Multi-million dollar Walnut Creek hike/bike trail, eco-restoration projects shaping up in Seguin
Posted on 3/28/2016 6:00:00 AM.
This pedestrian bridge, west of St. James Catholic Church, is part of the new hike/bike trail opening soon in Seguin. 
(Seguin) -- Two separate projects have married well in the city of Seguin. Hundreds of newly planted trees, a wetland area and hike and bike trail are among the beautification and ecosystem projects that have taken shape in Seguin.
Describing the merger of the new Walnut Springs Hike and Bike Trail, and U.S Army Corps of Engineers ecosystem restoration project is City Project Manager Nate Garza. Garza says after years of planning, the projects have helped to change the banks of Walnut Branch and have helped to revitalize an important natural habitat within the city.
"Actually, there's two different projects. One is the concrete trail that you see. That is a TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) project. The tree reforestation and Walnut Branch Clean Up is an U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's project. There are two separate projects. What's awesome about them is they run congruent, run side by side so it seems as one big project. They supplement each other very well," said Garza.  

Speaking separately of the projects, Garza says the hike and bike trail will soon be the newest amenity open for public use.
"The hike and bike concrete trail two and a half mile trail from FM 78 South to Convent Street, which is just south of the library -- we have probably 95 percent complete. We've probably got about four weeks or so. By mid-April, we should be complete and open for business. For the most part, there will be a part of it that's still closed. That's going to be where the library is at (and) that's just due to the on-going construction there which will be completed at the end of this year I believe. That portion will stay closed just for the safety of any pedestrians," said Garza.
Garza says the ecosystem restoration project along the creek has also helped to naturalize Walnut Branch which runs through the center of the city. The upper reach of the creek is a corps flood damage reduction project which has been supplemented with two dry detention ponds constructed by the city. The lower reach of the creek is fed by springs and has been rescued from erosion, dense underbrush, invasive species  and other debris.
"The second part of it again is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reforestation and ecosystem restoration which is what you've seen down there -- if anybody has gone down towards the library. They've seen the Walnut Branch clean up, under brush clean up which involved removing major species and then replanting the native species. We've got over 7,000 plantings up along the trail. They run congruent together, they supplement each other, but two separate projects, and over 7,000 plantings of trees, underbrush -- things of that nature that will provide shade and other feature habitats for birds, native species, plants, animals, stuff like that," said Garza.
Garza says perhaps one of the most notable Army Corp features is a wetland area in the heart of the city. Garza says it runs right along the creek and will just be another great stop along the walking trail.
"Behind the P.D. is a wetland area. That's going to provide not only storm water detention, but some wet habitat features such as turtles, fish -- stuff like that. It's a real neat feature if you haven't gone to see it. That's part of the trail that is final. Some people are using some of the trails now -- which is okay but we're just asking you to be careful. It's not officially open as of yet. It is visible from the street there behind the P.D.," said Garza.
Officials say the projects will not only serve the future well but they have also helped to revitalize a piece of Seguin's history.  The project area which includes the historic Walnut Branch Walk was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 and designed by Robert Hugman, who later went on to design the San Antonio River Walk.
Seguin, Walnut (Branch) Creek, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walnut Springs Park

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