NW and Service Learning to clean up Rio Grande

October 22, 2019

 

The Northwest campus is teaming up with the Service Learning Program to make a difference and clean up the Rio Grande.


The group is looking for volunteers to join them on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9 A.M. to noon. They plan to meet at the Borderland Bridge and go up to the Canutillo Bridge, cleaning along the way.

 

 

Photo courtesy Service Learning Program 

From 2018 cleanup volunteers helping out picking up trash.

 

 

Parking will be available at the Borderland Bridge, which is located near the intersection of W. Borderland Road and Doniphan Drive. Volunteers will be provided with water, snacks and everything they will need to assist with the clean-up.

 

This group of teachers, students and members from the community come together to clean the river every year.

 

They are partners with the Texas Clean Rivers Program, a program under the International Boundary and Water Commission. 

 

The Texas CRP was formed in 1991 in response to a growing concern over pollution in Texas’ rivers and a lack of regulation.

 

Now the program is tasked with monitoring the state’s rivers, community outreach and working with partners to perform clean-up operation.

 

Previous year’s efforts saw up to 150 volunteers and the group is always hoping for more to join in.

 

Biology professor Diego Reyes, who has been assisting with the program for the past three years explains, “We are trying to inform people about some of the issues we have in our community and the importance of having a clean water source.”

 

Reyes added they want to “get the community involved- so it’s also open to the public.”

 

This year the group will feature a guest speaker from the Texas CRP, Program Manager Leslie Grijalva, to talk about the need to clean up Texas’ water sources.

 

Part of what the group wants to do is inform the public about recycling and reducing the use of plastics.

 

“Usually when we use plastics [such as] plastic bottles and bags, they don’t decompose so quickly so they can remain in the environment for a long period of time,” said Reyes.

 

He also went on to explain some of the other problems plaguing the river such as dumping and pollution.

 

“We’ve found many different items like used tires [and] used mattresses,” said Reyes.

 

He also explained that a big contributor to pollution in the river, are the nearby cattle farms.

 

As irrigation method push contaminants into the river “bacteria grows, like coliforms and they can mess up different things in the water. Like, the oxygen levels that are needed for organisms.”

 

Coliforms are type bacteria that consists of many different species. While most are typically harmless, they are indicators of more dangerous pathogens such as E. coli.

 

While the group can’t do much to change the pollution in the water, they can help by cleaning up the trash that litters the area.

 

You can help too, for more information contact Diego Reyes at 831-8851 or Jeffrey Sivils at 831-2489.

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