On Friday, August 4th intrepid volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program met with the Llano River Watershed Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and Hill Country Alliance to clean up a portion of the South Llano River south of Junction, Texas.
They started at the County Road 150 river crossing, a site that is part of TPWD’s River Access and Conservation Areas (RACA) program. At this and two other river crossings, volunteers picked up trash and broadcast a mix of native grass seeds.
TPWD’s RACA program, designed to increase access for fishing and paddling, is made possible when landowners partner with TPWD to sign lease agreement allowing public access to creeks and rivers. In the Llano River Basin, there are currently two RACA sites: the CR-150 crossing and one at the Kingsland Slab RV Park
“Today’s clean-up efforts on the Llano River are a prime example of the local community taking responsibility for their natural resources for the enjoyment of all,” noted John Botros, who leads the RACA program for TPWD.
The RACA program offers public access along nine rivers across the state, including the Colorado, Guadalupe, San Marcos, and Llano Rivers. Botros continued, “Inspiring stewardship for natural resource and recreation in the public will translate into persevering ownership and pride for generations of Texans to come.”
Despite the heat, after completing the clean-up effort the volunteers wanted more. And so the group headed to the South Llano River State Park, where they ended the day removing a non-native, invasive grass called Mexican Needlegrass. They removed the needlegrass grass with shovels and then broadcast native grass seeds to prevent re-encroachment of the non-native plant.