March 13, 2012
VICTORIA – A free Texas Watershed Steward Workshop on water quality issues related to the San Antonio Bay will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 18 at the Victoria Educational Gardens, 283 Bachelor Drive in Victoria.
The training is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the San Antonio Bay/Guadalupe Estuary region, said program coordinators. Participants are encouraged to preregister at http://tws.tamu.edu
The workshop is sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with the San Antonio Bay Partnership, a regional non-profit organization developing a stakeholder-based management plan for the San Antonio Bay/Guadalupe Estuary system.
“The workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Galen Roberts, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward Program.
Roberts said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but primarily focus on water quality issues relating to San Antonio Bay, including current efforts to help improve and protect this important water body.
The training will include a discussion of 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.
This workshop is being held in conjunction with ongoing protection efforts in the San Antonio Bay watershed, he said. The San Antonio Bay Partnership in coordination with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program initiated the development of a comprehensive management plan for the bay earlier this year.
“San Antonio Bay is an important resource for the area,” said James Dodson, facilitator for the San Antonio Bay Partnership. “The bay supports oyster production, commercial fishing and recreational activities, and is also a critical wildlife habitat.”
“We are employing a watershed-based approach to estuary management,” Dodson said. “Protecting San Antonio Bay begins with water quality and resource protection activities throughout the Guadalupe and San Antonio River basins which provide fresh water inflows to the estuary.”
He said there are programs under way to develop the habitat conservation and public access components of the comprehensive plan, and the partnership is already engaged in preparing status and trends reports on water quality and other resource issues involved in the planning process.
“We encourage stakeholders to attend the Watershed Steward Workshop and to become more engaged in these efforts,” Roberts said.
Along with the free training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The program also offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, 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, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.
Preregistration is open through the Texas Watershed Steward website, http://tws.tamu.edu.
“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Roberts said.
For more information about the San Antonio Bay Partnership and the Comprehensive Management Plan, contact James Dodson at 361-649-1518, email@example.com.
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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.