Water Quality Training To Be Held In San Marcos

SAN MARCOS –  A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to the Upper San Marcos River will be held from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on September 17 at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E Hopkins St in San Marcos.

Interested persons are also invited to attend a stakeholder meeting at the same location that morning from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.

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

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

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.

“The Upper San Marcos River supports habitats characterized by high biodiversity, and include both threatened and endangered species. It is a uniquely critical resource” said Aspen Navarro, Program Coordinator for The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. 

Navarro noted that even though the river is not currently designated as impaired by the state, several pollutants have been identified as a concern during routine water quality monitoring. “A plan to address the challenges presented in this watercourse was developed through direct stakeholder input, and we will be discussing that plan in addition to the educational workshop” Navarro added.

“In addition to discussing the Upper San Marcos River watershed, the workshop will offer a variety of continuing education credits for multiple professional disciplines,” said Jason Mangold, AgriLife Extension agent for Hays County.

Mangold 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 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. Four continuing education credits are also offered for each of the following 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,” said Mangold.

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 Mangold at 512-393-2120, jason.mangold@ag.tamu.edu.

For more information about watershed protection efforts for the Upper San Marcos River, contact Navarro at 512-245-1346aspennavarro@txstate.edu.

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