Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for May 8 in Mont Belvieu

MONT BELVIEU–The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. May 8 in Mont Belvieu for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Cedar Bayou watershed.

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A Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will be held May 8 in Mont Belvieu. The  day-long program will begin at 8 a.m. at the McLeod Community Center and include an afternoon walk along the bayou . (Photo courtesy of Justin Bower, Houston-Galveston Area Council)

The free workshop will be co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Chambers County, the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

The morning session will be at the McLeod Community Center, 10717 Langston Drive, and the afternoon session will include an outdoor stream walk along the bayou.

Justin Bower, senior environmental planner with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and Cedar Bayou watershed coordinator, said the Cedar Bayou watershed, located in eastern Harris County and western Liberty and Chambers counties, covers approximately 202 square miles. The bayou flows into Galveston Bay.

“Most of the primary stream and floodplain is environmentally sensitive due to the saltwater marshlands in the lower reaches and the undeveloped natural channel reaches upstream of Baytown,” Bower said. “The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department considers the area around the mouth of Cedar Bayou to be a critical wildlife habitat.”

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute and AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator of the program, said the workshop training will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones and the benefits and economic impacts from proper functioning riparian systems. A riparian zone is the land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek or 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, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service, AgriLife Extension and the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

“The goal is for participants to better understand riparian and watershed processes, see the benefits of healthy riparian areas and know what resources are available to prevent degradation while improving water quality,” Dictson said.

A free catered lunch will be sponsored by NRG Energy, and the program will include a lunchtime presentation. Attendees may bring their own lunch if they prefer. RSVP by May 5 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

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

The workshop offers several types of continuing education units including three units — 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, six hours from the Texas Forestry Association, 5.5 hours from the Society of American Foresters 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. 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 http://texasriparian.org.

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