Newspaper Archive of
The Texas Sun
Buda, TX
December 11, 1975     The Texas Sun
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December 11, 1975

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OW" ermlnln 0 THE BORING MACHINE AT SKUNK HOLLOW Preservation isn't cheap. At $150 a foot, boring costs five times what can be done with dynamite and backhoe. But sometimes nothing else will do. $15,000. It like to broke me." John had little choice in the matter. With the City sitting on his operation, tying up all his equipment, he was losing close to a thousand dollars a day. So he came up with $15,000 towards restoring the creek to its original character. In addition, Bill Milburn Co., Bryant-Curington Inc. and he were each fined $200 for having failed to nature, and that if the City wasn't payingfor the project, Jagger Associates would have built their own sewage processing plant rather than tie into the City's. Under Approach-Main ContractS, the City buys additions to its wastewater system five years after they are added on. It is ironic, but the citizens of Austin will pay to preserVe obtain a Creek Permit. what is private property. John finished the job and restoration Skunk Hollow is next to the BartO began. Even Jeff Friedman turned out Creek portion of Zilker Park, but not to help plant the new trees. For a while part of it. As yet Jagger Associates it looked as though the area would once have no plans for the area. The Hollow s It is ironic, but the citizens of Austin will paY to preserve what is private property. sides there are too steep for any sort of high density development. Ji Coleman, the project's overseer, emphasized that he wasn't speaking for. Mr. Jagger, but believed the City could buy the land if it wanted to. The City, however, has yet to allocate funds for that purpose. Over two million dollarS was approved by the voters in last Saturday's election to extend Zilker Park further up into the Barton Creek watershed, but the City has shown no interest in Skunk Hollow beyond again flourish. But then came the rains, and the worst flood in twenty years wiped away nearly everything. Now only broken rock remains. Today: Skunk Hollow That experience with Barton Creek left some hard and bitter memories. Many people, after that one bad experience, decided all restoration efforts were doomed to failure, that nature is simply too complex to replace; so "Restoration" became an unpopular concept. It was replaced by the idea that as little of nature should be preserving it. disturbed as possible, and whereMeanwhile, Engineer John Hughes practical, nothing should be disturbed is a happy man. He's received the at all. Enter the Skunk Hollow Case. money to meet the challenging task oI Skunk Hollow is a delicate place of digging a sewer and protecting the byD.Schweers Bill Milburn Company put it to the they all were finished, Jagger Engineer John Hughes is at it again, test. Neither they nor the engineers, Associates Inc. got a permit with ten A year ago he took the half ,mi e. of BryantCuringtnInc"nrthecntrac- special conditions attached at an Barton Creek above Campbell s Hole, tor, John Hughes, applied for a Creek additional cost of $100,000. cut downJlhe trees,dug a trench 85 feet Permit. They just began blasting and Most of that $100,000 will purchase rock, trees, water and fern. It's here that Jagger Associates Inc. intended to place their wastewater line by blasting through the rock, opening a trench and covering it back up. In all, three City departments examined their application for a waterway development permit. The Environmental Resource Management department brought in its advisory panel with the high sounding name of "Citizens Board of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality." When the tunnel John Hughes is now boring, underneath the lower thousand feet of Skunk Hollow. With new boring techniques, the Hollow will remain untouched. Along the upper portions an open trench is to be used. Restoration efforts will be made such as replacing all trees on a one-to-one basis, but the emphasis is on disturbing as little as possible. Access is limited. No tracked, earth-moving equipment will be allowed. Trees that must not be cut have been marked as such: the pipe must simply go around them. "This shows the value of Approach- Main Contracts," claims Jim Coleman, overseer of the Skunk Hollow project for Jagger Associates Inc. He reasons that no developer will pay anything like deep, laid in a wastewater pipe, covered it up and left a barren stretch of rock one hundred feet across. Now he's back. He's adding onto that pipe, sending a branch line up through Skunk Hollow. There, on the west side of Barton Creek, Jagger Associates Inc. are developing 400 acres that will one day hold a shopping mall, apartments, town houses and offices. creek bed. In fact, he's an environmea7 talist. "You should see the way we can split rock with this new form of dynamite," " * " " t he boasts. We can come within six fee of a tree and leave it intact." NO ONE HAS CHRISTMAS CARDS LIKE THE digging. According to the Creek Ordinance, no alterations can be undertaken in a creek bed without prior approval of the City's Office of Environmental Re- source Management. One of the proponents of the ordinance, Joe Riddell, discovered Bill Milburn Company's oversight. The City responded quickly. It shut down John Hughes' operation completely and kept it shut down while the legalities were ironed out. By this time the damage had been done. "Those trees were this big around," says John Hughes as he spreads his arms, "I could have saved them if the pipe didn't have to go down so deep. But my contract said 85 feet deep and that meant the trees had to go. Afterwards I had to the John Hughes is back, but he's learned something in a year: that it's a challenge to dynamite and backhoe a wooded area without leaving a scar. He's also learned the City of Austin intends to protect its creeks. One Year Ago: Barton Creek A year ago the protection by the new Creek Ordinance had never really been an extra to a bit of UNICORN GALLERY i. AT THE DOBIE 2021 Guadalupe Mon. - Fri. 10-9 477-0343 Sat 11-9