Creating A Resilient Shoal Creek
November 21, 2022 | By Shoal Creek Conservancy
At this time of the year, we reflect back on a (very) long, dry summer interrupted by a record-breaking flood on Shoal Creek. Times of drought and heavy rainfall each take their toll on our natural spaces. That’s why Shoal Creek Conservancy is working to make Shoal Creek more resilient to harsh changes like these through the implementation of the Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan.
Envision a more resilient Shoal Creek. A swimmable and fishable creek. A creek with healthy, diverse riparian areas (the land between the creek channel and flat land above the banks). A stable habitat for fish, insects, birds and mammals who depend on water, food and shelter year round along Shoal Creek.
While it’s a long-term effort, a healthy and resilient Shoal Creek can be achieved by implementing the Watershed Action Plan through activities like:
- Conducting Riparian Restoration along Shoal Creek
- Replacing invasive species with a mix of drought-tolerant and flood-tolerant native species
- Preventing loss of habitat through erosion by planting along exposed banks
- Conducting cleanups to remove debris and harmful litter from the creek and trail
- Working with neighbors along Shoal Creek to create partnerships throughout the watershed that expand capacity for maintenance along Shoal Creek
In late 2021, SCC made another investment in the Watershed Action Plan by hiring a full-time Watershed Coordinator. With this new capacity and expertise, we have begun:
- Riparian restoration projects at Seiders Springs Park, Pease Park, and Duncan Park
- Rain garden adoption at the Woodview Rain Garden on Shoal Creek Blvd
- A Waterwise Landscapes Workshop for Creekside Neighbors
- A partnership with Austin Resource Recovery to dispose of litter removed from Shoal Creek
- New benefits for Creekside Neighbors, like free extra trash collection stickers for litter they remove from private property along Shoal Creek
On August 22, 2022, Shoal Creek experienced its largest flood since 2015 after receiving nearly 5 inches of rain in a 3 hour period. While many unfortunate results came from this flood event, including damaged retaining walls and handrails, significant litter, and temporary trail closure, we also saw a beacon of success at our Seiders Springs restoration site. Where shallow-rooted, invasive Elephant Ear once stood, recently-planted, deep-rooted, native grasses and sedges survived after being submerged in rushing flood waters – their roots providing critical stability to the soil below our beloved, historic springs.
With this evidence of resilience in view, Shoal Creek Conservancy is looking forward to tackling more riparian restoration projects along the creek, creating more hands-on partnerships with neighbors, and seeing more successes like the one at Seiders Springs. We need your help to continue implementing the Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan to create a more resilient and clean Shoal Creek, so please consider donating today!