Conservation Matters August 2018

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Institute invites stakeholders to join partnership to improve Big Elm Creek water quality

By Kathy Wythe

Institute invites stakeholders to join partnership to improve Big Elm Creek water quality

The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is hosting a meeting Aug. 23 in Belton for anyone interested in joining a partnership to improve and protect water quality in the Big Elm Creek watershed.

The meeting, free and open to the public, will be at 1 p.m. in the meeting room at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Bell County, 1605 North Main St.

Dr. Allen Berthold, TWRI senior research scientist, said the meeting is the first in a series with local stakeholders to address water quality impairments in Big Elm Creek, a major tributary of Little River in Central Texas.

“Bacteria concentrations in Big Elm Creek currently exceed the state water quality standard for recreation,” he said.

Berthold said TWRI will work with local landowners, agricultural producers, residents, governmental entities and other stakeholders to develop a strategic plan to reduce these pollutants in the watershed.

“We will discuss water quality data, then present an overview of partnership structures, strategies and examples of different approaches for addressing water quality issues,” he said.

Ed Rhodes, TWRI research associate, College Station, said this meeting is an introduction to the current state of the water quality in Big Elm Creek.

“The first step to improving water quality is to get local feedback and participation in designing a voluntary work plan that addresses possible sources of bacteria,” he said. “The local stakeholders in the partnership will develop that plan to improve water quality and reduce bacteria levels in the creek.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is supporting stakeholder engagement activities for the Big Elm Creek watershed with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through a Clean Water Act grant.

For more information, visit the project website or contact Rhodes at edward.rhodes@ag.tamu.edu.

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