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Debris, trash prompt closure of Mission Reach trail

Heavy rains wash trash down San Antonio River

SAN ANTONIO – For the past five days, all 16 miles of the Mission Reach trail system have been closed due to heavy debris, sediment and trash that washed up from weekend storms.

Dustin Weaver, a foreman with the San Antonio River Authority, and his crews have been working around the clock, picking it all up.

He counted tons of Styrofoam and plastic bags along the banks of the San Antonio River.

"It doesn't disintegrate, it just gets smaller and smaller," he said. "(Animals in) the habitat eat it, mistaking it for food, and it just plays havoc on nature."

According to SARA officials, the river rose from a normal reading of 5 feet to about 28 feet over the weekend.  

SARA spokesman Yviand Serbones said barricades were placed at access points to keep walkers and bikers safe. Officials didn't want anyone to get trapped on the trail.

"People can see the sediment, see the trash. They'll see the debris and they'll understand that it's a safety concern," said Serbones. 

Wednesday, the crew collected 25 bags of trash, each weighing between 50-75 pounds. Unfortunately, none of it can be recycled, he said. All of it is headed to the landfill.

"Just always be mindful of your trash, so when it rains, it doesn't wash up here," Serbones said.

SARA officials hope the rain event will remind people just how much trash can accumulate on the trail system in such a short amount of time.

"It all flows down to the San Antonio Bay, and we're just trying to do our part to keep it from spreading and going further," Weaver said.

Weather permitting, SARA officials hope to have all the trails back open by Thursday.