The Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, will host a free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program on Dec. 6, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Denton for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Hickory Creek watershed.
The morning session will be at the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, 3310 Collins Road in Denton. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along Clear Creek.
“Riparian education workshops motivate informed landowners and local residents to adopt and support practices to better manage riparian and stream ecosystems,” said Alexander Neal, TWRI program specialist, College Station. “Not only are water quality and quantity directly benefitted by the proper management, protection and restoration of these critical areas, but also enhanced are the soundness of stream banks, fish communities and aquatic habitats, just to name a few.”
The Hickory Creek watershed is currently the focus of watershed planning efforts by local stakeholders. “Stakeholders recognize successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires implementing a variety of management strategies, said JoEtta Dailey, watershed protection manager for the City of Denton. “This riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Neal said the workshop will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones as well as the benefits and economic impacts from properly functioning riparian systems.
“Riparian areas — the green vegetated land areas adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake — are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage,” Neal said. “The goal of the workshop is for participants to better understand riparian and watershed processes, the benefits of healthy riparian areas and what resources are available to prevent degradation while improving water quality.”
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of TWRI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Riparian Association.
All attendees must RSVP by Nov. 29, 2022, online through the marketplace or by email to Alexander.Neal@ag.tamu.edu. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, so a catered lunch is being offered for $15 or you may select to bring your own lunch.
Neal said organizers are able to host the workshop without cost thanks to program funding provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ryan McGillicuddy, Conservation Ecologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The workshop offers many types of continuing education units, including three units — two general and one integrated pest management — for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association, six hours from the Society of American Foresters, and eight hours from the International Society of Arboriculture. It offers seven credits from Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, seven hours from the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.
The riparian education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.