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OUR MISSION: TO PROTECT URBAN WATERWAYS IN SOUTH AUSTIN

Protecting our planet can start in your own backyard!

Founded in 2021, South Austin Creek Alliance focuses on the protection and preservation of urban waterways and their surrounding ecosystems. Focusing on the creeks and tributaries south of the Highway 71/290 corridor, SACA has led numerous successful creek clean-ups in south Austin. Our goal is to build a community of people, including business and local governments, to protect and preserve these vital resources.

South Austin Creek Alliance Board Members:

Valarie Campbell (Right) Founder and Board President

Cailtlin Gabor, PhD (Left) Secretary and Conservation Physiologist

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Anna Pittala
Vice President and Neighborhood activist

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Rich Maness
Creek Advocacy Expert

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Brad Massingill
Creek Activist
Friends of Mystery Creek

Meet our new Board Member, Brad Massingill! Brad has a lot of passion and an extensive history of activism. We are honored (and lucky) to have him join our team! WELCOME, BRAD!

Hi.

I’m Brad Massingill. 

I’ve been a musician artist, activist, handyman, venue owner, community organizer, animal lover and a believer in community action, eating food together, playing music, living learning, and retiring in place…

and of course CREEKS!

My dad was a Hurricane Hunter in the late 70’s and took a second career as a an executive for The Boy Scouts of America in Lubbock Texas back in 1972. As a service brat with no hometown, I figured I had earned the right to choose my home town. I chose Austin. I’ve spent pretty much of my entire adult life here.

This is home. 

 

When I first came here in the mid 70’s, Austin was a sleepy little place. Some folks called it the biggest TOWN in Texas. There were lots and lots of beautiful oak and pecan trees all over central Austin. There were also several big floods in town. (Shoal Creek, Williamson Creek, Onion Creek). 

 

It wasn’t as big an issue back then as it is now, but with the increased demands on our water systems, due to the influx of so many new residents, there are new homes being built in places bordering on potential floodplains and in sensitive riparian habitats. This unchecked growth is blocking off natural water flow in many cases and creating flooding problems that we weren’t experiencing before. 

 

The recent digitization of Austin’s Watershed records has left artesian springs and ephemeral streams off of the map of the City’s Watershed assets. This means they cannot be taken into consideration when development plans are being made. This is of concern to all of us, but specifically to us in South Austin, where these tiny artesian Springs are peppered throughout our neighborhoods. These “lost” assets need to be located, noted and reconnected to the watershed at large. 

 

We need take advantage of any local, state or federal funds that we can find, to facilitate the rehabilitation and restoration of our creek systems here in South Austin, especially Williamson Creek. There is money on the table for citizen groups to use for improvements to the Williamson Creek Trail system. 

 

I’d like to see us be one of those citizen groups and get access to that money and work with the local neighborhoods that back up to Williamson Creek and systematically make a plan to open up the whole Greenbelt for hiking and access to nature, as well as create a buffer for our valuable rainwater to matriculate into the soil, decreasing harmful erosion, keeping our valuable trees hydrated and reducing the heat island effect.

 

We can make a big difference by being proactive and working to, not only preserve our precious creeks and streams but, help enhance them by reconnecting them with all the tiny springs and ephemeral streams that have traditionally fed them. 

I’m looking forward to working with all of y’all, improving South Austin’s riparian habitat and stream systems.

In case you wanted to know, here’s a partial list of stuff I’ve been involved with. I’m a longtime environmentalist and Social Justice advocate. Some of the issues and campaigns I’ve worked on include; 

 

  • The Capitol Peace Vigil (1991) A four month vigil during the first Gulf War on the front steps of the State Capitol 

  • Alternatex; The first solar powered concert in Texas (1992-96) an annual three day solar powered concert at the Peace Farm in Amarillo, Texas, across the highway from Pantex; the nuclear bomb factory and the site for 50,000 tons of radioactive Plutonium left over from the Cold War.

  • Established and operated The Green Room (1992-1996) An environmental/social justice based music venue in downtown Austin. (Helped KOOP radio find it’s first physical location upstairs)

  • Directed the Austin Acoustic Music Festival (1992-97) An annual 3 day music festival featuring local folks like Butch Hancock, Toni Price and Mariachi Estrella.

  • Successfully, campaigned to block a radioactive waste dump in Sierra Blanca, Texas (1992-95)

  • Helped organize The Hundredth Monkey Project/Event to stop nuclear testing (1992) A three day solar powered concert and 70 mile walk from Las Vegas, Nevada to the Nuclear Test Site at Mercury, Nevada.

  • Healing Global Wounds/Event that brought together elders from 31 Tribes to perform a Global Healing Ceremony at the Nevada Nuclear Test site (1992) Three days of ceremonies and concerts culminating in mass civil disobedience. (The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed the next year).

  • Helped organize local Austin Musicians’ response to the influx of fellow musicians from New Orleans after Katrina.

  • Worked with indigenous groups to help organize against the Keystone XL pipeline.

  • Organized rallies at the State Capitol in conjunction with the Keystone XL pipeline and the First Nations’ Idle No More movement in Canada during that same time period.

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