Ruthie Russell's Presentation for the Texas Land Conservation Conference

The Texas Land Trust Council's annual conference, held March 4-6 in Austin, featured a panel on the Devils River including a presentation from DRC Board Member Ruthie Russell of Sycamore Springs Ranch. Click here to read her compelling speech.

The Devils River session was moderated by Jeff Weigel, Director of Strategic Initiatives at The Nature Conservancy and also included Dr. Ron Green, Institute from the Southwest Research Institute; Joe Joplin, Superintendent of the TPWD Devils River State Natural Area; Dan Snodgrass, Director of Land Conservation at The Nature Conservancy; and Carrie Thompson, Associate Director of Freshwater Protection at The Nature Conservancy.

Committed to Conservation, Featuring DRC Board Member


Ruthie Russell (center) owns Sycamore Canyon Ranch, which borders the Devils River.

Ruthie Russell (center) owns Sycamore Canyon Ranch, which borders the Devils River.

“If I was a billionaire, I would buy as many ranches as I could and preserve them all,” said Ruthie Russell, owner of Sycamore Canyon Ranch in Val Verde County. “But all I can do is keep doing my best to preserve the land I do have. Especially for legacy landowners, land stewardship starts with the deep passion that you have for the land; you’re so bonded to it,” Russell said.

Russell is a third-generation cattle woman and one of the landowners recently recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) with a 2014 Lone Star Land Steward Award.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Russell said. “We thought that it was key to protect and conserve this land because not only is it a transitional zone for different ecoregions, it also has multiple springs and 3 miles of riparian land along the Devils River.”


Water Wars Pt. 2: Company Responds to Pipeline Concerns


VAL VERDE COUNTY/WEST TEXAS - A water pipeline could bring freshwater all the way to West Texas oilfields. The water is needed, but the plan leaves lingering questions.

Hundreds of miles away, landowners who live along the pristine Devil’s River are worried about the impact of pumping groundwater.

The company behind the plan has been turned down by cities before, even so, nine counties in West Texas passed resolutions in support of the pipeline.