Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, [email protected]

Contact: Ward Ling, 979-845-6980, [email protected]

In spite of a cold front that blew in, volunteers came out in force for the recent annual Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Clean Up, coordinated by the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Partnership, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.

five people with trash grabbers and gloves
Volunteers prepare for watershed cleanup. (Photo by Jean Barnes, GBRA)

The cleanup is part of implementation efforts for the area’s watershed protection plan, coordinators said. Geronimo Creek and its tributary Alligator Creek flow through Comal and Guadalupe counties. Both creeks were identified for watershed protection plan development due to elevated levels of bacteria and concerns about high levels of nitrogen, as reported in the Texas Water Quality Inventory published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“This was our sixth annual cleanup and it was a huge success despite the cold weather,” said Ward Ling, AgriLife Extension coordinator for Geronimo and Alligator creeks watersheds. “We had 114 volunteers at this event who worked to remove more than 1,800 pounds of trash and debris from the creeks and surrounding areas.”

“Workers were on hand to provide information to volunteers about water quality issues in the creeks and to offer safety information such as helping volunteers identify areas where poison ivy might be growing,” he said. “Miles of roadway and creek banks were made litter-free by adults, teenagers and children who donated their time to make a difference in the way the area looks, as well as how they feel about it.”

Ling said many teams from area businesses, industry and churches returned for this year’s cleanup and new teams were added.

“Waste Connections and the city of New Braunfels donated disposal and recycling services for trash collected during the event,” he noted. “Over the years, we have learned new ways to streamline the event and make it better, and we’re still learning.”

Ling said this year volunteers focused on 10 locations amounting to 11 miles of roadway and creek banks around Geronimo and Alligator creeks.

man with one dollar bill and woman with one hundred dollar bill
This couple found cash while picking up trash in the road ditch during the watershed cleanup. It is finder’s keepers at this event! (Photo by Ward Ling)

“Volunteers removed 89 bags of trash, four tires, several wooden pallets, automotive batteries, mattresses and debris,” he said. “Some even found money, mostly dollar bills hidden among the litter. But one group found a $100 bill, which was a good payoff for coming out to work in the chilly morning wind.”

Event sponsors included Alamo Group, Becker’s Feed & Fertilizer, the city of New Braunfels, Continental Corporation, Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, Ehlers’ Tree Farm, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Guadalupe County Groundwater Conservation District, KWED, Niagara LLC, Progressive Waste Solutions, Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center and Thrivent Financial.

For more information, contact Ling at 979-845-6980 or [email protected] or go to http://www.geronimocreek.org/.

Funding for the effort was provided through a federal Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.