Riparian and stream ecosystem workshop set for June 2 in Waxahachie

The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. June 2 in Waxahachie for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Richland-Chambers Lake watershed.

The free workshop is co-hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Ellis County and the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The morning session will be at the First United Methodist Church, 505 W. Marvin Ave. in Waxahachie. Registration is from 8-8:30 a.m.The afternoon session will include an outdoor walk along the creek, plus presentations.

Attendees must RSVP by May 28 to Nikki Dictson, Texas Water Resources Institute Extension program specialist, at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu, or online at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/.

The Tarrant Regional Water District is sponsoring a catered lunch from Chick-fil-A for participants. The program will include a lunchtime presentation, and attendees may bring their own lunch if they prefer.

Tina Hendon, the water district’s watershed program manager, said the goal of the program is to protect drinking water supplies through responsible watershed planning and stewardship.

“By increasing knowledge about watershed and stream processes, we can change behaviors and create advocates for responsible land management,” Hendon said.

Hendon said although Richland-Chambers Lake is not impaired, an increasing amount of chlorophyll-a has been documented. Chlorophyll-a is an indicator of increased algae growth and is spurred by nutrients and sediment washing into the lake from the watershed, she said.

“In addition to being used for recreation and supporting wildlife, the reservoir also serves as the public drinking water source for the surrounding communities,” she said. “Local agencies and community members are working together to install best management practices that will reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment entering the lake.”

Dictson, the water institute’s coordinator of the program, said trainings 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. A riparian zone is the land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou or river.

Healthy riparian areas protect streams and lakes by protecting stream banks from erosion, slowing down the stormwater velocity and filtering out sediment and pollutants of concern, she said.

“Poor management of the land and riparian areas leads to erosion,” she said. “High amounts of sediment carried by streams have reduced reservoirs’ water storage capacity where the sediment is deposited.”

Dictson said workshop topics will include riparian and watershed management principles, water quality, riparian vegetation, hindrances to healthy riparian areas, stream processes, management practices and discussion of local resources.

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Water Resources Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service, AgriLife Extension and the Tarrant Regional Water District.

“The 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,” Dictson said.

Mark Arnold, AgriLife Extension agent for Ellis County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training.

The workshop offers five 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, 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. It is funded through a Clean Water Act grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, contact Dictson or visit http://texasriparian.org or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

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