Creek Beautification & Restoration with Annual Award Winners: Friends of South Zilker Park

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 10:08am

By Che Doddington, Fund Development & Communications Coordinator

Friends of South Zilker Park know a thing or two about creek restoration. Two years ago, the group, led by Gail Rothe, formalized their commitment to the Robert E. Lee Tributary by adopting the creek segment through Keep Austin Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Creek program. As adopters, they dedicate themselves to completing four service projects a year along the quarter mile stretch.

Over the course of a year, more than 50 Friends removed 150 invasive plants, established native seedlings, and removed 200 pounds of litter. Their service adds up to 140 volunteer hours dedicated to beautifying and restoring the Grow Zone habitat. The Friends group consists primarily of residents of Zilker and Barton Hills neighborhoods, although workday participants come from all over Austin and beyond.

A multi-year plan is underway to grow the diversity of native plants in the riparian area, stabilize the channel bank which receives considerable flow from the nearby hillside, and provide a more aesthetic look to the grow zone in response to neighborhood concerns.

The area, once overgrown with ragweed, has natives emerging - a few seasons away from a field of flowing grasses. 

Around the edge of a detention pond, under a heritage pecan tree, an extensive stand of Torilis arvensis was removed by one very dedicated volunteer over multiple days. Since then, a variety of native plants have taken hold, including fall aster.

Inspired by their own success, Friends of South Zilker Park adopted another section of creek in the same park - Old Little Zilker Creek Channel. 

Are you wowed? Because we are! We are inspired by their dedication and how Friends of South Zilker Park embody the power of Adopt-a-Creek to strengthen ties both between the community and nature. In a pocket of South Austin, we are witnessing neighborhood residents take ownership in the ongoing health and beauty of a few small streams. Their success is ours, and all of Austin's, which is why Keep Austin Beautiful is pleased to recognize the group with a 2016 Keep Austin Beautiful Award - Visa Beautification Award!

Join us in recognizing Friends of South Zilker Park and the rest of our Annual Award Winners at Beautify Bash, on November 17th at Umlauf Sculpture Garden.