New Waves May 2009

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

  • USGS creates Karst Web site

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled all of its karst-related resources into one extensive Web site. At, users can find research publications, data, and key contact information, as well as an interactive map of all the karst aquifers in the country. The site also provides a variety of photographs of karst aquifers, which are a vital groundwater resource across the country.

  • New Mexico Water Research Symposium calls for presentation, poster abstracts

    Abstracts for presentations and/or posters at the 2009 New Mexico Water Research Symposium, set for August 11 at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico, will be accepted through July 3. Abstracts related to any water research and management topics will be considered, but abstracts that exhibit multi-disciplinary work are strongly encouraged. Abstracts must not exceed 250 words and must be submitted online via the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute's homepage.

  • Irrigation study to examine “smart” home irrigation units

    New "smart sensor" irrigation technologies could prevent over-watering of home lawns, athletic fields and public parks, said Dr. Karl Steddom, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist. Over-watering not only wastes resources, but it may also encourage several turf diseases and causes nutrient leaching and runoff.

    Steddom and Dr. Lloyd Nelson, ryegrass breeder with Texas AgriLife Research, are conducting a new study that will compare the effectiveness of different irrigation systems. Conducted at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton in East Texas, the study will also benefit from the cooperation of The East Texas Irrigators Association.

    "Water conservation is a big issue in Texas," Steddom said. "Legislation is coming that will require professional turf grass managers - and eventually homeowners too - to install smarter irrigation systems."

    Todd Magatagan, past president of the East Texas Irrigators Association, said professional landscapers and irrigation installers are some of the most important stakeholders in the research. He emphasized that learning which systems work better is not only good business, it makes environmental sense.

  • TCEQ and TSSWCB release annual report on water quality in Texas

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) recently released their annual report on Texas water quality, "Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution in Texas-2008." The report summarizes the state's activities to collect data, assess water quality, implement projects that reduce or prevent nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, and involve the public in maintaining the quality of water resources.

    Highlighted in the report are examples of successful reductions of NPS pollution, such as an erosion control project in the North Bosque and Leon River watersheds, as well as the city of Denton's watershed protection plan. The full report is available on the Web. The TCEQ and the TSSWCB jointly administer the federally funded program.

  • AgriLife Extension wins environmental excellence award

    Members of the Rio Grande Valley Nutrient Management Education project recently received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award (TEEA) in Agriculture for their soil testing campaign in the Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Mark McFarland, Texas AgriLife Extension Service soil fertility specialist and professor in Texas A&M University's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; Dennis Coker, AgriLife Extension program specialist; AgriLife Extension county agents Brad Cowan, Omar Montemayor, and Dr. Enrique Perez; and Dr. Tony Provin, AgriLife Extension soil chemist and associate professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Department, were honored for the project, which included a soil testing campaign that has reduced the use of nitrogen by more than 2 million pounds and cut phosphorus use by 3 million pounds.

  • TWRI project manager authors Ecohydrology report

    Lucas Gregory, a project manager at Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and former student in the Water Management and Hydrological Sciences program at Texas A&M University, recently published the report, "Large-scale rainfall simulation over shallow caves on karst shrublands," in Ecohydrology.

    Gregory researched recharge dynamics in the karst Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. Karst areas are typified by sedimentary rocks exhibiting solutionally enlarged openings, such as caves and sinkholes, and can rapidly transmit water from the surface to underlying aquifers. Gregory and a team of researchers sought to understand the interactions between recharge and vegetation in the karst landscape north of San Antonio. Their findings provide insights into the importance of canopy interception during runoff-producing events, the nature and relative magnitude of rapid recharge, and the interplay between recharge and surface runoff. The report is also co-authored by Dr. Bradford Wilcox, Bev Shade, Dr. Clyde Munster, Dr. Keith Owens, and George Veni.

  • Graduate students invited to apply for Mills Scholarship

    Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) announces the request for applications for Mills Scholarships. The scholarships, funded by the W.G. Mills Endowment, fund Texas A&M University graduate students with demonstrated interest in fields of study that have the potential to help Texas solve future water problems. The permanent endowment was established by Mills Cox, former chair of the Texas Water Development Board.

    The deadline for applications is June 18. The one-year $1,500 scholarships are payable at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year. For more information on the applications, visit TWRI's Web site or contact Cecilia Wagner at 979.458.1138 or

  • Graduate students receive water research grants

    Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) recently funded 10 water-related research projects for graduate students from Texas A&M University, Rice University, Texas Tech University, and The University of Texas at El Paso. The students were awarded up to $5,000 to begin, expand or extend water-related research projects. The institute funds the graduate student projects with funds provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program. TWRI will publish articles and reports about the progress of each project. For more information about the grant program and students' projects, go to the USGS program Web site.

  • New Publications/Papers and Training Courses

    Lake Granbury and Bosque River Assessment Final Scientific/Technical Report, and upcoming WinEPIC, SWAT, and ArcSWAT training courses information.

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