2013-03-22 / Agribusiness

Water-quality training scheduled Thursday

The registration deadline is approaching for a water-quality training program set for Thursday.

A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality and availability in the Lampasas River is set for 8 a.m to 4 p.m. The free workshop will be held at the Lampasas County Farm Bureau Building, 1793 U.S. Highway 281 North.

Preregistration is available through the Texas Watershed Stewards Web site, http://tws.tamu.edu. To ensure enough training materials are available, participants are asked to complete the online registration form at least four days before the program.

The Texas Watershed Steward workshop is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with Texas A& M AgriLife Research and the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership.

A boxed sandwich lunch will be provided by the Lampasas office of Texas Land Bank.

Workshop coordinators said the program is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Lampasas River and surrounding area.

“The workshop is designed to help watershedresidentsimproveandprotect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Heath Lusty, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Lampasas County.

Lusty said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas and will focus on water-quality issues relating to the Lampasas River, including current efforts to help improve and protect the health of important area water sources.

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.

“Surface water in the Lampasas River is a critical source of water in the area,” said Lisa Prcin, research associate with AgriLife Research. “Stakeholders need to be armed with the knowledge to protect and restore water quality in the watershed.”

AgriLife Research and the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership are working to develop and implement a stakeholder-driven watershed protection plan aimed at reducing pollution and improving water quality in the Lampasas River. The plan will be finalized and adopted later this year, and implementation of management strategies will begin soon thereafter.

Ms. Prcin said efforts outlined in the plan will include several best management practices which will reduce pollution in the watershed and potentially lower the bacteria levels in the Lampasas River.

“Along with the free training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion,” said Galen Roberts of AgriLife Extension and the Watershed Steward Program.

The program also offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, seven units for professional engineers and certified planners, and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

“ParticipatingintheTexasWatershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Roberts said.

For more information, contact Roberts at (979) 862-8070 or groberts@ag.tamu.edu, or Lusty at 556-8217 or rhlusty@ag.tamu.edu.

For information about the Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan, contact Ms. Prcin at (254) 774-6008 or lprcin@brc.tamu.edu. Additional information about the watershed is available at http://www.lampasasriver.org.

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 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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