New Waves October 2010

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Wetlands maintenance training helps cities in Arroyo Colorado watershed

Wetlands maintenance training helps cities in Arroyo Colorado watershed The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership held a wetlands maintenance training Aug. 23-24 for local city employees. The workshop’s first day included four hours of classroom training at the Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center in Weslaco, a two-hour tour of the Estero Llano Grande Wetlands, and a tour of the San Juan Wetlands. The second day began with a two-hour tour of the La Feria Wetlands and culminated with a question and answer session at the La Feria Fire Department’s meeting room.

“Curriculum was developed for the course as well as a workshop manual that contained 142 plant ID field sheets,” said Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) Project Manager Allen Berthold. “The workshop was created for the Parks and Recreation employees of these cities, and provided a great opportunity for them to learn more about proper wetland maintenance,”

Wetland construction is part of the actions recommended in the Arroyo’s watershed protection plan. With funding assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as well as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant, La Feria completed construction of its wetland park last year and held a grand opening on Dec. 5, 2009. San Juan’s watershed was also partially funded by a TCEQ and EPA Clean Water Act grant and the city celebrated its grand opening on April 22. San Benito finished the construction of its wetland park, also partially funded by a TCEQ and EPA Clean Water Act grant, at the end of August.

"These wetlands serve an important function in further polishing the water, primarily targeting nutrients, after it has gone through the cities’ wastewater treatment plants and has been treated for bacteria,” Berthold said. “By doing so, it helps to decrease the total loadings in the Arroyo Colorado."

TWRI administers the watershed partnership. The wetlands training was funded through EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant program. For more information, please contact Jaime Flores, TWRI's Arroyo Colorado watershed coordinator, at 956.968.5581 or jjflores@ag.tamu.edu or visit the website.

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