Lower Cibolo Watershed protection meeting Jan. 27 in Panna Maria

Protecting and enhancing the water quality of the Lower Cibolo Watershed will be the focus of a free, one-day public workshop to be conducted by the Texas Watershed Steward program from 8a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 27 in Panna Maria.

The workshop will be held at the Panna Maria Dining Hall, 13912 N. Farm-to-Market 81, said program coordinators.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is an initiative of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, said Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist and workshop coordinator based in College Station.

The workshop is being coordinated with the San Antonio River Authority, or SARA, and is being funded through a clean Water Act §319(h) nonpoint source grant from the TSSWCB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The workshop training is part of a statewide educational program designed to improve the quality of Texas water resources by educating and informing local citizens about their local watershed, potential impairments and steps that can be taken to help improve and maintain local water quality," Dictson said.

This and similar workshops are held statewide to help residents in watershed areas improve and protect their water resources by getting involved in local watershed protection and management activities, she said.

"The Lower Cibolo, located in Karnes and Wilson counties, extends some 71 miles before emptying into the San Antonio River," she said. "The watershed area is widely used for fishing and other types of recreation, and provides valuable habitat for many types of aquatic animals. But land-use changes and other impacts have created water quality concerns for the area."

Dictson said the training on Jan. 27 will be an opportunity for watershed residents to be part of a statewide effort to protect the state's limited water resources.

"The program will include information in watershed systems, water quality regulation and monitoring, methods to improve water quality, and direction on community-driven watershed protection and management," she said.

Dictson added that the workshop also provides the basic knowledge and tools needed to form a watershed action group, participate in and organize local watershed activities, and become more involved in protecting and enhancing water resources.

Workshop attendees will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward curriculum handbook, a T-shirt, water bottle and a certificate of completion.

The program offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, seven units for professional engineers and planners, and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

Pre-registration is required for participation. For more information and to pre-register, visit the Texas Watershed Steward website at http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Dictson at 979-575-4424 or ndictson@ag.tamu.edu.

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