Water goat installed along Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace

A local woman spent months fundraising and this Earth Day, she celebrated the fruits of her labor.

Thanks to Sue Drenberg's campaign, Temple Terrace now has a device that will collect thousands of pounds of trash and help keep waterways clean.

After seeing a Tampa Bay kayaker’s efforts to keep the Hillsborough River clean while photographing its beauty, she said she had an idea for her own community of Temple Terrace.

Drenberg made calendars of the kayaker’s photos and sold them, raising $3,000. With the money, a device called a water goat was installed by Riverside Park Saturday. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful installed the water goat barrier, which traps trash that would otherwise end up in the river.

Image 1 of 4

The water goat in Temple Terrace is 65 feet long and the attached netting goes about 12 inches underwater. Executive Director Debbie Evenson explained how it works.

“The contraption right here, the volunteers will lift it up and as they pull the water goat toward them, it actually pulls the trash closer to the shoreline and then they scoop it up. They'll put it in the garbage bags and put it on the street for the city to pick up,” said Evenson.

Evenson said there are two other water goat devices in the Bay Area with signs posted explaining what their purpose. The barriers cost an average of $5,500 and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful usually installs them using grants.

“We've already collected thousands of pounds out of McCay Bay. We’ve collected close to 2,000 pounds out of Temple Crest,” said Evenson. “When you think about the Hillsborough River, the city of Tampa, that's [wildlife's] drinking source. So, it's important to keep our Hillsborough River clean.” 

Residents like Drenberg feel joy in a simple solution to care for the environment.

“It made me so happy and proud. I was just like ‘I can't believe we did it,’” said Drenberg.

Volunteers will scoop out the trash once or twice a month and they can expect to collect anywhere from 100 to 400 pounds of trash in that time frame.