Water quality training July 17 in Weslaco will focus on Arroyo Colorado

A Texas Watershed Steward workshop is set for 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 17 in Weslaco. The workshop is part of efforts by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) to improve and protect water quality in the Arroyo Colorado.

The free workshop will be at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 2401 U.S. Business Highway 83. It will be presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with TWRI.

A free lunch will be provided by the Arroyo Colorado Conservancy for attendees who preregister for the workshop by July 15.

“This workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Michael Kuitu, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward program, College Station. “The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the region.”

Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website.

The workshop will include discussions on watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution and ways to improve and protect water quality. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

Jaime Flores, TWRI program coordinator and the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership coordinator, Weslaco, said the workshop will provide an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas but will primarily focus on area water quality.

“The Arroyo Colorado is a critical resource and estuary, which serves as the primary source of freshwater to the Laguna Madre, aids in flood control, provides habitat for birds and aquatic life, and is a conduit of commercial barge traffic while remaining an excellent source of recreation,” Flores said. “For these reasons and more, we encourage the public to attend this workshop, take advantage of the education and enjoy the lunch.”

Attendees of the workshop will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The Texas Watershed Steward program offers four continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, four units for professional engineers and certified planners, four credits for certified teachers and two credits for nutrient management specialists. A total of four professional development hours are available for professional geoscientists.

In addition, three general continuing education units are offered for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders and four for certified landscape architects. Four continuing education credits are provided to certified floodplain managers. Four continuing education credits are also offered for each of the following Texas Commission on Environmental Quality occupational licensees: wastewater system operators, public water system operators, on-site sewage facility installers and landscape irrigators.

“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” said Kuitu.

Funding for this effort is provided through a federal Clean Water Act §319(h) nonpoint source grant administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, contact Kuitu at 979-862-4457, mkuitu@tamu.edu.

For information on watershed protection efforts for the Arroyo Colorado watershed, contact Flores at 956-969-5607, jjflores@ag.tamu.edu.

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