Arroyo Colorado: Watershed Partnership updates protection plan

BY ROD SANTA ANA III

WESLACO — The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership will be hosting a steering committee meeting Thursday to discuss the latest draft of the update to the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan, according to Jaime Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program coordinator for the Texas Water Resources Institute in Weslaco.

The meeting is set for 5-7 p.m. in Pauraque Hall at the Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center, 3301 S. Farm-to-Market Road 1015 in Weslaco.

“The draft update to the watershed protection plan is really coming together,” said Flores, who coordinates planning and implementation for the watershed.

“We need continued stakeholder feedback to guide the development of the plan. Their input is extremely important.”

Flores said the watershed plan update reflects the progress made within the watershed, addresses new issues and sets new goals.

“The current plan was written in 2006 with guidance measures to carry through 2015, but that was only the first phase of a long-term plan,” Flores said.

“While progress has been made in both urban and agricultural areas to reduce pollutant loads, we still have not reached our goal of removing the Arroyo Colorado from the list of impaired waterbodies. The updated plan will begin the next phase of efforts to improve the quality of water in the Arroyo Colorado.”

Flores said anyone interested in receiving the draft update may email him at jjflores@ag.tamu.edu and he will forward a copy.

“Although this draft is not complete and placeholders are included throughout specifying where additional information will be inserted, we encourage stakeholders to add comments and suggestions using track changes,” he said.

“We especially need stakeholder feedback on Chapter 6, Watershed Goals, and Chapter 7, Management Measures.”

The Texas Water Resources Institute, located in College Station, is a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The partnership is administered by the institute in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.

Rod Santa Ana III is a Texas A&M AgriLife communications specialist.