Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for Feb. 25 in Hallettsville

HALLETTSVILLE–The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m. -4 p.m. Feb. 25 in Hallettsville for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Lavaca River basin.

The workshop in Hallettsville

The Feb. 25 Texas Water Resource Institute workshop in Hallettsville will focus on land and water stewardship in the Lavaca River Basin. (Photo courtesy of Matt Brown, Texas Water Resources Institute)

The free workshop is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Lavaca County, Lavaca County Wildlife Management Association and Lavaca-Navidad River Authority.

Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist for the Texas Water Resources Institute and coordinator of the program, said the workshop will concentrate on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones, as well as the direct economic impact and benefit of having healthy zones.

A riparian zone is the land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek or river, Dictson explained.

“Proper management, protection and restoration of these vital areas directly influence water quality and quantity, stabilize stream banks and improve fish and aquatic habitats, communities and more,” she said.

The morning session will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 321 U.S. 77 South, and the afternoon session will include a tour of a field site along the river.

Dictson said workshop topics will include riparian and watershed management principles, water quality, riparian vegetation, hindrances to healthy riparian areas, stream processes, management practices and local resources.

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Water Resources Institute, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and AgriLife Extension.

“Riparian education programs like this workshop lead to informed landowners and members of the public, who are more inclined to use practices that improve the management of riparian and stream ecosystems,” Dictson said. “We hope that landowners and managers will incorporate riparian area management into their land stewardship activities and goals.”

Matt Brown, Texas Water Resources Institute program coordinator, said the Lavaca River basin has issues with high levels of bacteria in its rivers and streams.

“This workshop is one of the first steps of a multi-year effort by stakeholders to try to address these issues,” Brown said.

Brown said he will be working with stakeholders through a new Texas Water Resources Institute project, Basin Approach to Impairments, to improve water quality in the Lavaca River basin.

“Along with stakeholders better understanding riparian and watershed processes and the benefits of healthy riparian areas, this workshop will give them tools that they can use to prevent and resolve degradation and improve water quality,” said Joel Wagner of the Lavaca County Wildlife Management Association.

The association is sponsoring a catered lunch for the workshop. Attendees must RSVP by Feb. 19 to Dictson to be counted for the lunch. RSVP by contacting Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

Shannon Deforest, AgriLife Extension agent for Lavaca County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.

The workshop offers five types of continuing education units, including two general and one integrated pest management, for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program is acceptable for health, safety and welfare credit from the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners and 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. It is funded through a Clean Water Act grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, contact Dictson or visit texasriparian.org.

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