Nathaniel Lucero’s Blog

I applied for the river source internship because I love agriculture and wanted a chance to make a difference at the El Rito campgrounds. My Friends/Colleagues were Arron Lucero, Elka Graves, Brandon Sandovol, and Estrella Wiegel. Our Supervisors/Teachers were Victor Jaramillo, Carlos Herrera, Rich Schrader, and David Fay.

The first thing we did was orientation. The next day we started our research on the river at five sites. We did multiple tests and collected data from the invertebrates that were inhabiting the river. The nitrates at the top of the campgrounds were higher than the bottom although the phosphates were higher at the bottom rather than the top. The third day we started checking out the camp site we were assigned to restore.

We discovered that the river was being dammed up and people had used plastic to block it off as well as using the campsite to drive around in a circle in order to get out. We had decided to create a tent site to keep that traffic from happening. It was also noticeable that motorized vehicles were passing through spots that they shouldn’t be going. We wanted to block off one and turn the other into a picnic spot. We wanted to keep people from parking too close to the river. We made a rock wall to keep out vehicles but left a path for people to walk there and did the same thing to our picnic spot.

The fourth day we had a presentation from June Manning and did not work on the site. Although we did request supplies from the Forest service. The next week the forest service brought us our supplies. We created a fence for the tent sight and placed multiple poles for signs and information. We found out that maybe we should create a foot trail for people to get through. We cemented a chain connected to the picnic table to keep it from being moved. We cemented the pins on the metal fire ring so people can turn it but cannot remove it. We cleared the path and narrowed it down so OHV’s cannot use the trail.

We also came up with the idea to do a presentation at the site and inform people about the work we did at the site. We finished the reconstruction and wanted to make the signs and begin our presentations. Each of us was assigned a specific spot at the site to discuss.

Elka tried to eate a Cicada, but spat it out and started gagging and asked how in the world my dad ate those. It was nice seeing people I know pass by as we were working. Lunch was always interesting. One of us always said or did something that made the rest of us laugh. The path we wanted to close off from OHV’s and other vehicles was easily blocked off with any branches, stumps and debris we had from cleaning or cutting branches and moving things. I had a great experience.