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Massive McCoys Creek Clean-Up Planned for April 21st

A group of local water stewards are poised to pull off the largest clean up that McCoys Creek has ever seen. Here is a look at their story, what they plan to accomplish and how you can help.

Published April 8, 2013 in News      24 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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The State of McCoys Creek

In 1930, the McCoys Creek Improvement Project, a manifestations of the City Beautiful Movement, transformed the stagnant mosquito breeding waterway into a three-mile long, 36' wide navigable inland waterway.  The goal of that project was to control flooding and eliminate health hazards while also creating an attractive linear urban greenway to stimulate economic development throughout the city's westside.

Time would quickly prove that the great dreams and deeds of Jacksonville's political and cultural leaders of yesteryear were not reciprocated by future generations. After 82 years of poor maintenance, the ignored creek is choked by downed trees, trash, and heavy silting.  A quick look at the images below, illustrate the condition of McCoys Creek in January 2013.






For years, various residents, such as Sarah Nan, and civic groups like the North Florida Land Trust and Durbin Creek Wilderness Society, have taken it upon themselves to try and keep the creek from being completely overloaded with trash. For example, the St. Johns Riverkeeper started regular monthly cleanups, after doing a 4 site cleanup last September. Supplies, gloves and bags were provided by the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission. Also, each month, the Jacksonville Jaycees bring at least six to ten people, man power and enthusiasm. Images of a February 2013 cleanup are shown below:


Before


After


While a large amount of trash, traffic cones, tires and shopping carts were removed, there's much more to do.


..the King Street under-bridge clog...


 ..King Street clog close up...


..our city contractors were supposed to cut these nylon straps after the trees rooted...


..the Smith Street clog...


..the Smith Street tree clog...


..the Nixon Street east clog..


..a turbidity curtain forgotten by city contractors..



..historic and beautiful McCoys Creek in front of the Cash Building Supply Company. This area will require an invasive plant removal concept that will not challenge our efforts to restore the surface water flow to the river.


How You Can Help



Now this group of tactical urbanist have decided to launch a massive citizen-led effort to clean this downtown Jacksonville waterway. All willing participants are invited to join the McCoys Creek cleanup effort on April 21, 2013 at 10am, beginning at Hollybrook Park. Organizations and individuals looking to get involved and help cleanup this polluted urban waterway are encouraged to visit Rising Tides, the young professionals of St. Johns Riverkeeper on Facebook or www.stjohnsriverkeeper.com/events for the latest event details, including happy hour specials after each event.

Article by Ennis Davis. Contact Ennis at edavis@metrojacksonville.com

Source of information and images: http://bartramcanoetrail.blogspot.com/







24 Comments

sheclown

April 08, 2013, 07:08:08 AM
What a great project!!!  Thank you for your efforts and for sharing this with us.

Noone

April 08, 2013, 07:53:57 AM
This is very positive. Congratulations to all involved.

mbwright

April 08, 2013, 08:10:12 AM
A major undertaking.  Another reminder that it is much easier to maintain, than reclaim after many years of neglect.

Jason

April 08, 2013, 09:03:43 AM
And just imagine what clearing those clogs will do to the overall effectiveness of the creek during rain storms.  Hopefully the city gets behind this and ponies up some equipment.

Ocklawaha

April 08, 2013, 09:38:20 AM
Certainly one of the waste contractors in the city could donate a couple of drivers and some trucks with container dumpsters to clean this mess up. The most amazing thing about McCoy's is that there is a creek in that mess someplace. Shall we contact the city sanitation or the waste haulers?  Want me to do it?  Send me a PM.

Captain Zissou

April 08, 2013, 09:49:44 AM
Those clogs are pretty severe. This looks more intense than what we did at Hogan's creek.  I'll bring what I can to help.

Karenfinan

April 08, 2013, 11:12:24 AM
I am a long time lurker, but registered so I could kudos to Sarah Nan for her hard work cleaning up McCoy's Creek!

Cheshire Cat

April 08, 2013, 11:15:05 AM
I am a long time lurker, but registered so I could kudos to Sarah Nan for her hard work cleaning up McCoy's Creek!
Welcome and let me add my praise to yours.  This is a wonderful and much needed undertaking.  Thanks Ennis for sharing the story and a huge thank you to those doing so much positive work!  :)

Karenfinan

April 08, 2013, 11:27:11 AM
oops, meant give kudos to Sarah! Thanks Cheshire Cat, I live in Alameda Ca, but lived many years in Jax, and my two children and grandson still live there, so I am very invested in it being a great place to live!

fieldafm

April 08, 2013, 12:32:05 PM
Well that's an interesting way to describe the cleanups that have been going on at McCoys for a long time now.  Saran Nan has been an incredible voice(for a long time, the only voice) for McCoys for the better part of a decade.  Recently Alicia Smith from the St Johns Riverkeeper's young professional group the Rising Tides started conducting monthly cleanups of McCoys for about 6 months now.. which have included inviting the likes of the Jacksonville Jaycess, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and the Durbin Creek Wilderness Society.

