Water quality training Oct. 9 in Austin will focus on Shoal Creek

Contact: Michael Kuitu, 979-862-4457, mkuitu@tamu.edu
Joanna Wolaver, 512-565-0812, joanna@shoalcreekconservancy.org
Noel Troxclair, 512-854-9600, noel.troxclair@ag.tamu.edu  

AUSTIN – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to Shoal Creek will be held from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Lamar Senior Activities Center, 2874 Shoal Crest Ave. in Austin.  

The training is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the region. Light refreshments will be provided.

Those interested are also invited to attend an 11 a.m.-noon Shoal Creek stakeholder meeting  prior to the workshop.

The workshop is presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with the Shoal Creek Conservancy and Texas State University Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

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.

Kuitu said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on Shoal Creek. The training will include a discussion of watershed systems along with types and sources of water pollution. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“Shoal Creek is an incredible asset of the Austin community, providing resources ranging from recreational use to flood control,” said Joanna Wolaver, executive director of the Shoal Creek Conservancy.  

Wolaver said even though Shoal Creek is not designated as impaired by the state, bacteria in the creek is often reported at concentrations in excess of state standards during routine water quality monitoring.  

“Therefore, we are working toward developing a watershed action plan for Shoal Creek to address the challenges presented in this urban watercourse,” Wolaver added.

With funding assistance from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, the Shoal Creek Conservancy will work in partnership with local stakeholders and Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment to develop the plan. More information on this project, including how to become involved, will be presented at the workshop.

“In addition to discussing the Shoal Creek watershed, the workshop will offer a variety of continuing education credits for multiple professional disciplines,” said Noel Troxclair, AgriLife Extension agent for Travis County.

Troxclair said he 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 of the workshop 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 advisors, 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. Four continuing education credits are also offered for each of the following TCEQ 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.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act 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 Troxclair at 512-854-9600, noel.troxclair@ag.tamu.edu.

For more information about watershed protection efforts for Shoal Creek, visit https://shoalcreekconservancy.org/watershedplan/, or contact Wolaver at 512-565-0812, joanna@shoalcreekconservancy.org.

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