New Waves November 2008

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Arroyo Colorado partnership installs watershed road signs

The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership recently installed 10 road signs marking the boundary of the Arroyo Colorado watershed in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as part of the partnership's ongoing efforts to restore and protect the watershed. The Arroyo Colorado, which runs 90 miles from Mission to the Lower Laguna Madre, is on the state's list of impaired waters for high bacteria levels and low dissolved oxygen.

In addition to the signs installed by the partnership, several local cities are also installing more signs to mark either the watershed boundary or an Arroyo Colorado crossing, said Jaime Flores, Arroyo Colorado watershed coordinator. The city of McAllen is installing two additional signs and other cities in the watershed, as part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Stormwater Task Force, will install more later.

"It is our hope that these signs remind residents as well as those visiting our watershed that it is our responsibility to protect our local watershed," Flores said.

The partnership, which is a group of some 700 area citizens and representatives of federal and state agencies, local governments and private organizations, installed the blue and white signs at major roadway entrances to the watershed, including FM 1015 S northeast of Weslaco and 107 S north of Mission.

Along with the boundary signs, the partnership and Valley cities are planning to install storm drain markers. The markers will be tiles that read: "No Dumping, Drains to Laguna Madre." Local residents will be able to participate in the watershed-wide event to install the markers.

"The tiles will remind citizens not to dump their waste or trash directly into a storm drain or anywhere where the waste will end up in the storm drains," Flores said. "All water that flows into the storm drains ends up in the Laguna Madre and if the water is polluted, it will pollute the Laguna."

The signs and tiles are part of a larger effort to implement the Arroyo Colorado watershed protection plan, which was released in 2007. One of the first plans released in Texas, its implementation is funded in part through a Clean Water Act 319(h) grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Texas A&M AgriLife's Texas Water Resources Institute administers the grant and the partnership.

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