Think of it as the poor man’s horror movie – “What Lies Beneath … the Interstate.” And it’s coming to a screen near you.

The riches of the deep – well, okay, the shallow – will be revealed in Fort Worth in the next few weeks when the Tarrant Regional Water District lowers the level of the Trinity River near Forest Park and I-30 by about four feet in order to work on a culvert. Sunken treasures thus revealed are likely to include the standard beer cans and your favorite Michelin and Firestone products, but keep your eyes peeled for shopping carts as well – another cultural artifact that water district workers sometimes find in our urban riverbed.

You might think the water agency would take the opportunity to clean up the river bottom, but as it turns out that would be a crappie idea. (Badum-bum; “Thank you, we’re here all week.”) Some of the debris serves as habitat for fish and other wildlife, one official said. Apparently, it would be inhumane to expect fish to survive in a river without a rusty car bumper or fuzzy tire to sleep under.

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A new trash screen will be installed at the end of the culvert when the project is finished to reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in this part of the Trinity. Apparently, some junk is good for the ecosystem but too much of it just brings down the neighborhood eventually. (If only city planners would think this way when developers bring them plans for mile after mile of “upscale” apartments.)

And who knows – the river sludge might even give up something more interesting, like the bones of some victim from Cowtown’s raucous gangster days, when concrete overshoes allegedly became the footwear de rigueur-mortis for those who got crosswise with gunmen and gamblers. More likely they’ll just uncover some new species of politician – um, we mean algae – under a rock.

FrontBurner Chars Ethics

When a FrontBurner blogger at D Magazine needs a cheap date, he looks no further than local events to cover. After acquiring media credentials (read: free entrance) for an upcoming journalism conference, the cheapskate asked whether his girlfriend could attend as well – particularly, that is, to the swanky dinner and lecture. After receiving a polite no, the penny-pincher agreed to a compromise – he and his date could sit in the back with reporters to listen to the speaker, but they couldn’t eat the expensive cuisine. So if you attend a big event this weekend, look for the FrontBurnervian in the back row with the bored and hungry date. And since when do bloggers count as news media? OK, we retract that – the discussion gets waaay too long for Static.


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