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Lens on the water; Photo contest already bringing in great images of water trails

By Tim Ruzek

We obviously love the Cedar River State Water Trail.

Along with that, we love seeing how others are enjoying the river and other local streams.

As part of our 10th anniversary, the Cedar River Watershed District earlier this month launched a Cedar Scenes contest encouraging people to share their photos of the local waterways whether that be a selfie, group photo or nature scene.

Tim Ruzek is the outreach coordinator of the Mower Soil & Water Conservation District and the administrator of the Cedar River Watershed District

People participating in Cedar Scenes help CRWD raise awareness and appreciation for the Cedar River State Water Trail and other local streams.

In the first two weeks, we already have received dozens of photos with about 15 individuals each week participating in the contest that will for 16 weeks through Oct. 1.

We have gotten pics taken from the seat of a kayak floating down the wooded corridor of the Cedar River State Water Trail.

Other images have showed off the watershed’s natural beauty at dawn and dusk as well as during the four seasons. Some pics have been this season while others from a few years ago.

This contest already has brought us several fishing stories and images; we’ve also learned about some favorite paddling routes on the Cedar, such as launching at the state’s Riverwood Landing south of Austin and floating down across the border to Otranto, Iowa.

You can join in the fun as well.

People can submit two photos per week, with images required to include water in the scenery from the Cedar River or one of the other waterways within the CRWD’s boundaries (fish photos are an exception to the water rule). Photos must be your own or you have permission to share it.

Other than the Cedar River State Water Trail, other CRWD waterways include Dobbins Creek (nature center and East Side Lake); Wolf Creek (Todd Park); Rose Creek; Roberts Creek; Ramsey Creek; and Orchard Creek, among others.

Austin’s Turtle Creek does not count as a separate watershed district oversees it.

Weekly submitted photos get reviewed by CRWD staff, and we select our favorite photo for a weekly prize typically involving $10 in Chamber Bucks and a welcome bag of goodies provided by Discover Austin.

All photo entries are entered in a drawing this October after the contest’s conclusion for a free kayak sponsored by the Austin Runnings store.

You can submit photos by tagging, messaging or posting onto CRWD’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cedarriverwd) or sending an email to tim.ruzek@mowerswcd.org. Photos also can be brought to the CRWD office in Austin at 1408 21st Ave. N.W.

Week 1 winner: This photo by Matt Freechack of Austin shows Austin Mill Pond at sunrise on March 11, 2017.

Mower SWCD provides technical assistance to landowners with conservation practices that protect land and water resources. SWCD also performs the duties of the Cedar River Watershed District to improve water quality and reduce flooding. This monthly column by Mower SWCD/CRWD typically runs the last Thursday of each month. More information is available on the Mower SWCD and CRWD websites and Facebook pages. Questions and comments can be sent to tim.ruzek@mowerswcd.org.