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Water quality training Feb. 12 in Beaumont will focus on Neches River, Hillebrandt Bayou

To The Leader

BEAUMONT – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop on water quality related to the Neches River and Hillebrandt Bayou will be held from 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on Feb. 12. 

The workshop will be held at the Jefferson County Extension Office, 1225 Pearl Street, Suite 200 in Beaumont.  It will be presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with the Texas Water Resources Institute 

(TWRI). 

“This workshop is designed to help watershed residents learn about their water resources and how they may become 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. “The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the region.”  

He said participants are encouraged to preregister at the Texas Watershed Steward website . 

The workshop will include a discussion on 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 workshop will provide an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas with an emphasis on area water quality,” said Nikki Fitzgerald, Extension agent for Jefferson County.  “It will address local water resources but will be applicable to all waters in the region.”

“Hillebrandt Bayou, along with various segments and tributaries of the Neches River, including its tidally-influenced segment, are on the state list of impaired waters,” said Michael Schramm, TWRI Research Associate, College Station. “Therefore, we are inviting the public to not only learn about water quality management, but also how they may become involved, including implementing science-based best management practices in their homes and at their jobs.”

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 hours of continuing education for the following professional disciplines: soil and water management for certified crop advisers; professional engineers; AICP certified planners (4 CM & 1.5 law); certified teachers; professional geoscientists; certified landscape architects; certified floodplain managers; and 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.  In addition, one general continuing education unit is offered for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, and two credits are offered for nutrient management specialists.  

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

Funding for this effort is provided through a federal Clean Water Act §319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board from the 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 Fitzgerald at 409-835-8461, nikki.fitzgerald@ag.tamu.edu.

For information on watershed protection efforts for the Neches River and Hillebrandt Bayou watersheds, contact Schramm at 979-458-9191, michael.schramm@ag.tamu.edu.