Water Quality Training will Focus on Double Bayou Watershed

OAK ISLAND June 4, 2013 – A Texas Watershed Steward workshop addressing water quality issues related to Double Bayou watershed will be held from 1-8 p.m. June 25 at the Oak Island Lodge, 142-A Jackson Drive, Oak Island.

A no-cost Texas Watershed Steward training relating to water quality in the Double Bayou watershed area will take place June 25 on Oak Island near Anahuac.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photos

Oak Island is in Chambers County between the east and west forks of the Double Bayou and about eight miles south of Anahuac.

The no-cost workshop has limited seating, so participants are encouraged to preregister at http://tws.tamu.edu. A light meal will be provided free to those who preregister.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with the Double Bayou Watershed Partnership.

“The training is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in Double Bayou,” said Tyler Fitzgerald, AgriLife Extension agent for natural resources, Chambers County. “The training is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities.”

Fitzgerald said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on water-quality issues relating to Double Bayou, including current efforts to help improve and protect the health of this important water resource.

The training also provides 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.

“Double Bayou is a critical resource for the area,” Fitzgerald said. “For example, Double Bayou, which feeds into Trinity Bay, supports oyster production, recreational activities, commercial fishing and other economic assets. The estuaries of Double Bayou are considered to be a critical wildlife habitat area by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.”

Double Bayou is a critical watershed for marine life, wildlife and humans.

The workshop is being held in support of ongoing watershed management activities for the Double Bayou watershed in Chambers and Liberty counties. Double Bayou has been listed on the state list of impaired waters since 2004 for low levels of dissolved oxygen and since 2008 for high concentrations of bacteria. It also has been listed as impaired for dioxin and PCBs in edible tissues of marine life, and high concentrations of bacteria.

Efforts are currently under way to reduce pollutant levels in Double Bayou through working with local residents and property owners to develop a watershed protection plan. More information about the plan can be found at http://www.doublebayou.org.

“Management strategies to be included in the plan are intended to provide direction to local stakeholders and deliver educational programming such as the Texas Watershed Steward Program,” said Linda Shead of Shead Conservation Solutions, watershed coordinator for the Double Bayou Watershed Partnership. “These efforts are aimed at improving water quality in Double Bayou.”

“Along with the free training, participants receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion,” said Galen Roberts, A&M AgriLife Extension program specialist and Texas Watershed Steward coordinator.

The program also offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, seven units for professional engineers and certified planners, and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, three 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,” Roberts said.

For more information and to preregister, go to http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Roberts at 979-862-8070, groberts@ag.tamu.edu, or Fitzgerald at 409-267-8347, tsfitzgerald@ag.tamu.edu.

For more information on the Double Bayou Watershed Protection Plan contact Shead at 713-703-1123 or linda.shead@sheadconservation.com.

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 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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