Texas homeowners save turtles during retention pond relining

In replacing the liner on a multi-million gallon retention pond, an Austin, Texas, water company exposed hundreds of turtles to the elements. Not to worry, though - a local homeowners assocation came to the rescue...

AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 22, 2004 -- Here's how some concerned homeowners and their management company, Alliance Association Management of Austin, Texas, saved the day for some stranded wildlife.

Early in August 2004 the Barton Creek West Water Supply Corp., of Austin, Texas, the company that operates the wastewater treatment facility for the Barton Creek West Subdivision, started the process of draining their multi-million gallon retention pond in order to replace the liner. Draining the pond did not set well with several wildlife species that considered the murky, sludgy pond their home.

The 200-plus red-eared slider turtles were especially affected. Homeowners began to spot turtles of all sizes, blackened with sludge, wandering hopelessly about the subdivision in search of water. The determined creatures experienced a change of luck the day that Barton Creek West Homeowners Association board member Daneen Smith and Alliance Vice President Sherrill Schafer came to the rescue. Alliance Association Management, an Associa Member Company, is the community association management company for Barton Creek.

In addition to picking up strays found on the roads, the team coordinated with workers at the site. The workers fished the turtles from the muck and the rescue team picked up tubs and tubs of turtles, transported them to the front yard and hosed them off. Once clean, they were placed in plastic swimming pools to await the final leg of their journey to safety and freedom in nearby Barton Creek. The now clean turtles were carried by hand through the greenbelt to the bank of Barton Creek and released one-by one.

It was quite a sight: the happy turtles swimming in the cool clear water of Barton Creek. The creek runs through the four hundred plus acres of spectacular greenbelt owned and protected by the Barton Creek West Homeowners Association. The babies were especially fun to watch, darting at lightening speed from the surface to the bottom and back to the surface again.

Barton Creek West is a quiet, family-oriented community of 398 homes nestled in the southwest hills of Austin. The protected greenbelt is populated by thick stands of native trees and plants that are habitat for many birds (including several endangered species) and wildlife. Alliance Association Management (www.associaonline.com) is the original management company hired by the Developer in 1988 and still manages the association today. During the early years of development, residents recall regularly seeing the local flock of turkeys waddling down the parkway, deer grazing everywhere and even an occasional Puma sighting.

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