NACOGDOCHES – Members of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership and others interested in protecting and restoring water quality in the Attoyac Bayou are invited to a free March 10 meeting to continue discussions on the development of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan, according to coordinators.
The meeting, hosted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, will be held at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex, 203 W. Main St. It will begin with registration at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.
“The meeting will include formally establishing the partnership steering committee, approval of draft partnership ground rules and presentation of different partnership logo designs,” said Lucas Gregory, Texas Water Resources Institute project manager. “The meeting will conclude with an overview and discussion of the recreational-use attainability analysis process for the watershed.”
The Texas Water Resources Institute is part of Texas AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
According to Anthony Castilaw, Attoyac Bayou Watershed coordinator, the AgriLife agencies have partnered with Castilaw Environmental Services and others to work with landowners in portions of Rusk, Shelby, Nacogdoches and San Augustine counties to coordinate the development of a watershed protection plan.
Throughout this project, members will provide landowners with scientific data that will help them make informed decisions regarding the future voluntary implementation of management practices that will reduce bacteria levels in the Attoyac Bayou, Castilaw said.
“Landowners will work together to develop a watershed protection plan that will outline how selected management measures will be implemented to restore water quality,” he said.
Gregory said one of the tools that will be used to better understand the sources of bacteria contribution in the Attoyac Bayou is a recreational-use attainability analysis.
“This process consists of site assessments throughout the watershed, landowner interviews and historical reviews of water-body uses,” he said, “It will result in a better understanding of the types of activities and environmental influences that are present from one end of the watershed to the other.”
Local input is always critical in developing a watershed protection plan and the same applies to efforts in the Attoyac Bayou Watershed area, said Chad Gulley, AgriLife Extension agent for Nacogdoches County.
“This watershed protection plan is being developed by local landowners and local inputs are absolutely critical to this process,” Gulley said. “Although folks from AgriLife Research and other entities involved are at every meeting presenting their findings and will actually write the watershed plan, local landowners will determine what will be included in the plan, and they will have the opportunity to approve the plan before it is completed.”
Other project partners are Stephen F. Austin State University and its Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Angelina and Neches River Authority and the Pineywoods Resource.
Funding for the development and support of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan is through a Clean Water Act grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.