April 15, 2005
Cheers to the good turn-out we had at yesterday's meetings! Before I give some highlights, I thank the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce for providing refreshments at our evening Steering Committee Meeting. I also thank Randall Rush of the EPA Region 6 for the three days he spent in our watershed becoming familiar with our specific watershed and for his assistance in our meetings.
The following are brief highlights of all three meetings. Note that more detailed meeting summary notes will be available at a later date and will be posted on our website. Speaking of meeting summary notes, attached are the notes from our last Steering Committee meeting held in December 2004.
Yesterday morning the Agricultural Issues work group met with a focus on the status and timeline for the agricultural component of the Arroyo Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). Three project proposal that were submitted for Federal 319 funds were presented and discussed along with elements of the plan that are required in order to receive federal funding. Deadlines were sent with the goal of having a draft agricultural component of the plan available for review by the end of October.
The Habitat work group met in the afternoon. Part of the meeting included a presentation on lessons learned from a successful constructed wetland that was presented at the Valley Water Summit and which was deemed applicable to our watershed. This work group divided into sub-work groups so to begin designing constructed wetland models for the different types of wetlands that would be suitable for our different needs, i.e., a polishing pond for wastewater, a wetland system to handle agricultural runoff, a wetland system for handling runoff from roads, etc... We are fortunate to have this group scientists and plant enthusiasts working on these models!
The final meeting of the day was the quarterly Steering Committee meeting. During that meeting we voted to formally accept our new name, the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership. Again, this partnership consists of the 24 member Steering Committee, the six work groups, and members at large. After the group leaders presented updates on the work group activities, the remainder of the meeting focused on the following nine elements that will be included in our plan:
- Causes and Sources of Pollution to the Arroyo Colorado
- Estimated Load Reductions
- Criteria for Verifying and Assessing Load Reductions
- Water Quality Monitoring Component
- Detailed description of the Non-point Source Management Measures
- Estimated Amount of Technical and Financial Assistance Required
- Information and Education Component
- Schedule of Implementation
- Description of Milestones
Our membership is diverse and individuals are volunteering to take active roles in this process. We can always use more help. I know who many of you are and I will not be shy in asking for your expertise.
Again, thanks to everyone who attended yesterday's meetings and to those who could not attend but are keeping up with our progress!
Enjoy this fine weather,