August 10, 2005
Dear Arroyo Partners,
Good progress is happening in our effort to form partnerships and produce a community-based plan to improve the quality of water in the Arroyo. The following is a brief description of some of the significant events of the last couple of weeks.
We now have a truly beautiful draft curriculum for Valley teachers titled "Restore our Watersheds: Arroyo Colorado Watershed Curriculum." Many thanks to Ginette Garcia of IMAS and the McAllen PUB. The draft is under review and when finalized we have a commitment from the IBWC's El Paso office to produce copies for training and distribution.
We received three responses to our request for qualifications to help promote our Arroyo WPP and to conduct a market survey. A task group formed from the O&E work group will review the submittal with the goal of having a firm selected by mid-September.
A consultant, Alan Plummer Associates, Inc, has been selected for the feasibility study for habitat restoration/modification to improve the quality of water in the Arroyo Colorado. The Habitat Work Group met to review and confirm the project approach. Alan Plummer Associates, Inc has pulled together a strong team to conduct this work and we welcome them to our effort.
We were unable to retain the grant funding that was targeted for Texas A&M Kingsville due to the departure of their principal investigator. The good news is that this event has brought together many talented researchers. Discussions have begun on the development of a more comprehensive plan to evaluate and monitor agriculture's contribution to the loading of nutrients to the Arroyo.
At the Steering Committee meeting, we outlined the basic plan to improve the quality of water in the Arroyo. The following measures have been identified as feasible and form the basis of our plan:
*Assist four wastewater treatment (WWT) facilities in meeting stricter effluent limits. *Construct wetlands for the WWT facilities. *Assist the creation of new WWT facilities for two cities. *Decrease non-point source pollution from Colonias. *Work with the Storm Water Task Force to promote non-point source management measures. *Target outreach and education. *Increase agriculture acreage under water quality management plans. *Promote agricultural infrastructure improvements. *Improve habitat along the Arroyo and create wetlands. *Improve management of identified nutrient sources. *Re-use wastewater keeping in mind balancing in-stream flows. *Help get out the word on available resources.
There is more I need to convey as we have taken steps to solidify our Steering Committee membership and I will do so in my next update. FYI, your watershed coordinator will be on leave starting this afternoon through the end of next week. I will return ready to get "pen to paper" as we focus on drafting this plan.
Hope you are having a great summer, Laura