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My Austin: Meet Rancher Henry Brooks a proud steward of Barton Creek
Photo: Barton Creek Photo: Henry Brooks Photo: Henry Brooks looking at the creek

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For most Austinites Barton Creek is more than a swimming hole. It's a way of life, one that makes Austin, Austin.

Photo: Barton CreekHayes County rancher Henry Brooks feels the same way.

"Barton Creek is very important to me because I was raised here," Brooks said. "My father spent every minute he could out here all of his life. I feel the same way and I've done the same thing."

Photo: Henry Brooks and his goatsBrooks, who runs cattle and goats, grew-up on the ranch and also raised his son there. So he takes pride in preserving the land and the creek that flows through it for nearly half a mile.

He uses native plants and carefully manages his herd to protect one of Austin's greatest treasures.

"What I try to do is to do things that promotes the growth of native plants and grasses and forbs and trees and to let them grow," Brooks said. "I try to let the land take care of me so I defer grazing on most of the property most of the time so too much of the plant's aren't harvested."

Photo: Barton CreekDuring his lifetime, Brooks has watched the creek dry up and remembers whole years in the 1950s when it didn't flow at all. Brooks said he enjoys the creek any time of the day but especially when its full and flowing steadily through his land.

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Produced by Tom Spencer.

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