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Biodiversity Blog


Brackenridge Field Lab awarded Green Fund for community-based restoration of Schulle Creek

Permanent water along stream canyon
Permanent water in Schulle Creek at BFL (Photo: Larry Gilbert)

The Schulle Creek Restoration Program at the Brackenridge Field Lab (BFL) has been funded by a Green Fund award from the Office of Sustainability at UT Austin. The funds will support an ambitious multi-year project to restore native biodiversity of the Schulle Creek area which has been degraded by trash and invasive plants. The project’s multi-faceted approach will incorporate education, engagement, and conservation in a community of students, scientists, staff, and naturalists.


Schulle Creek is an anchor feature of ecosystems at BFL, an 82 acre biological research site in the heart of Austin and the first field station in UT’s growing fieldstation network. Schulle Creek is approximately 2400 meters and runs from the Tarrytown area of Austin, through the Lions Municipal Golf Course, to Lady Bird Lake. The stream passes through BFL for about half its length at the end of its journey.

The stream has seen many changes over the years. Signs of early native American inhabitants have been found along Schulle Creek, where stone tools indicate that it was a valued site. In the mid 1800’s, early Anglo settlers occupied the site until George Brackenridge purchased the land and the limestone quarries it contained in the Schulle Creek drainage. Rock from these quarries was used to build the first dam on the lower Colorado, although that dam soon collapsed, and the released sediment can be seen at the lower end of the creek.

George Brackenridge donated the land to the University of Texas in 1910 and for a while the Schulle Creek area was occupied by small residences and cattle pastures.

In 1967, UT established the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the site. Through nearly 60 years since its inception, researchers have gained enormous insights into the ecology of Schulle Creek and its environs. These records based mainly on undergrad research trace the expansion of invasive plants while adding new insights into the value of this creek.


The project begins with a focus on biological surveys and extensive restoration. Throughout the project, students will run research projects and hold leadership roles in volunteer coordination, outreach, and education. Outreach activities will teach the public about the value of waterways, harm of invasive species, and biodiversity as a measurement of environmental health. As the project progresses, the establishment of long-term monitoring equipment will assess water flow and quality to detect risks from upstream fertilization, pesticides, and other contaminants.


The Green Fund is a competitive grant program funded by UT Austin tuition fees to support sustainability-related projects and initiatives proposed by university students, faculty or staff. Funds are awarded each May through an annual grant competition. A student majority committee solicits and reviews proposals and awards Green Fund grants. Since the program’s creation in 2010, the Green Fund program has generated almost five million in support of over 200 projects to students, faculty, and staff.

Look out for further announcements on how you can participate in this restoration effort at BFL!

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