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JBSA News
NEWS | Jan. 25, 2024

Volunteers needed for Basura Bash annual Salado Creek Park cleanup Feb. 17

By Suzannah Loehr 802nd Civil Engineer Squadron

Rain or shine, at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, Feb. 17, 2024, we will once again meet up at Salado Creek Park at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to participate in the annual Basura Bash.

The Basura Bash is a one-day all-volunteer-run event where people all around San Antonio participate in removing accumulated trash and debris from the San Antonio Watershed’s streams and tributaries. In recent years, JBSA volunteers have removed more than 20 tons of waste from Salado Creek.

These efforts go a long way to aid in the protection of wildlife habitat, maintaining the quality of local drinking water, and keeping our community recreation areas safe.

However, there is more that everyone can do to help by stopping trash before it gets into our waterways. Most of the trash and debris we see in our streams and creeks has traveled via wind or stormwater runoff, sometimes from miles away.

Whenever stormwater flows upon the surface instead of soaking into the ground (stormwater runoff), it drains into creeks and rivers, picking up trash and debris along the way.

Stormwater runoff transports debris of all sizes, including larger items such as tires, furniture, or broken appliances abandoned on the side of the road, as well as chemicals from lawns and driveways, and waste from our pets. Even soil and grass clippings can have an adverse effect on the aquatic life in our waterways.

While the Basura Bash is a one-day event, people can help to keep our waterways clean every day by:

  • Reducing the amount of waste they create
    • Fix or upcycle toys, clothes, or household items before you relegate them to trash
    • Use reusable water bottles, grocery bags, dishes, etc.
    • Avoid excess – stacks of napkins, plastic straws, and condiments from fast food restaurants – these items often end up in the trash, even unused!
    • Reduce the amount of packaging on the products you buy whenever possible
  • Putting trash/recyclables into their proper receptacles
  • Securing trash or other items in truck beds when transporting
  • Cleaning up chemicals spilled onto driveways and properly storing and disposing of these products (Bonus idea: find a natural alternative)
  • Properly disposing of pet waste
  • Taking larger bulk items or construction waste to the landfill or coordinating with local waste disposal bulk pickup services
  • Reducing stormwater runoff by utilizing permeable surfaces and landscape elements that slow or collect rainwater in at-home landscaping

Preserving our waterways is a team effort and one that will have a lasting effect. The Basura Bash is hosted by the 802nd Civil Engineer Squadron, and supported by the MWR Outdoor Recreation Staff, the squadron’s Heavy Repair Shop, and many other individuals representing their units across JBSA.

Gloves, trash bags, and water will be provided for all volunteers. However, it is highly encouraged for any volunteers coming out to bring their own reusable water bottles to reduce plastic waste.

Hand sanitizer will be available at the registration table and by the food/water tables. There will also be nets and grabbers available to aid in the land-based clean-up effort, but feel free to bring your own.

It is recommended that volunteers wear long pants and sturdy shoes or boots, and consider bringing sunscreen and bug repellent.

There will be a limited number of kayaks and canoes available for use during the clean-up, provided by MWR. A significant portion of the debris buildup is located in the center of Salado Creek, so we are encouraging anyone able to, to BYOK (bring your own kayak).

For more information on Basura Bash 2024, or to register to volunteer, visit https://basurabash.org/. For questions about this event, send an email to 802CES.CEIE.BasuraBash@us.af.mil or call 210-671-8015.

The 802nd Environmental team thanks everyone who has volunteered to make this event a success over the years and we hope to see you out again this year.