Watershed protection, boat raffle, fiesta to be discussed
WESLACO — The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership will hold two meetings July 18 to provide updates and discussion on the upgrade of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan, according to an official with the Texas Water Resources Institute.
The habitat workgroup will meet from 2-4 p.m. and the steering committee will meet from 5-7 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center, 3301 S. Farm-to-Market Road 1015 in Weslaco, according to Jaime Flores, the institute’s Arroyo Colorado watershed coordinator in South Texas.
“The focus of these meetings is to update our stakeholders on the various data collection projects that will be conducted over the next year, and how these projects fit into the overall update of the plan,” he said.
The institute, located in College Station, is a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The Arroyo Colorado runs through the center of the Lower Rio Grande Valley from Mission to Arroyo City and eventually flows out into the Lower Laguna Madre. It is the primary source of fresh water to the bay and is essential to its health, Flores said.
At the steering committee meeting, members of the Arroyo Colorado agricultural issues, habitat issues, educational and outreach, and storm water workgroups will provide updates on the current projects and business, he said.
One agenda item will be discussion of how to incorporate the new wastewater treatment plant in the Palmview/La Joya-AGUA Municipal Utility District into the watershed protection plan.
“This plant was not in operation at the time the original plan was written, so we need to incorporate the increased loading that will be entering the Arroyo and determine how it will affect the river,” Flores said.
Jam Tabak, president of the board of directors for the Arroyo Colorado Conservancy, the nonprofit organization charged with the long-term sustainability of the partnership, will provide an update on the Save the Arroyo Fiesta. The fiesta will be held from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 10 at Dargel Boats, 4110 N. Farm-to-Market Road 493.
“The Save the Arroyo Fiesta is our initial fundraising event and will highlight some of the ongoing projects of the partnership as well as presentations and posters of studies by students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, University of Texas-Pan American and University of Texas at Brownsville,” Flores said.
Also at the fiesta, the conservancy will raffle a 190 Dargel Scout boat with a 115 horsepower Evinrude motor and trailer.
“We are currently selling 500 tickets at $100 per ticket for a chance to win the boat,” he said. “The raffle proceeds will be used to continue our outreach and education programs throughout the watershed.”
Allen Berthold, project manager for the Texas Water Resources Institute, said both committees will hear updates on the watershed protection plan and on grants.
“There are more and more opportunities to improve the watershed in the Rio Grande Valley every year,” he said. “These grants give us the opportunity to really make a difference.”
The habitat workgroup will discuss updates on the Harlingen aeration structures, the Ramsey Park Wetlands and the Estero Llano Grande Lake restoration.
The partnership is administered by the institute in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.