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Shoal Creek Conservancy partners with city

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Shoal Creek Conservancy announced Tuesday that it has signed a collaborative agreement with the city.

The agreement comes out of a May 2014 City Council resolution that directed the city manager to explore a public-private partnership in order to create a plan for the area.

Under the agreement, the conservancy will be working with the city’s Watershed Protection, Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments. All parties are currently working to establish a Shoal Creek Watershed Management, Trails, Parks and Open Space Plan. This year, they hope to define the planning approach, scope of work, funding and timeline, among other things.

Conservancy Board President Ted Siff made the announcement Tuesday at a Real Estate Council of Austin luncheon that featured a panel discussion about private and public development in the area.

“We’re the new kid on the block,” said Siff. He explained that the founders established the conservancy in October 2013 in order to advocate, primarily, on issues of trail maintenance, watershed management and parks and open spaces.

“We have a jewel of a watershed, (which is) massively beautiful and a major part of our urban forest canopy,” said Siff. “But there are things that all three city departments and the conservancy all know could be better.”

The Shoal Creek Conservancy encompasses the entire 12.5 miles of the urban watershed, which stretches from the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to Lady Bird Lake. In response to a question at the luncheon, Siff said the conservancy hopes to extend the hike and bike trail to the Domain, though he also described that goal as “aspirational.”

“Our goal is to have an off-street trail from the headwaters to the outflow,” said Siff. “It may not happen in my lifetime, but I think it’s worth the effort.”

Photograph by Ted Lee Eubanks.

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