Barton Springs Salamander

The Barton Springs salamander is a small amphibian, some 2.5 inches in length, found at the outflows of Upper Barton, Parthenia, Eliza, and Old Mill springs in central Austin. it was declared endangered in 1997 due to concerns about its limited range, and on account of risks posed by urban runoff, aquifer depletion, and pool maintenance practices.


Narrator: Bill BunchTitle: Public TrustDuration: 00:02:29Date: November 10, 2023Bill Bunch, an environmental attorney, works as the executive director of the Save Our Springs Alliance, and has been involved for many years in the protection of the Barton Springs salamander. Here he explains how water and wildlife is held in by the government in a public trust, which trumps private property rights, and is a legitimate target for public regulation. Narrator: Bill BunchTitle: A BlessingDuration: 00:01:37Date: November 10, 2023Bill Bunch, an environmental attorney who founded and leads the Save Our Springs Alliance, has worked for decades to protect Barton Springs. As part of that effort, he has come to recognize the important role that the Barton Springs salamander plays in being a very sensitive indicator for the health of its habitat - the Springs, and the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers.Narrator: Bill BunchTitle: Music and PoliticsDuration: 00:06:00Date: November 10, 2023Bill Bunch, an attorney and the executive director of the Save Our Springs Alliance in Austin, has worked for many years on protecting the Edwards and Trinity aquifer, and the springs, people and wildlife that those waters support. In the 1990s, he helped petition for listing and protecting the Barton Springs salamander as a federally endangered species. The process for listing involved science and law, and, ultimately, musicians and politicians as well.Narrator: Dee Ann ChamberlainTitle: Blood Worms and Plastic PlantsDuration: 00:02:47Date: December 15, 2023Dee Ann Chamberlain, an environmental scientist with the Watershed Protection Department at the City of Austin, has cared for the endangered Barton Springs salamander assurance colony since its origin in 1998. Here she tells about the trial and error process of developing a diet and substrate to support the salamanders in captivity, so that they might be available as a backup in case a hazardous spill or other catastrophe hurt the wild population.Narrator: Tom DevittTitle: Water SecurityDuration: 00:03:25Date: October 16, 2023Dr. Tom Dewitt is a researcher and teacher in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas, and a long-time student of the Barton Springs salamander and other amphibians. Here he explains his concerns that aquifer depletion and spring loss in central Texas since the 1950s are putting salamanders and a host of groundwater-dependent species, including people, at risk.Narrator: Laurie DriesTitle: ChangeDuration: 00:02:02Date: October 26, 2023Laurie Dries, Ph.D., worked as a biologist and environmental scientist at the City of Austin, caring for Barton Springs salamanders. Here she explains why it is important to understand the rate and range of natural change that a creature saw during its evolution, to grasp what sort of manmade change it can adapt to and survive.Narrator: Laurie DriesTitle: ValueDuration: 00:01:37Date: October 26, 2023Dr. Laurie Dries worked in the City of Austin's Watershed Protection Department for over a decade as a biologist caring for the rare population of Barton Springs salamanders. Here she explains the kinds of value, much of it undiscovered, that support the salamander's protection.