Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for April 1 in Floresville

FLORESVILLE — The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 1 in Floresville for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the upper San Antonio River watershed.

The free workshop is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Wilson County, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the San Antonio River Authority.

The morning session will be at the Floresville Event Center, 600 U.S. Highway 97 W.  The afternoon session will include an outdoor river walk and presentations in the field.

A healthy riparian buffer zone on Buck Creek near U.S. Highway 83 works to protect water quality during runoff events. (Texas AgriLife Research photo)

A healthy riparian area helps protect water quality during runoff events. A free riparian and stream ecosystem education program will be held April 1 in Floresville. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo)

The upper San Antonio River watershed is considered impaired due to high bacteria levels making it unsuitable for primary contact recreation, according to program coordinators. Increased bacteria concentrations can pose a risk for people who swim and wade in the river. A watershed protection plan has been completed and is continually being updated to reflect the current conditions of the river.

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute and AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator of the program, said trainings 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.

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

Dictson said workshop topics will include stream, riparian and watershed processes, 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 institute, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service and AgriLife Extension.

“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.

The Wilson County Soil and Water Conservation District and the San Antonio River Authority are sponsoring a catered lunch for the event. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, and attendees may bring their own lunch if they prefer.

Attendees must RSVP by March 27 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.  (Bitly this link!)

Bryan Davis, AgriLife Extension agent for Wilson 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; 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 and landscape architects.

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 or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation .

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