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2014-05-01

Medina River Cleanup is community effort

By Bob Brischetto Special to the Courier

Fifty miles of the Medina River within Bandera County have been scanned in preparation for the annual river cleanup on Saturday, May 3. Although the river has no flooded during the past year, the receding water has made the manmade debris from previous floods accessible.
Now in its fourth year, the drought has wrecked havoc on river recreation. Shuttles from most of the tube and kayak rental companies have ceased and may not open this year without significant spring rains.
But, rain or no rain, the Medina River Cleanup continues. Participants are expected from more than three dozen cities and towns throughout Texas. Last year, 184 people from 27 Texas towns pitched in to clear more than a ton and a half of debris from the river. In spite of the drought, almost half of them paddled.
Without significant rains between now and cleanup day, more attention will be paid this year to removal of trash by truck and hikers.
Input from Bandera County ranchers and landowners along the river is essential for identification of the big trash items to be removed. "As a community-wide volunteer effort, we invite locals to bring their tractors, pickups and equipment to help pull out trash from the riverbed and banks," said Bob Brischetto, cleanup coordinator. Landowners can contact Brischetto at 210-413-7264 to report large pieces to be removed on cleanup day.
The schedule of the May 3 cleanup includes:
• Registration, 9 am until noon at Bandera City Park for both paddlers and those who will clean up by foot or in trucks.
• T-shirts will be given to all participants at registration.
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served to participants by Precinct 2 County Commissioner Bobby Harris and his cooking crew.
• Barbecue dinner takes place from 5 pm to 7 pm for all volunteers and donors with music by Josh Peek and his band
• Free tent camping at the park and the Pioneer River Resort on May 2 and 3 for cleanup volunteers.
Sponsors of this year's cleanup are the City of Bandera Economic Development Corporation, the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, the Bandera Business Association, the Bandera County Commissioners Court, Lake Medina Conservation Society, Chuck and Janet Andres and Louis Howard.
The cleanup is conducted by the Medina River Protection Fund, a public charity, established as a perpetual fund to engage residents in all parts of the county in a community-wide effort to preserve and protect the river. Don Sloan serves as treasurer. Tax deductible donations may be made out to the Medina River Protection Fund and sent to PO Box 417, Lakehills 78063.
For more information on the river cleanup, maps of the Medina River and section heads, visit www.MedinaRiver.net.