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Invasive snails, Mardi Gras beads, cell phones and other odd trash items continue to be found in the San Antonio River

More than 500 Apple snails, an invasive species, were among the items uncovered and removed during a routine draining and cleanup along the River Walk

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) uncovered various pieces of trash and aquatic species during their routine draining of the San Antonio River announced Tuesday morning. 

The river draining is performed for routine maintenance and operation every two years usually in January, during the cold months, to prevent any possible bad odor that could occur at warm temperatures, according to SARA.

Chairs, Mardi Gras beads, cell phones, laptops, and over-sized flower pots were some items recovered during the draining process, according to Operational Manager for Stormwater Operation in Public Works, Jose Salazar. 

SARA says, more than 500 Apple snails, an invasive species SARA asked volunteers to help remove in 2021, were also pulled from the river and donated to Southwestern University for research on demographics and genetic work. 

"A lot of our native species we are finding in pretty large numbers and relocating those," SARA says. 

Trash removal is important during the draining event as bad water quality is harmful to native species whereas have little effect on non-native species possibly leading to a shift in the river's natural balance, SARA explains. 

"Non-native species like Apple snails are more generalist species, they can exist in really any sort of condition. That's why a lot of urban systems that have these conditions are prone to having a non-native tilted system," SARA says. 

Therefore, the San Antonio River draining is more than just general maintenance of trash removal but lead to a real environmental impact. 

"If we can utilize events like this to remove some of those (obstacles) to shift the balance a bit, that's one of the strongest and best parts of this," SARA says. 

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