Water quality training July 17 in Beeville will focus on Mission, Aransas rivers

Contact: Robbin Reininger, 361-621-1552, robbin.reininger@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. Allen Berthold, 979-845-2028, taberthold@ag.tamu.edu

Michael Kuitu, 979-862-4457, mkuitu@tamu.edu

BEEVILLE – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to the Mission and Aransas rivers will be held from 8 a.m.-noon July 17 at the Bee County Expo Center, 214 S. Farm-to-Market Road 351 in Beeville.

The workshop is presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with the Texas Water Resources Institute. The training is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the region.

Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website at https://tws.tamu.edu.

“This training is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Michael Kuitu, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward program, College Station.

A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality in the Mission and Aransas rivers will be held July 24 in Beeville. (Texas Watershed Steward photo)

Kuitu said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on area water quality issues, including current efforts to help improve and protect the Mission and Aransas rivers.

The training will include a discussion of watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution, and ways to improve and protect water quality. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“Portions of the Mission and Aransas River watersheds are on the state list of impaired waters for elevated levels of bacteria,” said Dr. Allen Berthold, senior research scientist for the Texas Water Resources Institute, College Station. “Therefore, we are working toward implementing a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, project to address the impairment.”

The institute will work in partnership with local stakeholders and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to finalize the TMDL and associated implementation plan for the improvement and protection of water quality. More information on this project will be presented at the workshop.

“In addition to discussing the Mission and Aransas River watersheds, the workshop will offer a variety of continuing education credits for multiple professional disciplines,” said Robbin Reininger, AgriLife Extension agent for Bee County.

Reininger said she wants to encourage local residents and other stakeholders to attend the workshop to gain more information about water resources and water quality improvement and protection.

Attendees will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The Texas Watershed Steward program offers four continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, four units for professional engineers and certified planners, four credits for certified teachers and two credits for nutrient management specialists. A total of four professional development hours are available for professional geoscientists.

In addition, three general continuing education units are offered for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, and four for certified landscape architects. Four continuing education credits are provided to certified floodplain managers and for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality occupational licensees, wastewater system operators, public water system operators, on-site sewage facility installers and landscape irrigators. Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists may also earn continuing education.

“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Berthold said.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act §319(h) nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the Texas Watershed Steward program and to preregister, go to the website or contact Kuitu at 979-862-4457, mkuitu@tamu.edu; or Reininger at 361-621-1552, robbin.reininger@ag.tamu.edu.

For more information about watershed protection efforts for the Mission and Aransas Rivers, contact Berthold at 979-845-2028, taberthold@ag.tamu.edu .

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