NACOGDOCHES –The Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership will hold its next meeting Sept. 22 to continue discussions on the development of the watershed’s protection plan.
Anyone interested in protecting and restoring water quality in the Attoyac Bayou and improving or protecting its watershed is invited to the meeting, said Crispin Skinner, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources, Nacogdoches County.
The meeting, hosted by AgriLife Extension and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, will be from 6-8 p.m. at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex, 203 W. Main St. in Nacogdoches. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.
“The meeting’s primary focus will be to discuss population estimates for the primary species contributing bacteria to the watershed as well as bacterial source tracking,” said Lucas Gregory of College Station, Texas Water Resources Institute project manager.
Anthony Castilaw, Attoyac Bayou watershed coordinator, said discussing the appropriate numbers of animals and humans to incorporate into the watershed model is very important to accurately assess the watershed.
“These population estimates are applied to designated land covers in the watershed model and used to anticipate what level of bacteria loading may occur across the watershed,” Castilaw said. “Local input is very important in determining these estimates to accurately represent what is going on in the watershed.”
“The tools that are being used to develop the Attoyac Bayou plan require local information,” added Skinner.
Dr. Terry Gentry, assistant professor in Texas A&M University’s soil and crop sciences department, will give an overview of bacterial source tracking. Bacterial source tracking helps identify the sources of bacteria pollution entering the watershed.
“Bacterial source tracking is an important tool for determining the impact of humans and animals on water quality, and targeting control efforts where they would be most beneficial,” Gentry said.
Gentry will present initial results from bacterial source tracking analysis conducted thus far, illustrating what types of bacteria sources are currently found in the Attoyac Bayou.
Through this project, AgriLife Extension, Texas AgriLife Research and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has partnered with Castilaw Environmental Services and others to work with landowners in portions of Rusk, Shelby, Nacogdoches and San Augustine counties to coordinate the plan’s development.
“The project to develop the watershed protection plan is a little over halfway done and is starting to get down to the details,” Castilaw said. “From here on out, there will be at least one item on each meeting’s agenda for the partnership steering committee to vote on. This month, it will be to approve the land-use and land-cover map revisions made as a result of stakeholder feedback received.”
“Watershed stakeholders are strongly urged to attend all partnership meetings and become directly involved in this process,” Skinner said. “These meetings provide a direct opportunity to participate in developing the watershed protection plan and ensure that it meets local needs.”
The Texas Water Resources Institute, which manages the project, is part of AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. Other project partners are Stephen F. Austin State University and its Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Angelina Neches River Authority and the Pineywoods Resource Conservation and Development.
Funding for the development and support of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan is through a Clean Water Act grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.