Contacts: Clare Entwistle, 210-277-0292 ext. 205, Clare.Entwistle@ag.tamu.edu
Steven Johnston, 832-681-2579, firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Bower, 713-499-6653, email@example.com
Michael Heimer, 936-539-7822, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONROE–The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a free workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 1 in Conroe for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the San Jacinto River watershed.
The morning session will be at the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, 655 Conroe Park N. Drive. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along the river.
Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, said the workshop is co-hosted locally by the Houston Galveston Area Council and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Montgomery County.
The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A catered lunch will be available for $10 or participants may bring their own lunch.
“Proper management, protection and restoration of these vital areas directly influences water quality and quantity, plus stabilizes stream banks and improves fish and aquatic habitats and communities,” Entwistle said. “The goal of the workshop is for participants to better understand riparian and watershed processes, the benefits of healthy riparian areas and what resources are available to prevent degradation while improving water quality.”
The East and West Fork Total Maximum Daily Load and Implementation Plan was approved in 2016 and addresses bacteria impairments in four water bodies: Lake Houston, the East and West forks of the San Jacinto River and Crystal Creek watersheds.
The West Fork Watersheds Partnership started in 2016 and is working to address water quality issues in the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek watersheds by creating a watershed protection plan.
“Stakeholders recognize that successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires a variety of management strategies,” said Justin Bower, senior environmental planner at the Houston-Galveston Area Council and project manager for the West Fork Watersheds Partnership. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas A&M Forest Service, Houston-Galveston Area Council and AgriLife Extension.
Entwistle said they are able to offer the workshop free 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.
Michael Heimer, AgriLife Extension agent, Montgomery County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The workshop offers many types of continuing education units, including three units — two general and one integrated pest management — for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association and six hours from the Society of American Foresters. It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, seven credits from Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, seven hours from the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying 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.