Paul Schattenberg, 210-467-6575, firstname.lastname@example.org
EL PASO – A Texas-New Mexico Watershed Steward Workshop on water quality issues related to the Paso del Norte watershed will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. May 9 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1380 A&M Circle in El Paso.
The training is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Paso del Norte 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 as part of the Texas Watershed Steward program. It is being held in conjunction with the New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico Cooperative Extension and the Paso del Norte Watershed Council.
“The workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources and gain a better understanding of how water quality in the Rio Grande is managed in Texas and New Mexico,” 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 both states, but primarily will focus on water quality issues relating to the Paso del Norte watershed, including current efforts to help improve and protect this important water body.
“The Paso del Norte watershed extends from Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico about 340 miles along the Rio Grande to Presidio, Texas,” said Dr. Conrad Keyes Jr., chair of the Paso del Norte Watershed Council. “The Rio Grande is a source for irrigation and municipal drinking water, as well as wildlife habitat for many species.”
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 Paso del Norte watershed. In 2006, the Paso del Norte Watershed Council, in coordination with the New Mexico Environment Department, initiated development of a watershed-based plan.
“In New Mexico, the Rio Grande from the international boundary with Mexico upstream to just above the city of Las Cruces, was listed as impaired in 2004,” said Chris Canavan, project officer for the New Mexico Environment Department. “The plan being developed for the Paso del Norte will outline a strategy for reducing pollutant levels in the river.”
Canavan encourages stakeholders to attend the Texas-New Mexico Watershed Steward Workshop and to become more engaged in these efforts.
Along with the free training, participants receive a 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 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 private pesticide applicator license holders, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.
“Participating in the Texas-New Mexico Watershed Steward training is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Roberts said.
For more information about the Paso del Norte watershed and the watershed restoration efforts, contact Brian Hanson at 575-646-2642, BHanson@nmda.nmsu.edu.
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.