March 7 meeting in Nacogdoches will focus on Attoyac Bayou usage survey

NACOGDOCHES – The Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership will meet March 7 to discuss findings of the recreational use attainability analysis and continued development of the Attoyac Bayou watershed protection plan.

A meeting

A meeting of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership will be held the evening of March 7. Area residents and others interested in preserving and protecting the watershed and/or providing input toward watershed plan development are welcome to attend. (Texas Water Resources Institute photo)

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. It will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau Conference Facility, 2302 N.W. Stallings Drive, Nacogdoches. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m.

“The primary focus of this meeting will be to present and discuss the findings of the recreational use attainability analysis that was conducted this summer and fall,” said Anthony Castilaw of Castilaw Environmental Services, Attoyac Bayou watershed coordinator. “This topic has generated considerable interest at past meetings and as a result will be the primary topic during this meeting.”

Lucas Gregory, a Texas Water Resources Institute project manager in College Station, said the meeting will also include presentations on the collective water quality findings from the project as well as computer-based modeling that will help the partnership develop the Attoyac Bayou watershed protection plan.

The Texas Water Resources Institute, which manages the project, is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

“The recreational use attainability analysis, or RUAA, is a comprehensive assessment that includes physical water-body surveys, verbal and written feedback from people familiar with the water body and a review of historical information related to the water body,” Gregory said. “All of the information is compiled into a report that is reviewed by the state as a way to determine how the water body is actually used and if the designated use is appropriate.”

Other topics discussed will include a review of water quality data collected throughout the course of the project, Gregory said. These data were collected between July 2010 and August 2012 and highlight the current state of water quality in the watershed. They provide critical inputs for the computer models used to aid in the development of the watershed protection plan.

Discussion on load-duration curves and revised model outputs will round out the meeting, he said.

“Each of these tools provides a visual representation of sometimes complex data and enables watershed stakeholders to quickly identify areas within the watershed where they may want to recommend management measures,” Gregory noted.

Crispin Skinner, Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program agriculture and natural resources agent for Nacogdoches County, added that landowners and others in the watershed should attend the meeting and participate in developing the planning process.

“This watershed plan is being developed by and belongs to local watershed stakeholders. Your input throughout the process of developing this plan will determine how effective this plan will be,” Skinner said. “Staying involved in this process is critical, and public meetings provide a direct opportunity to participate and develop this plan so that it meets local needs.”

Funding for the development and support of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan is provided in part through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source pollution grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, see the project website at http://attoyac.tamu.edu/ or contact Gregory at lfgregory@ag.tamu.edu or 979-845-7869.

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