Massive McCoys Creek Clean-Up Planned for April 21st

April 8, 2013 24 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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.

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:



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 for the latest event details, including happy hour specials after each event.

Article by Ennis Davis. Contact Ennis at

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