Urban Riparian Symposium coming to Austin Feb. 11-13

AUSTIN — An Urban Riparian Symposium will be hosted Feb. 11-13 at the Palmer Events Center in Austin by the Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas Riparian Association, the city of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Workshops are scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Feb. 11, with the symposium from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  Feb. 12 and from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Attendees can sign up for one of two separate Feb. 11 night walks hosted by Austin Water Utility.

Early registration is $75 and due by Dec. 1. After Dec. 1, registration will be $110.

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service  program specialist, said the symposium will provide an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share ideas and discuss management and policy issues lessons learned in urban riparian and stream planning, design, construction and evaluation.

“Riparian areas, which are vegetative buffers along streams, are complex ecosystems that include the land, plants, animals and network of streams within them,” Dictson said.

She said these areas perform a number of ecological functions such as modulating stream flow, storing water, stabilizing stream banks, removing harmful pollutants from water, moderating water temperatures, and providing habitat for aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.

“Simply put, the health of riparian ecosystems is critical to stream health, flows and water quality,” Dictson said.

The city of Austin has invited Dr. Peter Groffman, a microbial ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, to be the symposium’s keynote speaker, she said.

Groffman’s research focuses on the role of microorganisms in ecosystem function, Dictson said. Much of his work has looked at riparian areas and what urbanization does to soil and hydrology.

“Scientists and practitioners are encouraged to attend to share experiences, network with colleagues and become involved in shaping the future of urban riparian issues in Texas,” she said.

To register for the workshops and symposium, or for more information, visit http://texasriparian.org or contact Dictson at n-dictson@tamu.edu.

For more information about the Palmer Events Center and nearby lodgings, go to:  http://texasriparian.org/urban-riparian-symposium-feb-11-13-2015-austin-tx/

Parking is available at the event center parking garage for $7 per day.

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