New Waves December 2009

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

  • Save the date for water funding workshop

    Texas Water Resources Institute will be sponsoring a meeting titled “Funding Your Water Program: One-on-One with Water Agencies” on Jan. 11, 2010, as part of the annual Texas A&M AgriLife conference. The interactive session will be from 1-4:30 p.m. in Rudder Tower, room 301.

  • 2010-11 TWRI graduate student grant RFP

    The Texas Water Resources Institute announces a request for research proposals for its 2010-2011 TWRI Grant Program. This program is made possible by support provided through the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Institutes for Water Research and it is aimed at supporting water resources-related research by graduate students at universities in Texas.

  • TCEQ establishes Office of Water

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has established a new Office of Water, effective Dec. 1 with L’Oreal Stepney serving as deputy director. The new office will encompass the three existing major water divisions in the agency: Water Planning, Water Supply, and Water Quality.

  • Pecos River Basin Assessment Program moves into implementation phase

    A series of public meetings for landowners around the Pecos River in West Texas were recently held to familiarize them with the watershed’s new watershed protection plan and help eligible landowners learn where to apply for the cost-share funding the program provides.

  • Seawright’s research proves economic value of fighting invasive plant

    As a part of the Rio Grande Basin Initiative, agricultural economics researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife have worked to identify economically-viable solutions to water quality and quantity challenges in the Rio Grande Valley, and agricultural economics graduate student Emily Seawright has played an important role in this timely research.

    Seawright’s work focused on developing and using an economic model to examine potential implications of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) biological control program for Arundo donax, commonly known as giant reed.

    “This control program is anticipated to reduce the amount of giant reed present in the Texas Rio Grande Basin, thus increasing available water supply to the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Seawright said. “The purpose of this research is to estimate the potential economic benefits for the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley gained from water saved by reducing giant reed, and to perform a benefit-cost analysis, a per-unit cost analysis, and an economic impact analysis of the program to the region.”

    The project was supported for the 2008-09 academic year by funding from the USDA-ARS, the Rio Grande Basin Initiative, and a $5,000 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) grant provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program. TWRI is the federally designated institute for water resources research in Texas.

  • Svetlik joins TWRI staff

    Julie Svetlik has recently joined the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) as a project specialist. Svetlik joins TWRI via a joint appointment also including the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and Texas AgriLife Research Office of Corporate Relations.

  • TWRI grant recipient characterizes gene that increases plants’ drought tolerance

    Kranthi Kiran Mandadi, a doctoral student in the molecular and environmental plant sciences program at Texas A&M University, recently researched the mechanics of an influential plant gene in order to improve the productivity and drought-tolerance of Texas crops.

    Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) supported Mandadi’s project for the 2008-2009 academic year with a $5,000 grant provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program. TWRI is the federally designated institute for water resources research in Texas.

    Dr. Thomas D. McKnight, professor and associate head in Texas A&M’s biology department, served as Mandadi’s advising professor.

    The researchers investigated how gene TAC1, a transcription factor, conferred drought tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana, a common model plant used in plant biology and genetics. Prior to the study, Mandadi and McKnight proved that over-expression of the TAC1 gene in tobacco and tomato plants did result in vigorous drought tolerance without compromising crop yields. In this research, Mandadi said they aimed to characterize further how the gene pathway worked and then use the results to increase drought tolerance in other crops.

  • Ag Demonstration Initiative to host water conservation short course Jan. 20-22

    The Lower Rio Grande Valley Agricultural Demonstration Initiative is offering a short course on flow measurement in canals and pipes, Jan. 20-22, 2010, in Harlingen.

  • Researchers identify what makes deadly algae more toxic

    Researchers from Baylor University, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Arlington have identified a key component that increases the toxicity of golden algae (Prymnesium parvum), which kills millions of fish in the southern United States every year. The study is the first to determine what makes the deadly golden algae more potent in inland waters, according to a Baylor University news release. The results have been published the journal, “Toxicon.”

  • New Publications/Papers and Training Courses

    Economic Implications of Biological Control of Arundo donax in the Texas Rio Grande Basin, Salinity Budget and WRAP Salinity Simulation Studies of the Brazos River/Reservoir System, and upcoming training course information.

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