Contacts: Clare Entwistle, 210-277-0292 ext. 205, Clare.Entwistle@ag.tamu.edu
Patty Carvajal, 210-302-3672, firstname.lastname@example.org
Travis Franke, 830-303-3889, email@example.com
MARION–The Texas Water Resources Institute Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a free workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 8 in Marion for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Mid and Lower Cibolo Creek watershed.
The morning session will be at the Bexar Bowling Alley and Social Hall, 15681 Bexar Bowling. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along Cibolo Creek.
Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, said the workshop is co-hosted locally by the San Antonio River Authority and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Guadalupe County.
The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A catered lunch will be available for $10 or participants may bring their own lunch.
Patty Carvajal, San Antonio River Authority quality assurance supervisor, said beginning in 2004 the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality listed the Lower Cibolo Creek as an impaired water body due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria.
“Excessive amounts of this bacterium indicate an increased risk for disease-causing pathogens to be present in the water body,” Carvajal said. “Further, increases in residential development and hydraulic fracturing in the Lower Cibolo Creek watershed area have spurred the need to have a sound watershed plan to protect the watershed’s water bodies.”
Entwistle said proper management, protection and restoration of these areas directly influences water quality and quantity along with stabilizing stream banks and improving fish and aquatic habitats and communities.
“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,” she said.
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and AgriLife Extension.
“Stakeholders recognize that successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires implementing a variety of management strategies,” Carvajal said. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Entwistle 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.
Travis Franke, AgriLife Extension agent for Guadalupe 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.