On Tuesday, January 24, more than thirty Blanco area residents gathered in the Blanco Library to learn the ins and outs of healthy creeks and rivers. Organized by the Blanco Citizens’ Association and conducted by Mr. Steve Nelle, a retired wildlife biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the talk focused on how to plan and carry out comprehensive range-wildlife-watershed management in riparian areas – the area of land that runs right along the water and up from the banks.
There were numerous “ah-ha’s” during the evening to include time lapse demonstrations of how wise land management can “bring back” creeks and rivers once thought to be lost. Even rivers that have cut down to bedrock – such as the Blanco River – can, with proper management of the adjacent land, be returned to healthy status that includes lush, natural vegetation along the banks, gradual reestablishment of soil in the stream bed, a rising water table along the stream, and an increased volume of water flow. Mr. Nelle stated that the single worst thing landowners can do for their creeks and rivers is to allow livestock to graze right down to the waters’ edge or to hay or mow in the riparian area. Even recreational land adjacent to streams, he explained, should be left to develop a healthy stand of native grasses that will improve the overall health of the watercourse.
Encouraged by the success of the event, the Blanco Citizens’ Association hopes to organize similar talks in the future with a focus towards preserving all that is good in this wonderful part of Texas we call the Hill Country.