JUNCTION– A group of stakeholders working to protect and improve the water quality and flows of the North and South Llano rivers is holding a public meeting on Feb. 21 in Junction, said Dr. Tom Arsuffi, director of the Texas Tech University’s Llano River Field Station.
This meeting of the Upper Llano River Coordination Committee is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Llano River Field Station, 254 Red Raider Lane, Junction. Refreshments start at 5 p.m.
“At the first meeting the committee identified the need for a discussion on brush management techniques,” said Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute associate director. “We’ve invited Dr. Ken Rainwater, an expert in watershed hydrology, brush control and models. He will lead a discussion on brush sculpting techniques and water relations, and application in the Upper Llano River Watershed.”
The TWRI is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M, and Rainwater is director of the Texas Tech University Water Resources Center in Lubbock.
Additional watershed issues will be identified and addressed at the meeting, Wagner said.
“We’ll need the help of area residents served by the watershed identifying land and water issues and how to fix them,” 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.”
“The Upper Llano Coordination Committee was recently formed 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. We need their input to devise a comprehensive management plan for this watershed and to put that plan into effect.”
Texas Tech is working in partnership with the committee, the institute, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and others to facilitate development of this management plan and associated public education and awareness efforts to protect and improve the area’s water resources, Arsuffi said.
“The North and South Llano rivers are headwater 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,” he said.
Upper Llano Watershed program partners and area residents have been very positive about efforts to date, with previous meetings being attended by more than 140 watershed partners, including many area residents, Wagner said.
“The first meetings were a success,” he said. “We made some significant progress in solidifying the stakeholders’ efforts and opening a dialogue with area residents.”
The North and South Llano rivers are currently healthy, providing quality water for recreation, ranching and area residents, Wagner said. However, land fragmentation, erosion along river banks, spread of invasive plants along the river, expansion of brush throughout the watershed and other issues threaten important land and water natural resources. The community-led committee was initiated to address these and other local concerns.
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 325-446-2301 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Wagner at 979-845-2649 or email@example.com.