JEFFERSON — Anyone interested in participating in a plan to improve and protect the water quality of Lake O’ the Pines in East Texas is invited to a Nov. 13 meeting in Jefferson.
The meeting will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conference room, 2669 FM 726, according to Lucas Gregory, a project manager for the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife.
In 2008, watershed stakeholders developed a plan that outlined ways to reduce pollution and increase oxygen levels in the Lake O’ the Pines. The plan was designed to improve the lake habitat and support fishing and other recreational uses, said Lauren Young, a project manager with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The implementation plan was developed after the environmental commission found that dissolved oxygen levels in the lake were often below levels needed to support fish and other aquatic life. The commission conducted a total maximum daily load project to determine measures necessary to restore water quality in the lake, according to Young.
“The goal of a total maximum daily load project is to determine the amount, or load, of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still support its designated uses,” Young said. “The allowable load is then allocated among categories of sources within the watershed, and stakeholders work with the state to develop measures that reduce pollutant loads.”
Presenters at the meeting will give a brief review of the problems in the watershed and explain why it is important to continue to address the problems to improve and increase oxygen levels in the lake, Gregory said.
“At this meeting, we will begin establishing the Lake O’ The Pines TMDL Implementation Plan Coordination Committee, which will serve as an effective decision-making body, as well as work groups,” Gregory said.
“The coordination committee will review progress on the plan and discuss needed revisions.”
Gregory said he will coordinate the input of local stakeholders with work from government and university scientists to update the implementation plan.
“We want local input to tell us what they think will work best for Lake O’ the Pines and the community,” he said.