Balmorhea Pool Closed for Repairs
The world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park is closed pending repairs. Damage was found in the concrete apron under the diving board, used to stabilize the walls from erosion, during the pool’s annual cleaning in April. Park officials are evaluating the extent of the damage and taking steps to repair the structure. The park will remain open for day-use only with limited facilities.
“Our staff is working diligently to make the pool safe for the visitors and the aquatic life in habitats associated with the San Solomon Springs,” says Brent Leisure, director of Texas state parks.
More than 15 million gallons of water flow through the mid-1930s Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed pool each day, gushing from San Solomon Springs. The 1.3-acre pool is up to 25 feet deep, and it holds 3.5 million gallons of water.
The water temperature stays at 72 to 76 degrees year-round.
Habitats have been created outside of the pool for the protection of two small, endangered desert fish species, the Pecos gambusia and the Comanche Springs pupfish, as well as numerous invertebrates.
Black-Capped Vireo Delisted
Not so long ago the black-capped vireo nearly went extinct. Goats ate their habitat, and brown-headed cowbirds commandeered their nests. Only about 350 birds were known to exist three decades ago, but thanks to robust conservation efforts, the small songbird is being removed from the U.S. list of endangered and threatened species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined forces with the states of Oklahoma and Texas, the U.S. Army, private landowners and nongovernmental organizations to address primary threats, conserve needed habitat and advance scientific understanding. Latest estimates predict more than 14,000 birds across the vireo’s breeding range of Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico.
“The tireless efforts and dedication of multiple public and private partners made it all work, particularly the commitment of private landowners who labored diligently to restore and enhance habitats to benefit the vireos and a host of other native species in the process,” says TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “The conservation lesson learned here is that marriage of good partnerships and good land stewardship produces results we can all be proud of.”