Mill Creek Watershed Workshop Set For Oct. 1
The Texas Water Resources Institute will host a free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Sealy for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Mill Creek Watershed.
The morning session will be at Millheim Harmonie Verein Hall, 4460 Farm-to-Market Road 949. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along the creek.
All attendees must RSVP by Sept. 24. RSVP online through the marketplace or by email to Clare.Entwistle@ag.tamu.edu. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, so a catered lunch is being offered for $15. This fee also helps cover the snack breaks. Participants may bring their own lunch.
The workshop is co-hosted by Texas A&M University’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Austin County, Texas Riparian Association and the Texas Water Resources Institute.
“Stakeholders recognize successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires implementing a variety of management strategies,” said Evgenia Spears, AgriLife Extension watershed coordinator, Bryan-College Station. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Improving the Mill Creek watershed
Clare Escamilla, Texas Water Resources Institute research associate, San Antonio, said the workshop will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones within the Mill Creek Watershed, as well as the benefits and economic impacts from properly functioning riparian systems.
Riparian areas — the green vegetated land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, rivers or lakes — are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage.
“Proper management, protection and restoration of these vital areas directly influence water quality and quantity, stabilize stream banks and improve fish and aquatic habitats and surrounding communities.”
Escamilla said 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.
“Riparian education programs like this encourage informed landowners and members of the public to be more inclined to use practices that improve the management of riparian and stream ecosystems,” she said.
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas Water Resources Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Riparian Association.
Escamilla said they are 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.
Continuing education opportunities
Stacie Villarreal, AgriLife Extension agent, Austin County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The workshop offers many types of continuing education units, including two general and one integrated pest management for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders.
Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association and six hours from the Society of American Foresters. It offers one unit from TWRI, seven credits from Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.