With temperatures on the rise, Austinites are starting to think about ways to cool off at their favorite swimming spots. While for most of us local creeks are a reprieve from the heat, Keep Austin Beauitful’s Adopt-a-Creek leaders are busy all year long thinking about ways to improve our local waterways. Over 100 groups remove litter, track creek health, restore the riparian ecosystems throughout the year, and the heat won’t be stopping them from planning future projects.
Clara McBrayer and the Friends of Walnut Creek will be planning restoration projects for this fall which will include removing ligustrum and replacing the invasive tree with native trees. Anthony Murray is looking to create a large natural area along a stretch of Harris Branch Creek. He hopes to work with the home homeowner’s association which currently owns and maintains the adopted segment and neighbors to create a more natural marshy nature preserve that is enjoyable to community members and serves as a natural filtration system and introduces new habitats to the creek.
This past fall and spring have also been busy for current adopters. Brooksource ATX created a fun office culture around their Adopt-a-Creek site at Barton Creek. The team has gone above and beyond to make their dedication to clean water crystal clear. The team devotes lunch breaks, weekends and after work hours to clean and restore a popular section of Barton Creek which runs adjacent to their office. Outside of litter cleanups, Brooksource ATX can be found working to increase biodiversity of riparian flora by removing invasive species that crowd out native plants and replacing them with native trees, shrubs and grasses. They’ve also learned how to harvest seed pods from native trees, scarify the seeds to jump start germination and spread the seeds throughout their creek’s grow zone. You can see more about their work in a video they made this year as a part of the Super Service Challenge.
Creeks are a way of life for Austin and we are excited to keep working with such a dedicated group of volunteers and have the continued support of the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department. Adopt-a-Creek leaders looking to gain more information and guidance with their upcoming projects can attend the Adopt-a-Creek Conference on Saturday, May 20th from 9am-4pm at the Northwest Recreation Center (2913 Northland Dr). Lunch will be provided. Adopters should be prepared for some classroom time and some creek time. The training will cover invasive plant identification, restoration plan creation, and a plant walk along a creek. Attendees should wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes, long pants and sleeves, and other sun protection.