Water stewardship program benefits Texas

Published on Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:45 - Written by By Chad Gulley Extension Agent

Water is essential for life. All living things need water to survive. More than 70 percent of the earth is made up of water. According to the Texas Water Resources Institute, the oceans comprise 97 percent of the earth’s water in the form of saltwater.

The remaining 3 percent is in the form of fresh water. Of this 3 percent, less than 1 percentage of the earth’s water is either in aquifers, wells, rivers or lakes.

The Texas Watershed Stewardship Program promotes healthy watersheds by increasing citizen awareness, understanding, and knowledge about the nature and function of watersheds, potential impairments, and watershed protection strategies to minimize nonpoint source pollution.

Watershed Stewardship means caring for the water, air, and biodiversity in the entire watershed. Water bodies within a watershed can be affected by many types of nonpoint source pollution. Recognizing these sources of pollution and methods for their control and prevention is critical.

The Texas Watershed Steward (TWS) program is a partnership between the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) to provide science-based watershed education to help citizens identify and take actions to address local water quality impairments.

Galen Roberts, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward Program indicates the training is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Tyler region. Roberts said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on water quality issues relating to the Neches and Sabine Rivers, including current efforts to help improve and protect water in the area.

Along with the free training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion.

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

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Texas Watershed Steward program here in Tyler is set for Feb. 17, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 1517 W. Front St., Suite 116, in the Cotton Belt Building. The program will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please pre-register by going to the following website http://tws. tamu.edu/workshops/regis tration/.

Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.