across Central Texas work to have a voice in how we grow, in where we grow, and how much we grow.
    The largest community input regarding our region's projected growth was the Envision Central Texas five-county public survey. Respondents overwhelmingly supported protecting the Edwards Aquifer.
    There are local solutions to existing transportation problems, as Gene Lowenthal of the Hamilton Pool Road Scenic Corridor Coalition pointed out to CAMPO. The Fix 290 Coalition (which includes Save Our Springs Alliance) has a solution for improvements to 290 and 71 in Oak Hill that has broad community support: a parkway design.
    We can improve transportation without running roughshod over our preserve lands.
Colin Clark
Communications director
Save Our Springs Alliance
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