UGRA’s 12th Annual River Clean Up

river clean up
Cynthia Loving and Wendy Holt participating in the 12th Annual UGRA River Clean Up

Saturday, July 25thUpper Guadalupe River Authority, UGRA hosted its 12th Annual River Clean Up. A total of 6,315 pounds of garbage was collected by a record 403 participants, working along the river from above Hunt all the way to Center Point.

Approximately 920 pounds of this total was separated for recycling; such items included cans, plastic, cardboard, and scrap metal. Along with the expected paper and plastic trash, participants retrieved sheets of plywood, broken porta-potty, three sofas, AC window unit, air pump, car grill, flat screen TV, golf club, lawn chairs, half of a Subway restaurant sign, $10 bill, lawn mower, fish tank, rubber snake, and 16 tires! 

photo credit: Bill Terry, KDT
photo credit: Bill Terry, KDT

The volunteers who recovered these items entered them in to the biggest and most unusual items contest. The enthusiastic volunteers scoured the river from about 8:00 am to 11:00 am and when they returned to Flat Rock Park with their trash, they were served hot dogs from the Save Inn Restaurant and homemade treats from the Kerrville Garden Club. Participants also enjoyed exhibits by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Hill Country Master Naturalists, Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas, Riverside Nature Center, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Bob Howells on freshwater mussels, Kerr County 4-H, and UGRA.

The City of Kerrville hauls away trash collected during the 12 th Annual River Clean Up.
The City of Kerrville hauls away trash collected during the 12
th Annual River Clean Up.

The dedicated group of volunteers included many individuals, friends, and families as well as groups from Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout troops from Kerr County and the San Antonio area, Atmos Energy, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Hands of Help, Kerr County, Kerr County Roller Derby, Kerr County Women’s Chamber, Kerrville Board of Realtors, Kerrville Leos, Kerrville South CAG, Martin Marietta Materials, The Salvation Army, and the Town Creek Clean Up Team. Hardworking employees of the City of Kerrville, Garrett Services, Kerrville Recycling, and Republic Services hauled away the trash and recyclables free of charge.

Dedicated volunteers unload trash removed from the Guadalupe River watershed in Kerr County
Dedicated volunteers unload trash removed from the Guadalupe River watershed in Kerr County

The Trash to Treasure Hunt brings a fun and competitive element to the River Clean Up. This year, the contest was sponsored by Kerrville Recycling and the Ranch Radio Group. Three milk jugs marked with the radio stations’ stickers were hidden near the Guadalupe River or one of the tributaries. This year, all three of the hidden items were found by lucky volunteers who each claimed a $100 cash prize!

“Our goal with the cleanup is to raise awareness of how trash and garbage negatively impact our river which not only provides enjoyment to us but is an economic engine for the county. An added bonus is seeing coworkers, families, and friends working together and having fun while being stewards of the community,” said Ray Buck, UGRA General Manager.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.54.43 PMUGRA staff and directors distributed free t-shirts, refreshments, and raffle prizes to participants, as well as a prize to the furthest traveled volunteer. These items were made possible due to the generous donations from Bank of the Hills, City of Kerrville, Garrett Services, James Avery Jewelry, Kerr Screen Graphics, Kerrville Garden Club, Kerrville Kayak and Canoe, Kerrville Recycling, Martin Marietta Materials, North Park Subaru at Dominion, Republic Services, Rev FM, Riverside Nature Center, Save Inn Restaurant, Security State Bank and Trust, The Cailloux Foundation, The Ranch Radio Group, and Wheatcraft, Inc.

“We have many returning volunteers and sponsors that participate in the River Clean Up year after year. I am always thrilled to see these familiar faces and impressed by their commitment to keep the Guadalupe River healthy,” said Tara Bushnoe, UGRA Natural Resources Coordinator.

Nearly all volunteers received an 12 th Annual River Clean Up t-shirt. The t-shirt was designed by young Kerr County artist, Francia Williamson, whose artwork won the t-shirt design contest earlier this year.

The Annual River Clean Up is just one component of UGRA’s Trash Free Initiative. UGRA contracts to clean fifteen water crossings on a regular basis throughout the year. In addition, UGRA’s environmental education programs focus on preserving the water quality of the Guadalupe River.

The Upper Guadalupe River Authority is the respected, efficient, responsive, and forthright steward of the Upper Guadalupe River and its tributaries.

To view all the photos from the day’s events click here or visit: