LOCKHART – The Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, will host a free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 15 in Lockhart for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Plum Creek watershed.
The morning session will be at the Lockhart State Park, 2012 State Park Road. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along Plum Creek.
Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, said the workshop is co-hosted locally by the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Caldwell County.
The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A catered lunch will be provided for $10, or participants may bring their own lunch.
Stephen Risinger, AgriLife Extension watershed coordinator for the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership, said Plum Creek is a 52-mile stream that begins in Hays County and flows southeast through Caldwell County before meeting the San Marcos River. He said it is located in a rapidly developing area, and this increases stress on the watershed.
A watershed protection plan was developed in 2005 and accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 to address high bacteria loads and nutrient concentrations in the creek.
Entwistle said proper management, protection and restoration of these areas directly influences water quality and quantity, plus stabilizes stream banks and improves 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.
Entwistle said the institute is 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.
Wayne Morse, AgriLife Extension agent in Caldwell County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers. It also 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.
Additionally, the program 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 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.