Riparian and stream education program slated for April 27 in Jefferson

JEFFERSON — 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 27 in Jefferson for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Big Cypress Creek watershed, coordinators said.

The morning session will be at the Jefferson Transportation Center, 305 E. Austin St. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along the creek.

The workshop is free and open to all those interested. It is co-presented by the Texas Water Resources Institute, Northeast Texas Municipal Water District and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Marion County.

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 riparian stream and ecosystem education program will be held April 27 in Jefferson. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo)

Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute AgriLife Extension program specialist in College Station, said the workshop 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.

“Riparian areas – the green vegetated land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake – are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage,” 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 discussion of local resources.

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Water Resources Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Temple.

The program will include a lunchtime presentation, and a catered sandwich lunch is available to attendees for $10 or they may bring their own lunch. All attendees must RSVP by April 22 to Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

Attendees wanting lunch should download the credit card authorization form found on the website and send by email to ndictson@tamu.edu or by mail to Dictson, 1500 Research Parkway, Suite 110, College Station, Texas 77843-2260. They may also mail a check or pay in cash at the event.

Robert Speight, Northeast Texas Municipal Water District water quality team leader, said the Cypress Basin contains several stream segments not currently meeting state standards.

“Our district has a robust sampling program in conjunction with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Clean Rivers Program, and we are collecting data from a number of these areas to help determine the proper corrective actions for these impairments,” Speight said. “We are also educating landowners on the importance of healthy riparian areas and that these areas are a key component in the long-term protection of the basin.”

Participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training, said Doug Weir, AgriLife Extension agent for Marion County.

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, four hours from the Society of American Foresters, seven hours from the Texas Floodplain Management Association and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers and Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

Dictson said they are able to offer the workshop without cost thanks to program funding provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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.

For more information, contact Dictson or visit http://texasriparian.org or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

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