Practicing Pollution Prevention Each Day
Over the next few months, the Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District is going to be featuring some of the beautiful parks that are located within the District’s boundaries. The bottom line is that parks, water and pollution prevention go hand-in-hand. So, the more you know about how those three work together, the more likely you’ll be to help prevent pollution from getting into our local rivers and aquifers.
So that’s why we’re calling this series “Learn and Live.” Each month, we will inform you about one of the must-see parks in Northern Bexar County. And with that learning, we hope you will not only want to visit that park, but you’ll also want live your life by developing the best pollution prevention habits that researchers have developed so far.
This month, we’ll be learning about the Government Canyon Natural Area.
Learning About Pollution Prevention
Historically, cities have paved roadways, sidewalks, trails, parking lots, sports courts, alleys, driveways, and other surfaces to reduce the annoyance and cost of slippery mud and blowing dust. Unfortunately, having so many hard, water-repelling surfaces (along with a vast number of urban rooftops) can be environmentally harmful. After it rains, vast amounts of water, now called “stormwater,” will collect in these areas, pick up the grease, grime and other pollutants that are deposited on them each day, and then head for a water source like a creek, river or aquifer. Here are some of the ways dirty stormwater can pollute a water supply:
most stormwater runoff escapes natural cleansing by plants, rocks and soil
without nature slowing down the stream of water after a rain, higher amounts of water are funneled to local streams;
urban streams become prone to flash flooding from rapid runoff, resulting in severe scouring, erosion, and reduction of plant life;
once stream beds are scoured, flooding becomes more common
The solution is to hold back the water where it hits, slow it down so that the destructiveness of erosion and contaminants is controlled, and that it is naturally cleaned it before it reaches a waterway or aquifer recharge feature.
So, now that you’ve learned how unabated stormwater can create flooding and pollution issues for our aquifers and streams, you can also understand why maintaining and increasing large natural areas like parks is so important to our community.
The important point to never forget is that the less runoff, and the slower the runoff we have, the less damage there is to rivers and aquifers and the overall environment.
Living Pollution Prevention
Here are the Top 5 Pollution Prevention Habits You Should Develop
Practice water conservation in your home each day. The less water you use, the more water is left in the Trinity Aquifer for future use.
Practice energy conservation in your home each day. Large amounts of water are needed to cool power plants that provide electricity to our city. Less energy production requires less water to be used.
Use non-toxic cleaning chemicals in your home. Never dump oil or others types of solvents on the ground or in the street where they can run off into a stream or an aquifer.
Use only environmentally-safe weed-killers and fertilizers on your landscapes.
Enjoy the parks and advocate for more green spaces in your communities.
Government Canyon State Natural Area
The Government Canyon State Natural Area on the north side of San Antonio is a 12,000-acre wilderness that protects both the Trinity Aquifer and the Edwards Aquifer from pollution. By setting aside this land to prevent future development on it, the environment can help filter water we get from rainfall and naturally recharge both aquifers.
Government Canyon offers more than 40 miles of trails for hiking. You can also camp, attend a program or guided hike, geocache, picnic, take nature photos, and look for birds and other wildlife. Kids will connect with “natural fun” at the playscape and Discovery Trail.
The trails cross gently rolling grasslands and remote, rugged canyon-lands. You can explore by hiking, mountain biking, or even trail running.
Take a walk through time on the Joe Johnston Route to the Zizelmann House, built in the 1880s. You’ll pass 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks and a prehistoric midden (look for a sign with information on this Native American site).
For great views, hike the Far Reaches Trail to the Chula Vista and Sotol overlooks, or to the North and South Bluff Spurs overlooks.
Campers can reserve one of 23 walk-in tent campsites and choose from two walk-in group tent camps for up to 16 people. Campgrounds are open Friday and Saturday nights only, with some additional nights being available around holidays.
Take a hike to see the only known dinosaur footprints on public land in Bexar County. Scientists think that Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon dinosaurs left the tracks, nearly 110 million years ago.
Hour of Operation
Government Canyon is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
Trails can be closed due to poor conditions or weather. Check the Government Canyon Twitter or Facebook pages for the latest trail reports, or call the park.