I invite anyone interested to come out on April 21st (we have all the tools you'll need) or to any of our monthly cleanups.  We also reconvene for lunch at Tijuana Flats in Riverside afterwards.

Let's make sure to give credit where credit is due, however.

urbaknight

April 08, 2013, 12:55:08 PM
Where exactly does everyone meet up?

thelakelander

April 08, 2013, 01:06:52 PM
Well that's an interesting way to describe the cleanups that have been going on at McCoys for a long time now.  Saran Nan has been an incredible voice(for a long time, the only voice) for McCoys for the better part of a decade.  Recently Alicia Smith from the St Johns Riverkeeper's young professional group the Rising Tides started conducting monthly cleanups of McCoys for about 6 months now.. which have included inviting the likes of the Jacksonville Jaycess, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and the Durbin Creek Wilderness Society.

I invite anyone interested to come out on April 21st (we have all the tools you'll need) or to any of our monthly cleanups.  We also reconvene for lunch at Tijuana Flats in Riverside afterwards.

Let's make sure to give credit where credit is due, however.

Anyone else you believe should be credited?  I'll add them to the main story.

fieldafm

April 08, 2013, 02:07:14 PM
Where exactly does everyone meet up?

I believe this month's meetup with be at Hollybrook Park King Street at Fitzgerald Street.  If you follow the Rising Tides on Facebook, the info for the monthly cleanups are there.

North Florida Land Trust is also involved with McCoys Creek.  It's not a solo show, that's for sure.

JayceeJessie

April 08, 2013, 02:10:22 PM
Great story about the efforts the guys from Durbin Creek have been putting into McCoys, but Fieldafm is right about Durbin Creek Society being part of a larger effort to clean up McCoys Creek. Sarah Nan is the matron of this effort, and has brought together a variety of environmental and civic groups to make her dream of a beautiful and navigable urban creek a reality.

Another key person deserving of praise is Alicia Smith, who is both a Rising Tides member (the YP group of the Riverkeepers) and a Jaycee. She brought both of these groups into the cleanup effort, and it is the Jaycees and the Rising Tides that have provided the bulk of the volunteers each month. Finally, you can’t forget about Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, who has provided the bags and supplies for the cleanup. 

As one of the volunteers who has been out with Sarah, Alicia and Josh since December, I am very excited to see even more people out there on the 21st. This is a very fun and involved clean up, so come ready to get wet and dirty!

acme54321

April 08, 2013, 02:19:50 PM
Are these efforts focusing on cleaning up the creek or do they include restoration?  I saw something about invasive plant removal.  The creek appears to be extremely silted in, I bet a little silt removal would uncover some serious artifacts down there!

fieldafm

April 08, 2013, 02:29:53 PM
It kind of depends on what part of the creek is being worked on.  Last month there were two or three sites that were being worked on during the annual city-wide cleanup and invasive plant removal was a part of one of those sites.

Some of the areas where invasive plants have really disrupted the tidal flow are pretty contaminated... so, efforts are made not to kick up sediment that contains toxins in those areas.  The monthly cleanups are mainly in the more residential parts of the creek, not the industrial sites that have the worst contamination problems.  We also provide gloves, bags and all sorts of hand tools to make it fun and productive without having to get your feet wet if you are not inclined to do so.

North Florida Land Trust is indeed working on some long term restoration efforts, including shoreline restoration as well as possibly linking McCoys with the Baldwin Rail Trail.  That's obviously much bigger picture and much more long term.  But you can immediately help out this month or any other months with our more low impact cleanups. 

Slankinship

April 09, 2013, 08:25:56 AM
There is no lack of a need for volunteers on McCoys. While we normally have about 15-30 volunteers out there each month, it would be great to get 50-100 or more on April 21st. Its EARTH DAY! Plus, Hollybrook Park is so large, we can easily get everyone working together. Check out the pictures from cleanups each month on FB (help wanted).

John P

April 09, 2013, 09:51:27 AM
How do you remove invasive water plants? like a pesticide?

fieldafm

April 16, 2013, 09:17:11 PM
Just bumping this up.  Hope to see a few new faces this Sunday. 

Thanks to Lakelander for getting this event up on digital billboards around town! 

thelakelander

April 16, 2013, 10:54:58 PM

Ocklawaha

April 16, 2013, 11:36:16 PM
Anyone know if we've got any dumpsters? Bet Waste Management, or some of the other companies would be happy to spot a few in exchange for being included in the story. A couple of construction type dumpsters would be ideal and it saves our volunteers from driving around with a half ton of garbage in the bed of the old pick up truck.

mbwright

May 23, 2013, 08:27:30 AM
any 'after' photos?  I hope it was successful.

fieldafm

May 23, 2013, 11:14:38 AM
any 'after' photos?  I hope it was successful.

We hold monthly cleanups (just had one last Sunday).
You can view pictures on the Facebook page of the Rising Tides of the St Johns Riverkeeper.

John P

May 23, 2013, 04:16:49 PM
How di dyou get rid of the invasive plants? just wondering
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