A free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program is scheduled for Nov. 2 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in New Braunfels. The event is hosted by the Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, and open to all area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Dry Comal Creek and Comal River watersheds.
All attendees must RSVP by Oct. 26 online at https://tx.ag/CRWNov2Reg or by email to Clare.Entwistle@ag.tamu.edu. The program includes a lunchtime presentation, and a catered lunch is available for $15, or participants may bring their own lunch.
The event will have morning and afternoon sessions. The program starts at the Landa Haus, 360 Aquatic Circle, New Braunfels. The workshop will progress from there with a walk and presentations along the river.
Continuing education units
The workshop offers various continuing education units including three Texas Department of Agriculture, two general and one integrated pest management, for pesticide license holders. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association and six hours from the Society of American Foresters.
The program offers one unit from TWRI, seven credits from the Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, seven hours from the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.
Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for Comal County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
Clare Escamilla, TWRI research associate, San Antonio, said the workshop will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones as well as the benefits and economic impacts from proper functioning riparian systems.
Riparian areas – the green vegetated land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake – are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage, Escamilla said. 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.
“Riparian education programs like this lead to informed landowners and members of the public more inclined to use practices that improve the management of riparian and stream ecosystems,” Escamilla said. “Proper management, protection and restoration of these vital areas directly influences water quality and quantity. It can stabilize stream banks, improve fish and aquatic habitats and communities and more.”
The Comal River and Dry Comal Creek watersheds are the focus of planning efforts by stakeholders.
“Stakeholders recognize successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires implementing a variety of management strategies,” said Phillip Quast, watershed coordinator for the city of New Braunfels. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the city of New Braunfels, TWRI, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the TRA.
Escamilla said they are able to offer the workshop 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.
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.