Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 28, 2013

Have you seen Lady Bird Lake lately? It needs a good tidying up.

Our beautiful downtown lake is littered with plastic bottles, cans and wrappers, caught up in mat of aquatic plants.

I see it every day when I pedal over the First Street Bridge on my bike. Kayakers, rowers and stand up paddlers slog through it all the time. And what about the fish and birds who live there?

It’s ugly. And on Monday, an estimated 2,000 athletes will be swimming in that same body of water during the TriRock Austin Triathlon presented by REI.

TriRock spokesman Dan Cruz told me this morning that race organizers are aware of the problem and are working with city officials to get permission to clear away vegetation and trash. (For more information about the triathlon, go to TriRockSeries.com.)

"The main thing we want to emphasize in our message is a safe and secure course is always our first priority," Cruz said.

Race organizers will likely contract with a private firm to clear the lake, he said. The work could happen as soon as Friday.

"It’s on our radar," Cruz said. "Triathletes should expect swim conditions consistent with past events."

I’m worried about the lake beyond the triathlon, though. Why is so much trash piling up there? Can’t we pick up after ourselves?

Where’s Woodsy Owl when we need him? Please, give a hoot.