Attoyac Bayou bacterial tracking subject of May 16 Nacogdoches meeting

NACOGDOCHES – The Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership will meet May 16 to discuss water quality findings related to the watershed’s protection plan, said partnership participants.

The meeting, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, will be from 6-8 p.m. at the Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau Conference Facility, 2302 NW. Stallings Drive, Nacogdoches.

Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The topic of water quality related to bacterial tracking in the Attoyac Bayou will be   the  maint point of discussion at the May 24 meeting in Nacogdoches. (texas

The topic of bacterial-source tracking related to the water quality of the Attoyac Bayou will be the main area of discussion during the partnership’s May 16 meeting in Nacogdoches. (Texas Water Resources Institute photo)

“The primary focus of this meeting will be to present and discuss the findings of the bacterial-source tracking analysis conducted on water samples collected between July 2010 and August 2012,” said Anthony Castilaw of Castilaw Environmental Services and Attoyac Bayou watershed coordinator. “The sources of bacteria present in the bayou have generated considerable interest at past meetings,”

Bacterial source tracking results help landowners make informed management decisions regarding the best approach for reducing bacteria contributions to the water body, he said.

“This information paired with water quality data, load duration curves and the SELECT model output covered in March will all paint the picture of where bacteria loadings are coming from,” Catislaw said.

Lucas Gregory, a Texas Water Resources Institute project manager, said the meeting also will include presentations on the decision-making process from this point forward and outline the approach for putting together the Attoyac Bayou watershed protection plan.

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

“With the completion of bacterial-source tracking, all of the information needed to develop the watershed protection plan is now available,” Gregory said. “After this meeting, the focus for the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership will turn to making decisions on what recommended management strategies to include in the plan.”

At the meeting, Dr. Matthew McBroom, associate professor in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University, will discuss the recent U.S Supreme Court ruling on local management plans announced in March. McBroom said a 7-1 decision by the court affirmed that local efforts adequately address potential water-quality pollution.

“It also effectively reversed a decision from a lower court requiring national pollution discharge elimination system permits for nonpoint pollution loadings,” he said. “This decision really gives credence to local planning efforts like the one here in the Attoyac Bayou and justifies the relevance and appropriateness of these plans for protecting water resources. What this decision did was emphasize the protective aspect of local plans. It essentially shields those with these plans in place from future regulation.”

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. It is cooperating with the Angelina-Neches River Authority, Castilaw Environmental Services, Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research to carry out this program.

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: http://attoyac.tamu.edu/ or contact Gregory at lfgregory@ag.tamu.edu or 979-845-7869.

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