Farm and Ranch
Water quality training Oct. 25 in Sulphur Springs
By AgriLife Today
Oct 15, 2017
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SULPHUR SPRINGS – A free Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to the Running Creek and Elm Creek watersheds will be from 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 25.

The workshop will be in the Southwest Dairy Museum, 1210 Houston St. in Sulphur Springs. Lunch will be provided at noon for attendees who preregister on or before Oct. 23.

The program is presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, with lunch provided by the Southwest Dairy Museum.

“This workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local water quality management activities,” said Michael Kuitu, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward program, College Station. “The workshop, lunch and professional continuing education credits are all free and the program is open to anyone interested in protecting water quality in the region.”

Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website, http://tws.tamu.edu

A Texas Watershed Steward program on water quality in the Running Creek and Elm Creek watershed area will be held Oct. 25. (Texas Watershed Steward Program photo)

A discussion on watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution, and ways to improve and protect water quality will be included in the program. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“Discussion will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will focus primarily on local water quality initiatives, including current efforts to help improve and protect the Running Creek and Elm Creek watersheds,” said Dr. Mario Villarino, AgriLife Extension agent for Hopkins County. “We will address local water resources but the information will be applicable to all waters in the region.”

The Running Creek and Elm Creek watersheds are located in an area known as the Dairy Outreach Program Area, also known as DOPA, he noted.

“Within the DOPA of Texas, watershed stewardship education enables operators of concentrated animal feeding operations and area citizens to learn and apply best management practices to the lands and homes they manage,” Villarino said. “This helps keep Texas agriculture strong while protecting area water quality.”

Attendees 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 DOPA credits will be provided for dairy operators.  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.

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 TWS website or contact Kuitu at 979-862-4457, mkuitu@tamu.edu; or Villarino at 903-885-3443, m-villarino@tamu.edu