Jul 07, 2017

Texas Hosts Water Quality Training July 11

Event to focus on local watersheds but is applicable to regional waters

Texas offers water quality training on local waters

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with the Houston-Galveston Area Council announced that a Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to Bastrop Bayou and the San Bernard River watersheds will be held 1 to 5 p.m. July 11. The event will take place at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds EEA Building, 901 S. Downing Road, Angleton, Texas.

“This workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in watershed protection and management activities for Bastrop Bayou and the San Bernard River,” said Michael Kuitu, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator, Texas Watershed Steward program.

The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the region. Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website.

The workshop will include a discussion of watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution, and ways to improve and protect water quality. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“The workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on area water quality, including current efforts to help improve and protect Bastrop Bayou and the San Bernard River,” said Jessica Chase, AgriLife Extension agent for Brazoria County.

While the workshop will address issues related to local water resources, it will be applicable to all waters in the region.

Houston-Galveston Area Council Watershed Coordinator Steven Johnston said the San Bernard River and Bastrop Bayou watersheds establish necessary habitat for local wildlife, provide economic benefits to the region and serve as popular outdoor recreation destinations.

“At present, portions of the San Bernard River and Bastrop Bayou are listed by the state of Texas as impaired,” said Johnston. “Therefore, the H-GAC and area residents are working on plans to improve these watersheds to protect the economic, recreational and other benefits they provide.”

The area council and AgriLife Extension are encouraging local residents and other stakeholders to attend the workshop to gain information about water resources, water quality improvement and watershed protection.

Attendees will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The Texas Watershed Steward program offers four continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, four units for professional engineers and certified planners, four credits for certified teachers, and two credits for nutrient management specialists. A total of four professional development hours are available for professional geoscientists.

In addition, three general continuing education units are offered for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, and four for certified landscape architects. Four continuing education credits are provided to certified floodplain managers. Four continuing education credits also are offered for each of the following Texas Commission on Environmental Quality occupational licensees: wastewater system operators, public water system operators, on-site sewage facility installers and landscape irrigators.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the Texas Watershed Steward program and to preregister, visit http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Kuitu at 979.862.4457[email protected]; or Chase at 979.864.1558[email protected].

For information on the watershed protection efforts for the Bastrop Bayou and the San Bernard River watersheds, contact Johnston at 832.681.2579 or [email protected].

“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Chase said.