The Trinity River gets a bad rap here in Fort Worth and points Eastward. The new and improved advisory against consuming fish and crustacea from the Benbrook Dam spillway and downstream was met with chortling and raised eyebrows from the local Fox 4 News affiliate reporters, "You mean that people have to be told not to eat fish from the Trinity? Ha Ha Ha!"
A bit of common sense does seem to warn one from consuming creatures from waters that reek of chlorinated human waste, but I felt that the attitudes of the reporters seemed inappropriately callous. Maybe some righteous anger would have been more suited to the situation. If the rivers of the northeast, which were at one time so polluted that they caught fire, can be cleaned, why can't our muddy little Trinity?
I have paddled up and down local stretches of the Trinity and some of its tributaries for years. In that time, I've come to know that even in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, wildlife can be found on the banks of the Trinity. Beaver, waterfowl, even wild turkeys have surprised me in the riparian habitat along the Trinity Trail System. I've seen fish jumping, and snakes swimming, and all manner of living thing trying to make it along the uniform banks that were built up into grassy dikes years ago.
Though I feel the need to disinfect my canoe and paddles when I've spent an hour or two paddling, I still find elements of nature worth preserving and respecting along this urban river. With the city's plans for revitalizing the Trinity River, my biggest hope is that developers make projects like the Riverbend Natural Area a priority and that some undisturbed areas might remain to remind urban dwellers of the beauty to be found in Nature.