More than 120 attendees participated in the 2009 Rio Grande Basin Initiative Conference Aug. 10-13 in McAllen, including Texas and New Mexico administrators and representatives, federal project representatives, and project participants. Project participants gave brief overviews of their accomplishments throughout the past year. The conference ended with three field tour stops: McAllen Northwest Water Treatment Plant, Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, and San Juan Park turf and rainwater harvesting demonstrations.
Consortium for Irrigation Research and Education
The third annual Consortium for Irrigation Research and Education (CIRE) meeting was held May 27-29 in Amarillo, with 22 participants. The CIRE group hopes to find funding for statewide irrigation research and education teams. The newly elected CIRE committee includes: Dr. Shad Nelson, associate professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, chair; and Dr. Jeff Johnson, joint assistant professor for Texas Tech University and Texas AgriLife Research, vice-chair. Danielle Supercinski, project manager at Texas Water Resources Institute, continues serving as the CIRE secretary. Additional information about the CIRE group and the Amarillo meeting notes can be found at http://cire.tamu.edu.
New Faculty: Dr. Diane Boellstorff
Dr. Diane Boellstorff has been named an assistant professor of soil and crop sciences and a Texas AgriLife Extension Service water resources specialist. Boellstorff has been part of the AgriLife Extension water team since 2001, working as a program specialist under the direction of Dr. Mark McFarland. She has a strong background in developing effective state and regional AgriLife Extension water programs. She is the project manager of the Southern Regional Water Program, a partnership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, and land grant colleges and universities that includes 13 states and 21 institutions.
Boellstorff's new role will involve providing AgriLife Extension agents with educational support in water resources, including longterm community water resource planning through Watershed Protection Planning or Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, and a
Master Well Owner Network to serve residents using drinking water wells.
She earned her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of California-Davis, and her bachelor's degree from Iowa State University.
New Faculty: Dr. Diane Rowland
Dr. Diane Rowland joined Texas A&M University in February 2009 as an associate professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and plant stress physiologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde. Her research focuses on drought stress and efficient water use in row crop production.
Rowland earned her doctorate in plant physiology from the University of New Mexico and joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in 2001 as a research plant physiologist at the National Peanut Research Laboratory in
Dawson, Ga. She established the laboratory's physiology program, which focused on understanding and quantifying physiological responses to water scarcity in peanut, cotton, corn, and other rotational crops.
Her current research projects include quantifying water use in drought resistant corn; developing conservation tillage systems for corn, cotton, and sunflower for the region, and quantifying water use differences between conventionally tilled and strip-tilled crops; developing alternative irrigation methods for cotton production that increase water-use efficiency in the Wintergarden area; and testing oilseed crops and rotations for on-farm biodiesel production.
More than 160 attendees from 16 countries participated in the 2009 International SWAT Conference Aug. 5-7 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. SWAT, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, is a public domain model jointly developed by USDA Agricultural Research Service and The Texas A&M University System.