By this point we all know about the devastating impacts of the storms and flooding over the Memorial Day weekend in Austin and the Hill Country. Countless trees along the Blanco and San Marcos rivers were swept away, and trees were ripped out of the ground or snapped in two all over Austin, including large trees at Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool, and Deep Eddy Pool. Several of you have contacted us regarding the tree damage, and I want to let you know about steps that TreeFolks is taking to help our urban forest recover from the damage caused by last weekend’s storms.
After being approached by a friend wondering how she could financially support replacing the iconic pecan tree at the Rock Island in Zilker Park, I contacted Urban Forestry to see how TreeFolks can help. As it turns out, many trees in Austin that we might consider iconic were damaged or uprooted, including several pecans, live oaks, and cottonwoods at Deep Eddy Pool, the Rock Island pecan in Zilker, and one of the pecans in the Barton Springs Pool picnic area that local groups have worked so hard to preserve. There are certainly more, and we are still counting. TreeFolks has established a tree fund to support replacement of these notable trees in the fall. Donations will be dedicated to replacing these iconic trees and, should we be so lucky as to raise more than needed, any additional funds will be used for other tree replacements in Austin parks. While no one can replace a one hundred year old tree, we can replant these public spaces that are used by Austin residents and visitors.
You can donate here: Memorial Day Storm Tree Fund.
We are also working with our friends in Wimberley to contribute to the restoration effort there, but it is too early to tell what form that will take. I visited Wimberly on Tuesday and saw the damage along the Blanco River; it was heart-stopping. A 50-foot-high wall of water swept away homes and took out 500-year-old cypress as if they were mere matchsticks. Many thanks to Gary Weeks for organizing a group of concerned citizens to discuss soil protection and tree recovery in these early hours. Anyone who would like to aid in the restoration of cypress along the Blanco and San Marcos rivers is encouraged to join the Blanco River Valley Restoration Facebook Page. Our hearts go out to to our neighbors, and we will make sure to keep you apprised of progress as it occurs.
Thaïs Perkins, Executive Director