Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for Oct. 8 in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI–The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 8 in Corpus Christi for residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Lower Nueces River, Petronila Creek and Oso Creek watersheds.

A riparian

A Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program Workshop will be held Oct. 8 in Corpus Christi. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The free one-day workshop is being co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Nueces County, Nueces River Authority and Coastal Bend Bays Foundation.

The morning session will be at the Hilltop Community Center at 11425 Leopard St.

 

Afternoon activities will include an outdoor walk along the Lower Nueces River and presentations at Hazel Bazemore Park, located at Farm-to-Market Road 624 at County Road 69.

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute and AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator of the program, said multiple water quality improvement projects are being conducted around Corpus Christi.

“This workshop is for anyone interested in learning about the importance of riparian areas in those watersheds,” Dictson said.

She said the goals of watershed protection planning and implementation are to improve water quality for drinking and recreation, protect habitat for wildlife, enhance awareness and promote stewardship through stakeholder engagement, as well as improve aesthetics and environmental integrity to improve quality of life.

The training will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones as well as the benefits and economic impacts from proper functioning riparian systems, Dictson said.

“A riparian zone is the land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek or river. A properly functioning riparian system is a river’s first line of defense from pollutants.”

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.

The Lower Nueces River includes 39 river miles from Lake Corpus Christi to the saltwater barrier dam in Corpus Christi.

Rocky Freund, the Nueces River Authority’s deputy executive director, said water quality testing conducted on the Lower Nueces River showed high levels of total dissolved solids and the nutrient chlorophyll a.

“Not only is the Lower Nueces River our main water source, it is a beautiful river with many miles of natural areas and abundant wildlife,” Freund said. “It is rich in history related to the early Native American inhabitant, Texas’ independence and development of the area.”

Located southwest of Corpus Christi, Petronila Creek is a 44-mile freshwater stream that is part of the Baffin Bay watershed. Freund said water quality monitoring of Petronila Creek showed the presence of chloride, sulfate and total dissolved solids resulting in a project to implement total maximum daily load measures to reduce levels.

The Oso Creek, a 28-mile long creek in Nueces County in the Nueces-Rio Grande Coastal Basin, has been shown to have elevated levels of bacteria, which may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in it, said Teresa Carrillo, associate director Coastal Bend Bays Foundation.

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Water Resources Institute, U.S.Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, AgriLife Extension, the Nueces River Authority and the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation.

“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.

RSVP is required for the workshop and a catered lunch is offered for $10 cash the day of the event. Attendees may also elect to bring their own lunch as the program includes a lunchtime presentation.

Attendees must RSVP by Oct.3 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

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

The workshop offers over five 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, 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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