The Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, is hosting a meeting in Temple on July 28 to discuss implementing the Big Elm Creek Watershed Protection Plan, WPP. The meeting will be held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 720 E. Blackland Road.
The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. and provide an overview of the WPP. It will also focus on technical and financial assistance available to area farmers and ranchers.
Representatives from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, TSSWCB, will provide information about how they work with agricultural producers across Texas to implement management practices that enhance their operations while protecting water resources. Todd Oneth, TSSWCB program supervisor, will provide an overview of the technical and financial assistance TSSWCB offers to agriculture producers.
Watershed Protection Plan
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, recently accepted the Big Elm Creek WPP. It is available for download from the project website, and print copies will be available at the meeting. The WPP is a voluntary, nonregulatory plan to restore and protect the water quality in Big Elm Creek. It was developed by stakeholders with the assistance of TWRI.
Development of the plan was initiated in 2018 and completed in the fall of 2019. The plan identifies potential sources of pollution in the watershed and outlines a strategy for improving and protecting water quality.
Big Elm Creek is a major tributary to Little River in Central Texas. It does not meet the state water quality standard for recreation, according to Ward Ling, AgriLife Extension watershed coordinator with TWRI.
“In response, TWRI worked with local landowners, agricultural producers, residents, governmental entities and other stakeholders to develop the WPP to reduce bacteria and other contaminants in the watershed to improve the water quality,” Ling said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality supports implementation activities for the Big Elm Creek watershed with funding provided by the EPA through a Clean Water Act grant.