The Devils River Conservancy, with support from private donors, organized the Devils River Working Days project to engage landowners in evaluating aquatic invasive species populations, water quality in relation to suspended solids and sediment distribution and recreational impacts. The intention of this project was to engage landowners and stakeholders in observing and addressing challenges to the shared resource.
Observations and Suggestions
Water Clarity- There is an There is an abundance of fine sediment suspended in the Devils River and many theories as to why; recent rain events along with bank disturbances, invasive fish activity, water temperature, lack of a large flood event, or a morphological-gradient change. From the top of the river to Blue Sage we only experienced the blue water that the Devils is known for once and that was in a spring branch of the river known as Blue Hole. Observations indicate that more study is needed to understand the sediment transport and distribution processes in the Devils River.
Recreation Impacts- It is clear that recreational impacts increase dramatically below the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Del Norte State Natural Area. In effort to address the ever growing recreational interest in the Devils River the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is developing projects to consolidate and minimize recreational impacts along the river. Annual assessmentsof recreational impacts may be helpful in monitoring the success of these projects.
Aquatic Invasive Species- Due to water clarity issues during the project we were unable to fully evaluate the reach and damage of the aquatic invasive species in the Devils River. A different means of assessment such as targeted electroshock would be beneficial in determining the population density and reach.
Landowner Engagement- The Devils River Working Days project was successful in uniting landowners around the shared resource, identify its challenges and working together to develop solutions. We had eleven landowners participate in the Working Days project and approximately twenty landowners attend the community gathering event.