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2014-05-15

Even with low water, turnout high for river cleanup

By Robert Brischetto Special to the Courier

Even as the drought in Bandera County entered its fourth year, the turnout in this year's cleanup of the Medina River was up over that of last year.
As many as 209 persons signed in to remove almost two tons of trash from the Medina River for the Medina River Cleanup on Saturday, May 3. The turnout was second highest since the cleanup began 14 years ago. Highest turnout was in 2010 when the river flow was much greater.
Dave Cox reported recycled metal included 2,780 pounds of steel and 353 pounds of aluminum, collecting a total of $360.
Seven of the 12 sections of the 50 miles of river within Bandera County were closed to paddlers due to low or no water. Only 28 of the participants paddled the river. The rest hiked the 37 miles of river that could not be floated by boat.
The participants varied in age from 10 to 86 years, with a third between the ages of 11 and 17 and another third above 50 years. There was greater participation this year from boy scouts, including Troops 145 and 347 from San Antonio and Troop 627 from Cibolo.
Participants came from 23 different cities and towns across Texas and one from Hobbs, New Mexico. Four out of 10 of the cleanup participants were Bandera County residents. Another four in 10 were from San Antonio.
The community-wide effort was evident from the variety of ways in which locals contributed to the cleanup, bringing their tractors, pickups and equipment to pull out debris from the riverbed and banks. Pioneer River Resort provided free camping. The City of Bandera provided a dumpster for trash and free camping at the Bandera City Park.
After the cleanup, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Bobby Harris served barbecue to 146 persons. Josh Peek of Comfort and Brandon Nichols of Bandera provided entertainment by performing their country western original songs.
Sponsors of the 2014 cleanup included City of Bandera Economic Development Corporation, Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, Bandera Business Association, Bandera County Commissioners Court, Lake Medina Conservation Society, Chuck and Janet Andres and Louis Howard.
A public charity, the Medina River Protection Fund was established as a perpetual fund to engage residents throughout the county in a community effort to preserve and protect the river. Donations are tax deductible. Don Sloan serves as treasurer.