Staying green in Kyle: Community pitches in for River Clean Up

Kyle Stormwater Administrator Kathy Roecker discovered Saturday sometimes it’s the little things that matter most.

While leading a group helping to clean up a part of Plum Creek in Waterleaf Park, Roecker noticed a small turtle whose habitat was blocked by various pieces of trash.

It would have been easy for Roecker or anyone else to look past the fledgling creature.

Instead, Roecker decided to do something about it.

“The poor little guy, he was no bigger than a silver dollar and at the end of his habitat, trash was there,” Roecker said. “We then cleaned it up. That was cool to do that.”

The moment, small as it was, solidified the efforts of about 120-plus people who participated in the city’s inaugural event in conjunction with the 33rd annual Great Texas River Cleanup.

The initiative, held March 3, focused on cleaning litter and debris from creeks and tributaries that flow into the San Marcos and Blanco rivers. Roecker said city leaders took part in the event as Plum Creek converges with the San Marcos River. The first location for the city’s inaugural effort was a part of Plum Creek in Waterleaf Park.

“We worked with them because we wanted to bring forward storm water awareness and make people aware that what gets thrown in ditches and what gets thrown in parking lots can go into the creek,” Roecker said.

Tracy Sheel, Kyle City Council District 4 and Waterleaf resident, said helping to clean the creek was important to the city’s renewed focus on its parks and trails.

She cited the city’s plan to create a trail along Plum Creek on the east side of town that could eventually connect to the proposed Emerald Crown Trail. That project could create a trail system connecting Kyle and Buda to south Austin.

“Our community wants to be able to enjoy nature, but the only way to do that is with clean nature, and not just walking through the trails and seeing trash,” Sheel said. “That’s not very pleasant.”

What was found during the course of Saturday’s creek cleanup surprised many who were there.

Roecker said her group found a gutted television, along with several illegal dump sites that city officials didn’t know were there.

The sites held construction and demolition debris waste. Roecker said it was shocking to see “lot of stuff” entered the city’s storm water system based on the amount of trash at the outfalls.

Jacob Guerrero, a Kyle Parks and Recreation Department employee, said his group found playground slides, washing machines and even old toilets in the creek.

“It’s not good to see. It’s stuff that needs to be cleaned up,” Guerrero said. “It’s nice to get people to help clean this stuff up.”

For Guerrero, obtaining the help of the community and city leaders in cleanup efforts went a long way.

“Overall, it’s nice to have help like that. It’s not everyday we have 20 to 30 people out there,” Guerrero said. “We got a lot of stuff done.”

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