The Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, will host a free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program training from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 13 in Temple for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Big Elm Creek watershed.
The morning session will be at Oscar Store, 8133 Oscar Spur. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along the creek.
Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, said the training is co-hosted locally by the Big Elm Creek Watershed Partnership and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Bell County.
The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A catered lunch from Oscar Store will be provided for $15, or participants may bring their own lunch.
Ed Rhodes, TWRI research associate and watershed coordinator for the Big Elm Creek Watershed Partnership, said Big Elm Creek, a major tributary of Little River, is impaired for not meeting the recreational standard for E. coli.
“A local stakeholder group has been working on a watershed plan to address urban and rural management practices to benefit instream water quality,” Rhodes said. “This training is a good opportunity for those interested to learn more about best management practices beneficial to water quality.”
Entwistle said proper management, protection and restoration of these areas directly influences water quality and quantity, plus stabilizes stream banks and improves fish and aquatic habitats and communities.
“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,” she said.
Entwistle said the institute is able to offer the training 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.
Whitney Grantham, AgriLife Extension agent in Bell County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The training offers many types of continuing education units, including three units — two general and one integrated pest management — for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, 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.
The riparian education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.