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Volunteers collect 3 tons of garbage from the Guadalupe River

More than 400 volunteers fanned out Saturday to clean the river in Upper Guadalupe River Authority-sponsored event.

The last thing Kerrville Assistant City Attorney William Tatsch expected to find during Saturday's cleanup of the Guadalupe River was a 6-inch knife, but that was just one of many strange items found.

When he discovered the knife, Tatsch was cleaning along the river on Louise Hays Park's Tranquility Island. Some of his city of Kerrville colleagues found a slew of things like old rebar or tires.

City Attorney William Tatsch holds the knife he found while cleaning in Louise Hays Park.


More than 400 volunteers fanned out across the river areas of Kerr County, searching for garbage and junk — they found plenty. How much? The Upper Guadalupe River Authority, which organizes the annual cleanup, said volunteers removed more than 6,100 pounds — or 3 tons.

"It was a whirlwind," said Matthew Wilkinson, who heads up the event for UGRA. "It was fun. I got to meet a lot of people."

UGRA's Tara Bushnoe, who previously led the cleanup organization but is now moving into the general manager role, always seems surprised by the weird and alarming stuff in the river.

Bushnoe said it's the first time she's seen a purple toilet. Yes, a purple throne seemingly fitted for the relentlessly optimistic TV character "Barney" was discovered by JAM Broadcasting Leslee and Justin McClure.

"Our goal with the cleanup is to raise awareness of how trash and garbage negatively impact our river, which not only provides enjoyment to us, but is an economic engine for the county," said Ray Buck, UGRA General Manager. "An added bonus is seeing coworkers, families, and friends working together and having fun while being stewards of the community."

Just some of the other strange things:

  • A personal check from 1982.
  • A drive shaft.
  • There was a car stereo with cassette tape still found in it.
  • A water heater.
  • Bicycles.
  • Food.

Tatsch's knife was sent to a re-use pile, some of which will become an art piece. The art project belongs to Phyliss Garey, who takes the old junk and builds a re-use class at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram.

However, the critical part is that the community turned out in force to clean up miles of riverbank.

"It's a very good number," Wilkinson said of the 401 volunteers who registered. But the big number is still to come — how much they took out of the river.

To see more photos from the event:

Just some of the groups involved were: Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout troops from Kerr County and the San Antonio area, 4H First Tee, Atmos Energy, Center Point Garden Club, City of Kerrville, Ironclad Auto Glass, Keep West Kerr Beautiful, City of Ingram, Kerr County Democrats, Kerr County Women's Chamber, Kerrville Chamber Ambassadors, Kerrville Fire Department, Kerrville Morning Rotary, Kerrville Noon Rotary, Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary #6409, KPUB, Martin Marietta, RA Nursery and Aggregates, Randolph Federal Credit Union, Texas Hill Country Bank, Texas Master Naturalists – Hill Country Chapter, Texas Outdoors Woman Network, and The Yoga Space


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