Water quality training Aug. 21 in Hamilton to focus on Leon River

HAMILTON – A Texas Watershed Stewards Workshop on water quality and availability issues related to the Leon River will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 21 in Hamilton.

The no-cost workshop is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Leon River and surrounding area. It will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 215 W. Main Street.

Participants are encouraged to preregister at http://tws.tamu.edu.

A Texas Watershed Stewards training focusing on the Leon River will be held July 25 in Hamilton. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

A Texas Watershed Stewards training focusing on the Leon River will be held Aug. 21 in Hamilton. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

The workshop is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with Texas Water Resources Institute and the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.

“The program is designed to help residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Chelsea Dorward, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Hamilton County.

The workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on issues relating to the Leon River, including current efforts to help improve and protect this water resource.

Training will include a discussion of watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution, and ways to improve and protect water quality. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“Surface water in the Leon River is a critical source of water in the area,” said Mike Marshall,  Extension assistant with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and watershed coordinator for the Leon River. “Our goal is to protect and improve water quality in the Leon by providing technical assistance and high quality education to citizens, landowners and agricultural producers about water quality management practices.”

The conservation board and Brazos River Authority are working in partnership with the Central Texas Council of Governments, Texas Water Resources Institute and Institute for Renewable Natural Resources to implement a stakeholder-driven watershed protection plan aimed at reducing pollution and improving water quality in the Leon River.

The Leon Rover watershed area is am important water resource. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo).

The Leon Rover watershed area is am important water resource for Central Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo).

Marshall said the plan outlines several best management practices which will reduce pollution in the watershed and potentially lower the bacteria levels in the Leon River.

“Along with the free training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion,” said Galen Roberts with AgriLife Extension and the Watershed Steward Program.

The program also offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, seven units for professional engineers and certified planners, and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Roberts said.

For more information, go to http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Roberts at 979-862-8070, groberts@ag.tamu.edu, or Chelsea Dorward at 254-386-3919, chelsea.dorward@ag.tamu.edu.

For information about the Leon River Watershed Protection Plan, contact Marshall at 254-865-2061 or mmarshallut@gmail.com. Additional information may be found at http://www.brazos.org/LeonriverWPP.asp .

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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