Creek Week volunteers clear debris from UCCS’ adopted waterway

A volunteer at the seventh annual Creek Week cleanup event clears debris from the Templeton Gap Floodway.

Volunteers cleared UCCS’ adopted waterway, the Templeton Gap Floodway, of more than 25 bags of trash as part of the seventh annual Colorado Springs Creek Week.

According to research conducted by professor of Geography and Environmental Studies David Havlick, the Templeton Gap Floodway was built in 1949 after catastrophic flooding submerged 200 Colorado Springs city blocks, destroyed homes and city infrastructure and caused casualties in the waterway’s drainage area.

UCCS adopted a segment of the floodway, which diverts stormwaters to Monument Creek and reduces the likelihood of urban flooding, through the city of Colorado Springs’ adopt-a-waterway cleanup program. Three times a year, the Office of Sustainability at UCCS invites volunteers to clear debris from this critical resource.

UCCS’ Templeton Gap Floodway cleanup was one of over 200 events offered during the Colorado Springs Creek Week.

17 socially distanced volunteers pulled 25 bags of trash, two bikes, three shopping carts and an entire gutter from the waterway during the Oct. 1 cleanup event.

“Creek Week is a great way to give back to your community,” said interim director of sustainability Kimberly Reeves.

“While pulling a tire or a shopping cart out of the creek feels super rewarding, picking up a single cigarette butt positively impacts the health of our waterways. And even though this event is only a week long, you can participate year-round by bringing a bag to pick up trash on your neighborhood walks or hikes. And make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles by ‘packing it in; packing it out’.”

The Colorado Springs Creek Week is the state’s largest watershed cleanup initiative. Since the first Creek Week in 2014, Colorado Springs volunteers have cleared more than 84 tons of trash from urban waterways, including Fountain Creek, which provides 15 percent of the city’s drinking water.

Those interested in volunteering for future cleanup events can learn more on the Creek Week website.