June 23, 2014

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PicEvent071714DRIPPING SPRINGS – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality issues related to Onion Creek and Barton Springs will be held from 1-5 p.m. July 17 at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 DS Ranch Rd. in Dripping Springs.

The training is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Hill Country region, said program coordinators. Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website athttp://tws.tamu.edu.

The workshop is presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.

“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 Galen Roberts, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward program.

Roberts 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 Onion Creek and Barton Springs. The workshop will primarily address issues related to these two water bodies, but will be applicable to all waters in the region, he said.

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.

“Onion Creek and Barton Springs are important water resources,” said Richard Parrish, AgriLife Extension agent for Hays County. “Onion Creek is a main source of recharge for the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards aquifer, which supplies water for municipal supply, agriculture, fishing and recreational activities, and wildlife habitat.”

Parrish said he wants to encourage local residents and other stakeholders to attend the workshop in order to gain more information about water quality improvement and protection.

Along with the training, participants receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The program offers four continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, four units for professional engineers and certified planners, and four credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, four for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

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

For more information, go to http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Parrish at 512-393-2120, re-parrish@tamu.edu, or Galen Roberts at 979-862-8070,groberts@ag.tamu.edu.

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.

In recent HCA News, HCA featured an article about a wastewater discharge proposal that could threaten Onion Creek. “Some water experts believe Hill Country clear-running creeks and streams may soon be a thing of the past if cities are permitted to discharge treated wastewater directly into creeks such as Onion Creek. Water wells may also become contaminated.” Read more here.

More information about Hill Country water quality issues are available on the HCA website here.