- New txH2O magazine covers oil spill, golden algae and more
The Texas Water Resources Institute recently published a new issue of txH2O, which is available in print and online. The issue features Texas scientists on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, saltcedar beetles as a successful biological control, and the development of the Urban Living Laboratory. Other articles include researchers’ lake management approaches for golden algae, stakeholders on the importance of involvement in local water issues, and the Texas Forest Service’s work to protect water quality through forestry practices.
To subscribe to txH2O or other publications, visit twri.tamu.edu/publications/subscribe.
- Caddo Lake project offers April 7 community meeting, blog and Facebook page
To learn more about what is being done in the fight against an invasive plant, giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta), at Caddo Lake, plan to attend a community update meeting on Thursday, April 7 at 6 p.m. at the Karnack Community Center, 15593 FM 134 (Intersection of FM 134 and T.J. Taylor Ave) in Karnack.
In addition to the meeting, updates from the Caddo Lake Salvinia Eradication Project are now available online via a regularly updated blog and Facebook page. Part of the Center for Invasive Species Eradication, the Caddo Lake Giant Salvinia Eradication project is working to advance management options for giant salvinia in Texas and other infected states, Ireland said.
- Water Scholars program accepting applicants
The WATER Scholars program at Texas A&M University is now accepting applicants for its second year of scholars, beginning fall 2011. Eligible scholarship recipients must be graduate students in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering or the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering who are pursuing a master’s degree and have an interest in water-related research. The Texas Water Resources Institute is a facilitator of the program.
- Spring brings several AgriLife Extension rainwater harvesting courses
As summer approaches and potential water restrictions loom, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be offering several rainwater harvesting courses throughout the state this spring.
“Not many people realize this now, but most of Texas is currently under drought conditions, and come summer, water restrictions may be implemented,” said Brent Clayton, AgriLife Extension assistant with the Texas A&M University Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. “As far as I know, most localities will let people use harvested rainwater for irrigation during times of restrictions.”
Upcoming rainwater harvesting courses range from those for homeowners to trainings for professionals and include options in several regions.
- Free Texas Watershed Steward training to be held March 29 in College Station
A free Texas Watershed Steward training will be March 29 in College Station in the meeting room of the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on N. Forest Parkway. The training is a one-day event sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“This Texas Watershed Steward training is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by getting involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist and workshop coordinator.
- TWRI grant recipient studies biotransformation of PPCPs
Deborah Carr, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at Texas Tech University, worked with her advising professor, Dr. Todd Anderson, to determine the role of soil bacteria and fungi to degrade common pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in treated wastewater used as irrigation.
Carr received a 2009-10 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant. The $5,000 grant allowed her to investigate the long-term fate of PPCPs in the soil from a large municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent land application site prior to the effluent stream recharging drinking water source aquifers or being discharged to downstream surface waters, Carr said.
- Irrigation course gets EPA WaterSense accreditation
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Irrigation Technology Center-School of Irrigation has been conducting the Landscape Irrigation Auditing and Management Short Course since 1994. But starting in 2011, attendees will get twice the recognition for the course, said Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension landscape irrigation specialist and one of the course instructors.
This year’s course attendees can also earn Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense certification for irrigation system auditing in addition to the 16 hours of continuing education units and certification as a Texas Water Auditor.
- New Ogallala Aquifer study looks at economics, groundwater use of bioenergy feedstocks
Biofuel feedstock production in the Texas High Plains could significantly change the crop mix, which could affect regional income and groundwater consumption, according to Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists.
Dr. Steve Amosson, AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo, and Dr. Seong Park, AgriLife Research economist in Vernon, are joining other economists to model the socio-economic effects of climate change on the Ogallala Aquifer.
The project, Economics and Groundwater-Use Implications of Bioenergy Feedstocks Production in the Ogallala Aquifer Program Region, is funded by the Ogallala Aquifer federal research program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.
- TWRI grant recipient studies the sources and risks of waterborne pathogens
Joy Truesdale, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso, worked with her advising professor, Dr. George Di Giovanni, to investigate the occurrence and control of waterborne pathogens in surface water.
Truesdale received a 2009-10 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant. With the $5,000 grant, Truesdale examined the sources and risks of pathogen contamination in the Rio Grande. Analysis of three sampling sites along the river indicated the presence of Crytosporidium and Giardia along with human and hog Bacteroidales markers, which were present in chlorine- and UV-disinfected wastewater. Bacteroidales is a bacteria found in human and animal fecal material and serves as an indicator for pollution.
The results showed that Bacteroidales bacteria can persist through the wastewater treatment process, which could potentially impair the ability to determine the difference between treated water and raw sewage.
- Educational resources for World Water Day, March 22
All over the globe, World Water Day will be celebrated on March 22. The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service have a wide variety of educational resources that can be used for this water-themed day.
TWRI provides online access to educational materials, technical reports and articles on a various water issues in txH2O magazine. Easy to use fact sheets on water quality, including topics such as rainwater harvesting and watersheds, are available from TWRI online. Additionally, locating Texas A&M University water resources faculty members who deal with a variety of water topics is made easy through the TWRI water resource specialist directory.
The Texas AgriLife Extension Bookstore is another convenient resource for finding quality information on water issues, with materials such as Stormwater Wetlands for the Texas Gulf Coast and Making a Rain Barrel in their water section. The Texas Watershed Steward program, which is now fully available online, provides science-based, watershed education to help citizens identify and take action to address local water quality impairments. AgriLife Extension’s Rainwater Harvesting website provides extensive information online and in publications.
- New Publications/Papers and Training Courses
Residential Irrigation and Water Conservation: A Complete Guide for Homeowners and Professionals on Equipment Selection and the Operating and Management of Landscape Irrigation, and upcoming training courses.