Water quality training in Orange will focus on Adams, Cow bayous

A free Texas Watershed Steward training focused on the water quality of Adams and Cow bayous will be held Oct. 24 in Orange. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

ORANGE – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop addressing water quality issues related to Adams and Cow bayous watershed will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 24  at the Shangri La Nature Center, 2111 West Park Ave., Orange.

The workshop is free and seating will be limited, so participants are encouraged to preregister at http://tws.tamu.edu or by calling Noelle Jordan at the nature center at 409-670-9113.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with the Sabine River Authority and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“The training is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in Adams and Cow bayous,” said Roy Stanford, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, Orange County. “The training is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities.”

Stanford said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas. Its primarily focus, however, will be water quality issues relating to the bayous, including current efforts to help improve and protect the health of these important water resources.

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

“Adams and Cow bayous are a critical resource for the area,” said Stanford. “For example, they feed into the Sabine River and support agricultural production, recreational activities and other economic assets. The bayous are also considered to be an important wildlife habitat area.”

This workshop is being held in conjunction with efforts by the Sabine River Authority and environmental quality commission to implement the Adams and Cow bayous’ total maximum daily load. Adams Bayou was first placed on the state’s list of impaired waters in 1996 and Cow Bayou in 2000, both for elevated levels of bacteria and depressed dissolved oxygen concentrations.

Efforts are currently under way to reduce pollutant levels in Adams and Cow bayous by working with local residents and property owners to develop an implementation plan relative to their total maximum daily load.

More plan information can be found at http://www.sra.dst.tx.us/srwmp/octmdl/default.asp.

“Along with the free training, participants receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion,” said Chad Caperton, AgriLife Extension agent for natural resources, Jasper County.

The program also offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, seven units for professional engineers and certified planners, and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, three for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

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

To preregister, go to http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Jordan at 409-670-9113 or njordan@shangrilagardens.org.

For more information on the Texas Watershed Steward program, contact Galen Roberts, AgriLife Extension program coordinator at 979-862-8070 or groberts@ag.tamu.edu.

For more information on the total maximum daily load implementation efforts in the Adams and Cow bayous watershed, contact Chip Morris at 512-239-6686 or tmdl@tceq.texas.gov .

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act §319(h) nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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