Over the past 20 plus years, Waller Creek has been out of
sight and out of mind. This reality has resulted in continued
erosion of its banks.
Many decades ago, bank stabilization projects were done with
limestone. However, in the 1950s and 1960s the use of concrete
became commonplace. The result was a loss of natural feeling and
look along Waller Creek.
The University of Texas at
Austin is required under EPA Storm Water
requirements to monitor many items related to the condition of
Waller Creek. It became apparent that the erosion of the Waller
Creek banks was not only unattractive but in several areas
unsafe. After some discussions with the
City of Austin
Watershed Protection staff and university staff, it became
apparent that work on the Waller Creek banks would be required
in the next several years.
To demonstrate how these projects could not only stabilize
the creek banks but also create the vision described in the
Campus Master Plan, the university's
and Safety (EHS) office decided to undertake the Waller
Creek Bank Stabilization Demonstration Project. The goal of the
project was to demonstrate how to stabilize the banks of a very
public section of Waller Creek in a manner that was attractive
and would promote use by students and staff as a place to enjoy
the beauty and calm nature of a small flowing creek.
The section of Waller Creek just above the 24th Street Bridge
was chosen for the project. A professional engineer and
landscape architect from the City of Austin (COA) agreed to help
develop the plans during off hours. The EHS office obtained permission
from the COA to assist with the project. The design was
completed and approvals from various university groups were
obtained. The project was completed with a few lessons learned,
within established timelines and within budget. This project set the standard by which other
Waller Creek bank stabilization projects will be conducted.
The area is very attractive and use by students and staff has increased. Many art students use the area for drawings and paintings. The spring and summer are real treats because the native plants, selected for attracting humming birds and butterflies, are in bloom.