Trash travels but the buck stops here: Texans rally to keep Lake Travis clean during the 2016 Lake Travis Cleanup
Founded in 1994 by a group of divers, the Lake Travis Cleanup is the largest scuba diving and shoreline cleanup in Texas. On September 11th, 2016, 368 certified scuba divers and almost 500 shoreline walkers and paddlers gathered to collect trash from the bottom of Lake Travis and ten Travis County parks surrounding the Lake. The Cleanup was followed by a thank you party for volunteers at The Oasis restaurant on Lake Travis featuring a live DJ, door prizes, lunch, and educational activities about the protection and preservation of our natural resources.
For 22 years, the cleanup has raised awareness that “trash travels,” emphasizing the impacts that recreational activity has on the lake. “This event is about more than trash pickup; it is about protecting vital aquatic habitat and supporting the entire Lake Travis community and downstream communities,” said Brent Lyles, Colorado River Alliance’s executive director. Colorado River Alliance, Keep Austin Beautiful, and Travis County Parks partner annually to host the event. The following dive groups supported the Cleanup: Dive World-Austin, Lake Travis Scuba, Scubaland, Tom's Dive & Swim, Travis County Emergency Unit Dive Team, Pisces Dive Club, Dive Shop San Marcos, and University Scuba Club. Additional supporters included local marinas, boat rental operations, businesses, and community groups.
The 2016 Cleanup involved 21 locations along and within Lake Travis: 10 shoreline and 11 dive sites. 6,760 lbs. of trash and 1080 lbs. of recycling collected by divers, while an additional 2,940 lbs. of trash and 546 lbs. of recycling were collected by walkers and paddlers along 26 miles of shoreline. Volunteers contributed 2170 hours of time to the event. The most unique items found by divers was a drone, while shoreline volunteers found a large set of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) packs.
During the Volunteer Party, Texas Parks and Wildlife hosted an informational table on invasive zebra mussels. Keep Austin Beautiful educators taught attendees about macroinvertebrates and recycling, and the Colorado River Alliance informed volunteers about how the Highland Lakes are used to help manage floods, and demonstrated how different kinds of watershed pollution occurs.
Photos from the event can be found on Keep Austin Beautiful’s Facebook page and the event’s official website, http://laketraviscleanup.org/. Media coverage was provided by Austin-American Statesman, Lake Travis View, KXAN, and CBS Austin.
Local area businesses and organizations made key contributions through sponsorships and in-kind service donations. Colorado River Alliance Executive Director Brent Lyles added, “Community support and involvement has been the key to the continued success of the Cleanup.” Event partners welcome additional divers, dive groups, and sponsors to join future Lake Travis Cleanups, which are held every September.
Event Partners Include: Colorado River Alliance, Keep Austin Beautiful, and Travis County Parks
Event Sponsors Include: REI, H-E-B, Brown Distributing Co., Emerald Point Marina, Waste Management, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP, The Oasis, McLean & Howard LLP, Unity Church of Lake Travis, and Randall's Food Markets
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