Shoal Creek Conservancy is a proud steward of the 13-square-mile Shoal Creek watershed in Austin, Texas. We champion the Shoal Creek watershed in order to create a healthy and vibrant community. 

The Shoal Creek watershed provides an oasis in a rapidly growing urban area, and we believe that with thoughtful investment, this natural treasure can better benefit our ecology, economy, and enjoyment of the outdoors.


The Shoal Creek watershed has played a critical role as a natural feature of the landscape for hundreds of years and in our city’s development for more than a century. U.S. Geological Survey reports show that as late as 1896, more than sixty years after white settlers founded the village of Waterloo, the area west of Shoal Creek was considered the domain of the Comanches. What will it be like in another hundred years?

We envision a continuous network of green spaces stretching throughout the watershed, connected by hike-and-bike trails in a healthy habitat. With more green space and a greener built environment, native plants and animals will flourish. Restored, enhanced, and celebrated, Shoal Creek will shine even more brightly as a central part of our city’s cultural heritage. The watershed will become a dynamic, safe, well-cared-for geographical area that improves the lives of residents and visitors.

This is a big vision, and it will take time to achieve. We are dedicated to investing the necessary time over the long term. Our 2018 strategic plan presents Shoal Creek Conservancy’s goals for 2018–2021 and our approach to achieving this mission. The plan is guided by our mission statement and shaped by stakeholders and thought leaders in our community. Download the 2018-2021 Shoal Creek Conservancy Strategic Plan here.

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What is a Watershed?

A watershed is a geographic area within which all water drains to a common source. Any water that falls on the ground in the Shoal Creek watershed eventually reaches Shoal Creek (if it doesn’t evaporate first)!

Check out our Watershed Map

About Shoal Creek

Shoal Creek flows through the heart of Austin, Texas. In 1839, it was the city’s original western boundary. Today, it is an artery into its urban core. Shoal Creek is an eleven-mile natural waterway in a 13 square mile watershed. The creek’s headwaters spring from the ground in north Austin near Highway 183. An urban stream, Shoal Creek remains a green oasis embedded in Austin’s quickly changing landscape.

The creek meanders through neighborhoods, skirts the campuses of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and Seton Hospital near 38th Street, borders the western edge of the University of Texas, travels through Pease Park and ribbons through downtown Austin. The mouth of Shoal Creek, and the southern terminus of the trail, is located at Lady Bird Lake. Nearly 10 miles of trail and bikeways follow the creek from Hwy 183 to Lady Bird Lake, providing a pathway for cyclists, walkers and runners.

The Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Download the IRS determination letter here.