Conservation Matters November 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Urban Riparian Symposium coming to Austin in February

Urban Riparian Symposium coming to Austin in February

The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), Texas Riparian Association and the city of Austin are hosting an Urban Riparian Symposium Feb. 11–13, 2015, at the Palmer Events Center in Austin.

Workshops are scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Feb. 11, and the symposium will be from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Feb. 12 and from 8:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Attendees can sign up for one of two separate night walks hosted by Austin Water Utility on Feb. 11.

Early registration is $75 and due by Dec. 1. After Dec. 1, registration is $110.

Nikki Dictson, TWRI Extension program specialist, said the symposium will provide an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share ideas, discuss management and policy issues and lessons learned in urban riparian and stream planning and design, construction and evaluation.

“Riparian areas, or vegetative buffers along streams, are complex ecosystems that include the land, plants, animals and network of streams within them,” she said.

Dictson said these areas perform a number of ecological functions such as modulating streamflow, storing water, removing harmful pollutants from water, moderating water temperatures and providing habitat for aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.

“Simply put, the health of riparian ecosystems is critical to stream health, flows and water quality,” she said.

The city of Austin has invited Dr. Peter M. Groffman, a microbial ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, to be the symposium’s keynote speaker. Groffman’s research focuses on the role of microorganisms in ecosystem function. Much of his work has looked at riparian areas and what urbanization does to soil and hydrology, Dictson said.

“Scientists and practitioners are encouraged to attend to share experiences, network with colleagues and become involved in shaping the future of urban riparian issues in Texas,” she said.

To register for the workshops and symposium, or for more information, visit texasriparian.org or contact Dictson at n-dictson@tamu.edu.

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