Conservation Matters January 2013

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • Training programs for water professionals Jan. 22-23 in Temple

    Watershed - AgriLifeOn Jan. 22 and 23 the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) will hold two events designed for water professionals at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 720 E. Blackland Road in Temple.

    According to Nikki Dictson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program specialist for TWRI, the programs have been developed for watershed coordinators and other water resources professionals.

    The Jan. 22 event is a no-cost Texas Watershed Coordinator Roundtable meeting taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Jan. 23 event, An Introduction to Modeling, will be held at the center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $75.

  • Metcalf becomes first military land sustainability certificate graduate

    MetcalfCombining his experience in the military with his interest in wildlife and natural resource management, Chief Warrant Officer Eric Metcalf received his master's of wildlife science degree and certificate in military land sustainability at Texas A&M University in December 2012.

    Metcalf, a pilot with the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Hood, is the first Texas A&M graduate student to earn the certificate in military land sustainability. The certification is offered jointly through A&M's Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.

    Dr. Roel Lopez, interim director of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and program coordinator, said the flexible, distance learning graduate program offers coursework and research experiences for current and future natural resource professionals interested in the management of military lands.

  • Trinity Waters hosting another round of land and water workshops

    Trinity BasinTrinity Waters and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are hosting a second round of water and land management workshops in the Trinity River basin. The workshops will be held Feb. 5 from 1-5 p.m. at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Conservation Center, 5301 County Road 4812, in Athens, and Feb. 8 from 1-5 p.m. at the Walker County Storm Shelter, 455 State Highway 75 North, in Huntsville.

    According to organizers, topics in this round of workshops will include: land use and ownership trends in the Trinity River basin, Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements for pesticide applicators, land management with the TRIMS mapping tool and developing a water quality management plan. 

  • Two irrigation conferences in South Texas set to begin new year

    Center Pivot IrrigationTwo irrigation conferences will be held in January in South Texas to provide resources about the latest irrigation research and technology, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service officials in the Irrigation Technology Program.

    The first conference will be the Lower Rio Grande Irrigation Conference on Jan. 29 in Mercedes, at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center. The South Texas Irrigation Conference will be held Jan. 31 at the Medina County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hondo. Both conferences will cover topics such as making best use of limited water resources, selection and practical use of soil moisture sensors and what's new in irrigation technology.

  • Can graywater keep Texas landscapes green?

    Graywater El PasoWith water resources throughout Texas becoming scarcer, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist is working with others to determine the feasibility of using graywater to irrigate home landscapes.

    "There has been interest in and discussion about the possible use of graywater for irrigating home landscapes, but so far little formal research has been done to validate its practicality," said Dr. Raul Cabrera, of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde.

    Cabrera said graywater is essentially "soapy" water left after tap water has been run through a washing machine or used in a bathtub, bathroom sink or shower and does not contain serious contaminants.

  • Southwest Stream Restoration Conference coming to San Antonio

    Resource Institute, Inc. is presenting the inaugural Southwest Stream Restoration Conference May 28-30 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio.

    The conference will provide an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share knowledge, experiences and innovations in stream restoration, according to organizers. It will include presentations, panel discussions, exhibits and professional networking focused on ecosystem and watershed restoration. 

  • Water savings potential in high-value crops examined by TWRI grant recipient

    Cotton - AgriLifeAs water supplies continue to decrease, producers across Texas face several choices, such as planting high-revenue crops that require a lot of water or saving water but potentially reducing economic returns. According to recent research, farmers in the Texas High Plains can have high-revenue crops and save water, too.

    "My research will aid in developing drought-resistant, deep-rooted cultivars that could be a viable alternative to more water-intensive crops in water-scarce regions," said Cora Lea Emerson, Texas Tech University doctoral candidate and recipient of a 2011-2012 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant. Through this grant, she is exploring water-saving alternatives to traditional crop rotation systems.

  • New reservoir data resource from Texas Water Development Board

    Lake LivingstonThe Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has launched waterdatafortexas.org, which provides comprehensive information on Texas reservoir conditions, according to TWDB.

    TWDB compiled records from federal, state and local partners to generate current and historical information on reservoir levels, storage, surface area and elevation-area-capacity curves. In many cases, the website provides data for the entire history of the reservoir, according to TWDB's news release. The data can be downloaded both by end users and by third-party applications.

  • Reminder: National Competitive Grant Program proposals due Feb. 21

    The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) announces the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the FY 2013 National Competitive Grant Program by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR).

    Proposals must be filed online at niwr.net by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 21. The proposals will then be approved for submission to the National Competitive Grants Program by TWRI by March 7.

  • TWRI grant recipient develops a new PCB remediation strategy

    A graduate researcher has developed a filter made of an innovative material called reactive activated carbon that, when used in aquatic ecosystems, is able to remove and destroy a harmful, toxic pollutant: polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).

    "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 10 percent of the sediment underlying the country's surface water is contaminated with toxic pollutants that pose potential risks to fish, wildlife and humans," said Prince Nfdozo, a doctoral student in civil engineering at the University of Texas - Arlington under the guidance of Dr. Hyeok Choi. Nfdozo received a 2011-2012 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant.

  • Groundwater Protection Committee launches new website

    The Texas Groundwater Protection Committee (TGPC) has launched its redesigned website, which offers a clearinghouse of groundwater information and resources. In Texas, nine state agencies and an association of groundwater districts manage aspects of groundwater, and together these entities comprise the committee, which works to bridge the gap between state groundwater programs, improve coordination between member agencies, and protect groundwater, according to TGPC.

    For more information, visit tgpc.state.tx.us or contact TGPC at tgpc@tceq.texas.gov.

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