Upper Llano Watershed Coordination Committee meeting set Dec. 11 in Junction

JUNCTION — A new group helping to protect and improve the water quality and flows of the North and South Llano rivers invites local residents to attend a Dec. 11 meeting in Junction, said Dr. Tom Arsuffi, director of the Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station.

The inaugural meeting of the Upper Llano River Coordination Committee will be held the evening of Dec. 11 in Junction.  (Photo courtesy of Dr. Tom Arsuffi)

The inaugural meeting of the Upper Llano River Coordination Committee is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Llano River Field Station, 254 Red Raider Lane. Refreshments will be available at 6 p.m.

Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute associate director, said the North and South Llano rivers are currently healthy, providing quality water for recreation, ranching and area residents.

The Texas Water Resources Institute is collaborating with the field station to improve and conserve these vital water resources. The institute is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“However, land fragmentation, erosion along river banks, spread of invasive plants along the river, expansion of brush throughout the watershed, and other issues threaten the rivers’ land and water natural resources,” Wagner said. “To address these and other local concerns, we are assisting local stakeholders in developing a watershed protection plan.”

The Upper Llano River Coordination Committee was recently formed to guide the effort to develop and implement a strategy addressing current and future water issues affecting citizens of Edwards, Kimble and Sutton counties, Arsuffi said.

“We’re encouraging citizens of these and surrounding counties to attend upcoming meetings of this partnership,” he said. “We need their input to develop a comprehensive management plan for this watershed and to put that plan into effect.”

Once completed, the plan will benefit local and regional watersheds, Arsuffi said.

“The North and South Llano are head-water rivers, and the good things we do here will be realized in some ways downstream to the Highland Lakes all the way to Matagorda Bay.”

Wagner said the coordination committee will discuss identifying watershed issues and ways to address them.

“We’ll need the help of area residents in educating others served by the watershed about water issues and how to address those issues,” he said. “Their involvement is key to writing the plan and their ideas are crucial to what decisions the coordination committee makes on what to include in it.”

Wagner said area residents have been very positive about the efforts to date, with more than 140 attending previous organizational meetings about the watershed protection plan.

“We’ve had good turnout and made some really good progress in solidifying the stakeholders’ efforts and opening a dialogue with area residents,” Wagner said. “We’re hoping for an equally good turnout for the coordination committee meeting.”

Funding for this effort is provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, visit the South Llano Watershed Alliance website at http://southllano.org/ or contact Arsuffi at tom.arsuffi@ttu.edu or 325-446-2301,  or Wagner at klwagner@ag.tamu.edu or 979-845-2649.

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