REFUGIO — Stakeholders interested in improving the water quality in the Copano Bay watershed in South Texas are invited to a no-cost, public meeting at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 1 at the Refugio County Community Center, 305 Swift St. in Refugio.
Discussions will include possible management strategies and an organizational committee that will lead the needed efforts in the watershed, according to Dr. Kevin Wagner, associate director of the Texas Water Resources Institute.
“Portions of the Copano Bay watershed, which primarily occupies portions of Bee, Goliad, San Patricio, Refugio and Aransas counties, are currently on the state’s list of impaired waters,” he said. “The list identifies water bodies that do not meet the state’s water quality standards for their designated uses, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.”
The institute manages a project that is working with stakeholders to develop a total maximum daily load and implementation plan for the Copano Bay watershed, Wagner said. The goal of the total maximum daily load is to determine the amount of bacteria a watershed can receive each day while still meeting water quality standards.
A coordinated committee that represents the watershed’s various interest groups and viewpoints will be formed at the meeting, he added.
“A coordinated committee is an important part of a total maximum daily load implementation plan. By taking part in the coordination committee, community members ensure that their viewpoints and interests are represented.”
Allen Berthold, project manager for the institute, said he will give examples of some management strategies for agricultural, municipal and wastewater treatment plants used in other implementation plans throughout the state.
“Members of the committee can use their local knowledge to identify the strategies that will most effectively reduce the amount of bacteria present in Copano Bay,” he said. “Measures recommended by the stakeholders will then be drafted into a total maximum daily load implementation plan.”
The strategies implemented by the community should eventually reduce the amount of bacteria in the bay, making it suitable for fishing, oyster harvesting and other forms of recreation, Berthold said.
The project is funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. For more information about the meeting, contact Berthold at 979-845-2028 or email@example.com.