Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Student Government supports creation of Waller Creek management team

Manoo Sirivelu
A Styrofoam cup litters the bank of Waller Creek near the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on Wednesday.

Student Government passed legislation on Feb. 13 calling for the formation of a Waller Creek management team to clean up the creek and make it safer for students.

While it’s unclear when the team will be formed, it would comprise of two staff members from UT Landscape Services and the two student interns who currently maintain the creek, which runs along San Jacinto Boulevard. Landscape Services Manager Jim Carse said the team would focus on maintaining the plant community, weeding out invasive species and cleaning up litter. 

Environmental science sophomore Will Eagle, an author of the legislation, said he introduced the bill so students could enjoy UT’s natural beauty and the creek could continue functioning as a “living laboratory” for science classes. 

“You have Barton Creek two or three miles away,” Eagle said. “(It’s a) pristine creek, beautiful, and everyone expects it to be that way. Then you have Waller Creek, which is a shithole of a creek, and everyone just accepts that because that’s the way it’s been.” 

Carse said he advocated for a similar management team in 2016, when dance freshman Haruka Weiser was murdered along the creek, to increase safety in the area. At the time, Landscape Services created “sightlines” to increase the creek’s visibility from further away. 

“We had some areas of the creek that were a little sheltered and dark and you couldn’t see very well from a vegetative standpoint, so we went in and did some work on that front,” Carse said.  

However, improving safety in Waller Creek could conflict with Landscape Services’ goal of environmental preservation because creating these sightlines means thinning out the nearby vegetation, Carse said. 

This legislation ropes in other longstanding efforts to maintain Waller Creek, such as Longhorns Don’t Litter, which sponsored the bill. Zoey Kaul, the organization’s president, said the group will collaborate with the Waller Creek management team if one is created. 

Kaul, a sustainability studies and government junior, said the group hosts several creek cleanups per semester and raises awareness about the creek and its challenges, which supports Eagle’s larger goal with the legislation. 

“It’s working in parallel,” Eagle said. “We have Longhorns Don’t Litter, which is a ground-up kind of thing, and the Student Government resolution, which is more of a top-down kind of thing, so it’s approaching the problem from multiple directions.”

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