Watershed Newsletter
The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association

Protecting Jacob's Well and the Springs of the Wimberley Valley

Restoration Rangers Update: Trash, Trees & Thistles

by Anne Child
The Restoration Rangers have been busy this year at 12 official workdays, one emergency workday and several watering days. We are excited to have new folks joining our ranks from the citizenry of Wimberley and the new class of Hays County Master Naturalists. What  have we been up to? Trash, trees & thistles.
It took several workdays to burn all the brush and construction debris we have been 2012-03-16-05TomMarkGarryBlainescollecting over the last 3 years. While the burn ban is lifted we wanted to get those pile cleared up. What wasn’t burned was carted off to the trash transfer station. The areas where the brush had been cleared are coming back strong with grasses, barberry bushes and buckeye trees. It is quite beautiful and rewarding.
The wonderful trees donated by LCRA and planted last year continue to attract our attention. More cages were created, mulch was added, and many buckets of water have moistened their roots. We have learned the Monterrey Oaks prefer moister locations than we provided and that it is possible to over water Texas Mountain Laurels. But overall, we are happy with our efforts.
Then there are the thistles. The great winter rains have brought many flowers. Some are appreciated more than others. While the Texas Thistles are pretty purple natives, they were prolific, too much so for some. So up they came near Camp Jacob. Then we found some invasive Malta Star-thistles. And once we found some, we found many. Those got bagged and thrown away. Hopefully neither will be so prolific next year. As we were pulling thistles, we pulled Johnson Grass too. There is not quite as much as previous years so maybe we’re making progress. The real eradication success story is the bamboo. Only a few small shoots popped up this year.  Because of dedication in previous years, the “impossible to get rid of” bamboo is gone!
But the main event that caught us off guard was the flood in February. As was covered in a previous newsletter, the creek rose 13 feet after an 8 inch rain. This gully washer sheared our bridge off the weir and uprooted several of the trees planted in the floodplain. Nearby Restoration Rangers sprang into action, located and replanted most of the trees. Later the cages were found buried in debris. They were cleaned up, stretched into shape and put back around the trees. Interestingly the little cypress tree planted in the middle of the creek bed, that hadn’t looked well before the flood, stayed put and is thriving now. Hays County has installed a replacement bridge. As life returns to normal near the well, we reflect on this tough lesson of nature’s fury and resilience… and look forward to our next workday.