Conservation Matters April 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Watershed Planning Training Program selected as TEEA finalist

Watershed Planning Training Program selected as TEEA finalist

The Texas Water Resources Institute was recently selected as finalist of the Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the education category for its Texas Watershed Planning Training Program.

Created by the Texas Legislature in 1993, the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards honor individuals, organizations and businesses that protect the state’s human and natural resources while ensuring clean air, clean water and the safe management of waste.

Presented annually by the Governor of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the award winners and finalists will be recognized during the commission’s annual awards banquet as part of its Environmental Trade Fair and Conference at the Austin Convention Center, on May 7 in Austin.

“Our Texas Watershed Planning Program trains water professionals new to watershed planning so they can promote sustainable and proactive approaches to managing water quality,” said Dr. Kevin Wagner, TWRI’s associate director. “Along with a week-long short course, the program supports web-based resources, a listserv, biannual Watershed Coordinator Roundtables and additional water quality and modeling training courses to provide additional support and forums for continued dialogue. Together, these elements enable effective solutions to common watershed issues.”

“This program has not only improved Texas watershed planning and implementation efforts, it has been a resource nationally,” Wagner said. ”Approximately 15 percent of the participants in the short course are from other states, because no other courses are available except for EPA’s on-line modules.”

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute Extension program specialist and coordinator of the program, said to-date the program has conducted seven short courses for 228 water professionals, held 10 roundtables and held 15 other watershed-related trainings. “We have had more than 1,270 attendees at the various events of this program, ensuring watershed protection efforts are adequately implemented and improving water quality restoration efforts statewide,” she said.

To learn more about the program and sign up for future trainings, visit watershedplanning.tamu.edu.

The program was initially funded by TCEQ with a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. It is currently funded by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board with a Clean Water Act grant.

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