The Devils River Advocates – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]


[wind] [gentle acoustic music] [river riffle]– NARRATOR: You’re about
to watch a love story.
– This is just a little bit
of heaven here.– NARRATOR: Alice
loves this water.
Joe loves this landscape.– It’s Ocotillo,
it’s very thorny, as is everything out here!– NARRATOR: Dell loves
this river valley.
– And it is, it’s just
absolutely gorgeous, it’s what I love about
this country so much.– NARRATOR: And Sarah, well,
she loves science.
– SARAH ROBERTSON: I got a
redbreast sunfish, one eighteen.– NARRATOR: They all share a
deep and lasting passion
to protect the Devils River.It’s a wild part of Texas
that’s vulnerable, and fragile.
There are now new threats to
the Devil’s River Valley,
that’s lead these folks to
unite as advocates
for theDevils River.And this is their story.[gentle acoustic music]Aquatic biologist,
Sarah Robertson,
is out with her river studies
team to do some seining.
– SARAH: Let’s go up and come
down the side of this grass. [water riffle] One reason this place is
so special is because there’s a lot of unique
species that occur here. So, there are a lot of
minnows that we don’t find many other places in the U.S. This is the Devils River minnow, so it used to occur in
about five or six streams in West Texas, and over
the last few decades we believe it’s been extirpated
from some of those areas. – BIOLOGIST: Forty-Six. – SARAH: So now it’s down to
about three, three streams in West Texas.– NARRATOR: The worry here
is unregulated
groundwater pumping.As Texas’s population
increases,
the demand for water grows.[river riffle]Which could threaten this
pristine river.
– The threat of
groundwater pumping, it’s a real worry out here. We’re not exactly sure how much
water could be pumped before we start seeing
impacts to the springs and the species
that are out here. So, it’s something that’s
definitely on the radar, we’re putting a lot of research
efforts in to try to better understand the system and
how pumping like that would affect it.– NARRATOR: Alice Ball
Strunk…
– ALICE: There’s so many
butterflies out today!– NARRATOR: …is also worried
about the health of the river.
[spring riffle]The headwaters of the
Devils River pretty much
start right here.– ALICE: This is what we
call Seven Springs. [spring riffle] So, these are the seven major
springs of the headwaters. [spring riffle] It’s so beautiful and
we just all love it, it’s just so dear to our heart.– NARRATOR: Alice and many
other folks worry that
since there are no laws that
say you can’t sell your water,
the threat to pump and move
that water for oil and gas
or for big cities is real.– ALICE: If there are huge
withdrawals of ground water, that will definitely
affect the river and it belongs to
all of us in Texas. What we’re fighting
for goes away. [dramatic somber music] We only have one chance
to keep it flowing. You know, if it gets
eaten up by pumpers and it gets dried up, then there’s no river left. [dramatic somber music]– NARRATOR: Downstream from
Alice’s place is the
Devils River State
Natural Area.
– JOE: Big canyon country.– NARRATOR: And Joe Joplin’s
the area manager.
[footsteps]His job is to take care
of the 37,000 acres
of conserved land that sits
along the Devils River.
– JOE: I feel very much
at peace out here, there’s no noises, just you, the wind, can’t beat the solitude. It’s good for the human soul. [canyon wren sings] The Devils River State Natural
area is a rugged location, it has bluffs, steep canyons,
and of course, the Devils River. You can come here and see what
Texas was, yesterday, before development, before
heavy population growth, it still has that wild feel, where you can
refill your senses.– NARRATOR: But there are
threats encroaching on this
scenic river valley.A wind farm has been built
just miles from the
Devils River State
Natural Area.
And there are worries
more wind farms
are headed for this valley.– JOE: Texas only has three
percent public lands remaining. And places like the Devils River
State Natural Area are true iconic features within
those public landscapes. If there ever is
industrialization in this area, it needs to be very thoughtful, and done with
community involvement. – DELL: They’ll kind of
move out.– NARRATOR: One neighbor who
lives across the river
couldn’t agree more.Dell Dickinson and his
family have ranched in the
Devils River valley
since the late 1800s.
– DELL: It’s about two and a
half miles straight that way to the river. I don’t advice walking. It is rougher than a corn cob.– NARRATOR: Dell spent
his entire life here
and has always loved his
evenings by the fire.
– DELL: Mesquite, good ol’
burning mesquite, [fire whooshes] To me, sitting in front of a
fire just takes all the bad stuff out, and there’s
nothing left but good.– NARRATOR: But now,
there is something else
sparkling in the distance.– Over the years,
I’ve been able to look out over the horizon and see
nothing but serenity and now I look up and see
something on the horizon that I just consider a flat
abomination.– NARRATOR: And just past
sunset is when the problem
truly presents itself.– This is one of
the most wondrous, beautiful times of the day. It’s called twilight,
going into full dark. And now I look out there and I see these,
pardon my language, god awful lights out there. You can’t get away from em. They’re there forever!– NARRATOR: Dell worries that
Texas will lose one of its
truly iconic landscapes if wind
farms were to expand here
.– We see this panorama
in front of us, imagine how it’s going to be
if they are successful in further encroachment,
we’ll be able to go horizon to horizon and
see em everywhere. And again, I have to say, I don’t think this is what
the citizens of Texas, that own this river, bargained for, ask for,
or deserve.– NARRATOR: From preservation
minded landowners like Dell.
– SARAH: Ready!– NARRATOR: To Sarah and
her seining for science.
– SARAH: Samplings been going
good, we’ve been getting a lot of species. Texas shiner, fifty-three. So, this is the
Rio Grande darter. It’s only found in the
Rio Grande basin in Texas, and it’s listed as
state threatened.– NARRATOR: There’s
common ground here.
This iconic Texas wonder
is worth protecting.
[uplifting music] – This is a really
special river. It’s really unique. It’s one of the last wild and
scenic places in Texas. Rio Grande darter, forty-two. And all this work we’re doing,
building partnerships, doing research, it’s in an
effort to lay the groundwork for protections for this river
so that it doesn’t disappear. – JOE: People often comment when
they leave the Devils River that they left with more
than they came with, meaning they got a
refill of their spirit, maybe it’s the ruggedness
of the steep canyons, but when you leave here,
you have a sense that, man, I really saw
something that was Texas- it feels wild,
it feels untouched. That’s the goal to
keep it that way.– NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant
from the Sport Fish
Restoration Program.

9 thoughts on “The Devils River Advocates – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]

  1. Sounds like someone wants more regulation … of course corporations will be exempt.

  2. I wish everyone could see & experience this area. What a tragic loss is underway in so many ways most folks can't comprehend or don't really even think about.  Great video worth sharing.

  3. Our senators need to fight to keep this beautiful land from being ruined. Texas is gorgeous, let's keep it as Natural as possible.

  4. Texas where the oil pumps = not ugly but wind farms?? = GOD AWFUL & LAND RUINING. Smh now this white dude knows how the native Americans felt when your people propped up cities on their land.

  5. Excellent video, guys! Thank you for everything you're doing. It is, indeed, a worthy cause. On October 9th, 2019, the Devils River Conservancy is hosting a fundraiser at the Witte Museum in San Antonio. They will be auctioning off my latest painting of the Devils River, entitled "Beautiful Devils". http://hollanholmes.com/images/instagram/beautifulDevils_1920.jpg 100% of my profits will go to the Conservancy. Perhaps I'll see some of you there? Thank you so much for all you do! I just made a big (for me) donation AND purchased the DA fishing shirt. Hope to see you all soon.

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