When you swim in the Barton Springs Pool, you always have company-- and not just human company.
Endangered salamanders have been living and swimming in the springs for 100,000 years.
"The way I figure it, we really need to consider ourselves guests in their home," Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison said.
Now, thanks to a renewed permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austinites can keep sharing the water with our underwater friends.
"If we didn't have the permit, it's likely we wouldn't have Barton Springs open for swimming," city salamander biologist Laurie Dries said.
The permit includes a new habitat conservation plan. The plan outlines, among other things, what cleaning materials the city can use.
"For instance, we don't use chemicals to clean in the aquatic habitat here because it's harmful to the aquatic life," Dries said.
The cleaning guidelines and the rest of the plan will enhance your swimming experience by helping to keep the water clear, but city leaders say the most important beneficiaries are the ones who've been swimming here for a hundred millennia.
"We preserve and protect not one but two endangered species, and so I think that speaks very well of the kind of values that we hold very dear here in Austin," Austin City Council Member Kathie Tovo said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been issuing permits for Barton Springs since 1995.
The new permit announced Friday will last for 20 years.
The Barton Springs Salamander and the Austin Blind Salamander are only found in Austin and nowhere else on the globe.