The Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, will host a free Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 31 in Wallisville for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Double Bayou Watershed.
The morning session will be at the White’s Park Community Building, 222 White Memorial Park Road. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, and a catered lunch is offered for $15, or attendees may bring their own lunch. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along a nearby creek.
Alexander Neal, TWRI program specialist, Bryan-College Station, said the workshop will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones along the Double Bayou Watershed and the benefits and economic impacts of properly functioning riparian systems.
The workshop is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Riparian Association and TWRI. All attendees must RSVP by May 24 at tx.ag/wallisville2023 or by email to Alexander.Neal@ag.tamu.edu.
Learn about riparian zones
Riparian areas — the green vegetated land areas adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake — are unique and essential ecosystems that provide many benefits, including habitat and forage, Neal said.
“Riparian education workshops motivate informed landowners and local residents to adopt and support practices to better manage riparian and stream ecosystems,” he said. “Not only are water quality and quantity directly benefitted by the proper management, protection and restoration of these critical areas, but also enhanced are the soundness of stream banks, fish communities and aquatic habitats, just to name a few.”
The workshop’s goal 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, Neal said.
“Stakeholders recognize successful water quality improvement requires implementing a variety of management strategies,” said Ryan Bare, research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”
Details about the watershed workshop
Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of AgriLife Extension, TWRI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Riparian Association.
Neal said organizers can 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.
Megan Carter, AgriLife Extension agent for Chambers County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.
The workshop 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. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association, six hours from the Society of American Foresters, and eight hours from the International Society of Arboriculture. It offers seven credits from the Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for certified crop advisers, 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.
The riparian education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Story written by Leslie Lee, Texas Water Resources Institute