Shoal Creek Conservancy wants people to be able to swim in the creek, trail to be 13 miles long

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Shoal Creek Conservancy celebrated its 10th anniversary Wednesday, remarking on all the improvement projects it has already accomplished and signaling what is to come.

Shoal Creek is the oldest hike and bike trail in Austin. The Shoal Creek Conservancy was formed in late 2013 to enhance the trail and improve the creek’s water quality.

“We are the active champions for Austin’s oldest hike and bike trail,” said Ivey Kaiser, the executive director of Shoal Creek Conservancy. “We work towards improving habitat along the creek, water quality, reducing erosion and flood risk on Shoal Creek.”

So far, among other things, the conservancy has extended the trail by over five miles and added over 100 “wayfinding” signs to make the trail more accessible and “welcoming.”

The conservancy in the next few years wants to extend the trail even further so that it connects all the way from Lady Bird Lake to the Northern Walnut Creek Trail in north Austin – approximately 13 miles in total. This would connect to the overall 30-mile loop of trails throughout the city.

“Austin has always wanted more outdoor space – more access to trails, more ways to connect with nature and creeks. We want to protect the quality of what we have, but then increase access to it,” Kaiser said.

On the creek side, Kaiser said the conservancy is actively working to improve water quality so that Austinites might some day soon be able to fish and swim in the creek.

“As Austin grows, it introduces more water quality challenges, more impervious cover in the watershed. But we really hope to be combating those changes and improving water quality over time to a measurable degree,” Kaiser said.

“We really want to work with all the residents in the watershed and all the neighbors across the city to find these opportunities to improve the overall health of the watershed,” she continued.

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