16 October 2016

South Llano River Riparian Habitat

Cody spent a part of Sunday flying his drone over the South Llano River, so we could see how the river has been changing since the 2010 heavy rains followed by the devastating 2011 drought and fire.  An area typically deemed as an easy, short float, the section of the South Llano River between the First and Second Road Crossings, had been a typical favorite section for day trippers and novices alike, as well as those who like to explore.  This section of river nestled between two different US 377 low water bridges is 1.4 miles in length and is identified by its locale on one's drive from Junction.  The Second Road Crossing is deemed the 0.0 mile put-in, but the First Road Crossing is more popular because it is the crossing closer to Junction, possesses easy access for cars to offload water craft, and provides easy watercraft launching areas.  Therefore, not as many river runners have experienced the South Llano's rapid changes over the past five years due to bypassing this tell-tale section.

In this section, clearly defined flood plains exist, banks and floodplains are storing water, both new-growth trees and established trees are present as well as healthy riparian grasses and plants, and a number of features which provide roughness and channel obstructions so that additional energy dissipation and floodwater retention exists.

While river runners' acclimation to these changes may take some time, it is good to see the river recovering from such a devastating drought and 2008 and 2011 fires.


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