Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for May 19 in Wimberley

WIMBERLEY — The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. May 19 in Wimberley for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Cypress Creek watershed.

The free workshop is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Hays County, the cities of Woodcreek and Wimberley, and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, said Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute Extension program specialist and coordinator of the program.

The morning session will be at the VFW Hall, 401 Jacobs Well Road. The afternoon session will include an outdoor walk along the creek and presentations.

Located in Central Texas and part of the Edwards Plateau region of the Texas Hill Country, Cypress Creek flows through unincorporated portions of Hays County and the cities of Wimberley and Woodcreek, and into the Blanco River.

Jeffrey Thornton, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment project manager, said the Cypress Creek project was initiated when concerned landowners, nongovernment organizations and the Meadows Center applied for Clean Water Act Section 319 funds to develop a preventative and community-driven watershed protection plan for Cypress Creek.

“Our goal was to keep Cypress Creek from being listed on the state’s impaired water list, as it had been in 2000,” Thornton said. “Beginning in 2008, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment provided technical assistance and facilitation to a group of dedicated Cypress Creek stakeholders to create the watershed protection plan.”

Dictson said 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. A riparian zone is the land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou 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, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service, AgriLife Extension and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University.

“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 Guadalupe Blanco River Trust is sponsoring the lunch for participants. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, and attendees may bring their own lunch if they prefer.

Attendees must RSVP by May 14 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

Richard Parrish, AgriLife Extension agent for Hays 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 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 or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

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