Riparian, stream ecosystem workshop set for Sept. 29 in Nacogdoches

NACOGDOCHES — The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 29 in Nacogdoches for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Attoyac Bayou watershed.

The morning session will be at the Courthouse Annex, 203 W. Main St. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along a portion of the bayou close to the annex.

The workshop is free and open to the public. It is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Nacogdoches County and the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership.

A Riparian and ecosystem (Courtesy photo)

A Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Program will be held Sept. 29 at the Courthouse Annex in Nacogdoches.  (Courtesy photo)

The Attoyac Bayou watershed extends 82 miles through Rusk, Nacogdoches, San Augustine and Shelby counties before emptying into Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The majority of land in the watershed is rural and used for cattle and poultry, forestry or recreational and wildlife uses.

The Attoyac Bayou is currently listed as an impaired water body due to elevated levels of bacteria and does not meet the state’s designated standard for primary contact recreation, according to Lucas Gregory, a research scientist for the institute, College Station.

“The goal of the watershed partnership is to promote the long-term conservation and stewardship of the Attoyac Bayou watershed that improves and sustains water quality, protects the natural resources it contains and maintains its economic viability,” Gregory said.

He said the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership developed a watershed protection plan in 2014 to help mitigate water quality concerns.

Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist for TWRI in College Station, said the workshop will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones, as well as the benefits and economic impact of properly functioning riparian systems.

All attendees must RSVP by Sept. 21 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

She said the workshop is being offered free thanks to program funding provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Riparian areas – the green vegetated land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake – are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage,” Dictson said. “The goal of the workshop is for participants to better understand riparian and watershed processes, the benefits of healthy riparian areas, and what resources are available to prevent degradation while improving water quality.”

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the TWRI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, AgriLife Extension, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service and Castilaw Environmental Services.

The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A catered barbecue lunch is available for $10 before Sept. 21 and for $15 afterward, payable at the door. Participants may also opt to bring their own lunch.

Attendees can pay for lunch by credit using the online system site or send a check payable to Texas Water Resources Institute addressed to Nikki Dictson, 1500 Research Parkway, Suite 110, College Station, TX 77843-2260.

Ricky Thompson, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, Nacogdoches County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.

The workshop offers many types of continuing education units, including three units — two general and one integrated pest management — for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association and 6.5 hours from the Society of American Foresters.

It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, seven credits from Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, seven hours from Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying, and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.

The riparian education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

For more information, contact Dictson or visit http://texasriparian.org or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

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