More than 30 volunteers came out to help with the recent Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Cleanup Event in Seguin.
This was the eighth such cleanup event coordinated by the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Partnership.
“During this year’s cleanup, volunteers interested in improving surface water quality in Geronimo and Alligator creeks removed hundreds of pounds of trash and debris from the creeks and the surrounding areas,” said Evgenia Spears, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service watershed coordinator, Bryan-College Station.
Spears said agency and partnership personnel were on hand at the cleanup to pitch in, provide information to volunteers about water quality issues and offer cleanup safety tips.
Volunteers worked individually and in small groups in different areas of the watershed in order to stay socially distanced. They removed dozens of bags of trash, wooden pallets and other debris. Teams focused on several locations, covering about 8 miles of roadway and creek banks around the watershed area.
“An interesting general observation from this year’s cleanup was that volunteers said they didn’t find as much trash this year as compared to previous years,” Spears said. “It could be that the reduction in litter was one of the few positive effects the pandemic had on our environment. With fewer people moving around, maybe less litter had accumulated along the streets.”
She noted, however, that volunteers reported masks and gloves were not among the more commonly picked up trash items this year.
“In all, miles of roadway and riparian areas were made litter-free by adults and teenagers who donated their time to make a difference in the way the area looks,” Spears said. “It was great to see people of all ages actively involved in helping to keep their watershed area clean.”
Spears said teams from area businesses, industry and churches returned for this year’s cleanup, and new teams were added.
The watershed and its protection plan
Geronimo Creek and its Alligator Creek tributary are located in Comal and Guadalupe counties, and lie within the larger Guadalupe River Basin.
On the Texas Water Quality Inventory published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Geronimo Creek was described as “impaired with a concern for nitrate-nitrogen and an impairment of the contact recreation use, due to elevated E.coli bacteria concentrations.”
“Development of the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Protection Plan was initiated by local stakeholders starting in 2009,” Spears said. “The plan was accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September of 2012.”
Watershed partnership stakeholders helped identify potential sources of pollution and set goals for improvement and identifying management solutions.
“One of those solutions was to host an annual cleanup event, which would be a watershed-wide effort to promote public awareness of water quality and environmental stewardship,” Spears said. “The impact of this work has been greatly strengthened by support from community partners.”
Supporting the cleanup effort
“Each year, we look for area sponsors who will be involved in and donate to the cleanup effort,” she said. “Their donations are used to support the cleanup by helping pay for items like reusable tote bags containing cleanup supplies for the volunteers and for the proper disposal of tires removed from the creek. In return, we promote the donating organization as an official sponsor of the event.”
Event sponsors for this year’s cleanup included Alamo Group, the city of New Braunfels, Vitesco Technologies, Ehlers’ Tree Farm, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Guadalupe County Groundwater Conservation District, Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center, Waste Connections of Texas, Daniel Pest Control Professional Services, County Commissioner Drew Engelke, Geronimo General Store and Keep Texas Beautiful.
For more information on the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Partnership, go to http://www.geronimocreek.org or https://www.facebook.com/GeronimoAlligator, or contact Spears at 979-845-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for the cleanup was provided through a federal Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board from the EPA.