The Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, will host a free virtual introductory meeting for anyone interested in becoming involved in the watershed protection planning process for the Petronila and San Fernando creeks.
The TWRI is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. Petronila and San Fernando creeks are the two main tributaries of Baffin Bay, an inlet of Laguna Madre near the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas Gulf Coast.
The kickoff meeting will be held online via Zoom from 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 23. Attendees should RSVP online to receive information on how to join the virtual meeting.
Lucas Gregory, TWRI assistant director, Bryan-College Station, said the meeting is the first in a series of meetings with watershed stakeholders about developing strategies to address water quality impairments in the watershed.
“Petronila and San Fernando creeks have not met the Texas water quality standards for contact recreation since 2010 and 2006, respectively, due to elevated levels of bacteria,” Gregory said. “The creeks also have elevated chlorophyll a, an indicator of excess nutrients in the water.”
Addressing the impairments
Clare Escamilla, TWRI research specialist in San Antonio, said the initial meeting will introduce the stakeholder process and give an overview of the watershed planning process.
Current water quality data will also be presented, as well as an introduction to point and non-point pollution sources for the different impairments.
“We will explain the watershed-based planning process to address stakeholder’s water quality concerns and the proposed timeline for developing a plan,” Escamilla said.
Gregory said interested stakeholders should become a part of the planning process.
“We’re encouraging citizens in the region to attend this meeting. Their input is essential for identifying land and water issues and ensuring that the watershed-based plan includes appropriate and desirable management measures,” he said.
The institute coordinates this project with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Nueces River Authority, Texas Sea Grant and Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. It is funded through a state nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to lead local watershed stakeholders through the watershed protection planning process.
Go to the project website for information about future meetings, watershed plan components and other project details. To learn more about the project or get involved in the planning process, visit the website and fill out the brief form to subscribe to email updates.