Water board announces funding for Arroyo Colorado

HARLINGEN — Nearly a half-million dollars in grant funding has been earmarked for working with agriculture interests along the Arroyo Colorado to reduce pollution in the key Valley waterway.

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board announced $3.7 million in a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant outlay last week. Those monies will be augmented with $2.7 million from other funding, and $483,640 will for educational outreach for about how to minimize agricultural pollutants flowing into the arroyo.

Jana Lloyd, non-point source project manager for the state soil and water board, said the outlay of the funds will be spread over the next three years.

“This grant is basically funding a watershed coordinator for his time and conducting outreach and education,” Lloyd said. “Going to visit with stakeholders and putting on stakeholder meetings and relaying information to them, and hosting meetings and paying for the facilities and things like that.”

In 2017 the federal EPA approved a new plan to protect the Arroyo Colorado watershed by providing a framework for cleaning up the heavily polluted waterway, which also serves as a key flood-control feature in the Valley.

The new grant monies from the soil and water board are in support of that EPA-backed plan for the arroyo, which suffers from pollution problems including low dissolved oxygen levels and high levels of bacteria.

Culprits include agricultural and lawn runoff and fecal material from both animals and humans, the latter primarily arriving via septic systems, the EPA says.

Read the complete article from the Brownsville Herald.

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