Barton Springs Salamander LbNA # 65682 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Sep 1 2013|
|Location||Zilker Park, Austin, TX|
The Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum) is an endangered lungless salamander whose only habitat is in the outflow of Barton Springs in Austin, Texas. It has the smallest habitat of any vertebrate in the world.
Barton Springs is actually comprised of four separate but hydrologically-related spring outlets. Parthenia, the Main Barton Springs, discharges from the Edwards Aquifer directly into Barton Springs Pool from numerous fractures upstream of the diving board area. This is where the endangered salamander is primarily found in the swimming pool. Eliza Spring (once unaffectionately referred to as Polio Pit) discharges into a concrete amphitheater on the north side of the pool near the concession stand. Swimming is no longer permitted there. Old Mill Spring, AKA Zenobia Spring, discharges into a stone-walled pool on the south side of the creek downstream of Barton Springs Pool and flows through a short tributary to Barton Creek.
Old Mill Spring is where you will find the box:
Park in a lot off Robert E. Lee Rd. Just south of Wright Field (little league baseball) is the entrance to two connected parking lots. Keep the restroom building on your right as you head deeper into the parking area closer to the end of Barton Springs Pool. Look for the green trail marker labeled "To Town Lake" flanked by two handicapped accessible parking spaces. Head down the wide concrete ramp. It will dead-end at a green post marked "Zilker Loop Trail". Go left on the concrete path with the parking lot on your left and Old Mill Spring on your right. At the 1st set of steps on your right, head down. Take a right on the flagstone path. There will be a curving, low stone wall on your left and a higher one on your right. At the 1st set of stone steps, head down another level. You will be facing a sign behind a locked gate that tells you about the Sunken Gardens. This is federally protected habitat. No trespassing. Go right on a dirt path ringing the spring, about 10-12 steps. Look for the concrete aggregate rock wedged in the stone wall on your right, about thigh high. The salamander fossil is hiding there.