August 31, 2005
Dear Arroyo Partners,
As I alluded to in the last bi-weekly update, we have taken steps to solidify our Steering Committee membership. During our December 2, 2004 Steering Committee meeting we voted to form a task group to fill vacancies on the committee and to re-evaluate this membership to ensure that the group is diverse and representative of all the stakeholder's interest. I solicited nominations via the bi-weekly updates, through our first Arroyo newsletter, and through the last Steering Committee/Partnership quarterly meeting notice that was mailed out. I also solicited nominations for a chairperson as my role as coordinator should be that of coordination and facilitation. I am working to verify interest and commitment from a few of the nominated/approved members that were not at the last Steering Committee meeting. Next update I hope to post the modified Steering Committee list.
I am happy to announce our new Steering Committee chairperson, Dr. Jude Benavides, Assistant Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science of the University of Texas in Brownsville. There were two other nominees with a long track record of participation, Tony Reisinger and Ray Prewett. Mr. Reisinger declined the nomination and nominated Dr. Benavides. I discussed the nominations with Mr. Prewett and a few other steering committee members and it was felt that Dr. Benavides would benefit our efforts. Dr. Benavides was voted in at the last Steering Committee/Partnership meeting held on August 4, 2005. He joins us with a strong desire (and time commitment) to assist us in the drafting of this plan. Dr. Benavides is from the Valley, comes with strong credentials with a background in flood management, and I want to welcome him to our Arroyo partnership. Dr. Benavides main responsibility will be to moderate the Steering Committee meetings. I and the work group leaders will work with him to set the agenda. I will state this once again. Everyone has an equal voice in this process and we welcome comments, suggestions, and help in drafting our Arroyo Watershed Protection Plan.
Save the date of October 19th - 21st, 2005. Our Arroyo Partnership is working with the LRGV Storm Water Task Force, Texas A& M Kingsville, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency in putting on a conference titled "Emerging Technologies for a Sustainable Environment". This conference will address new and emerging technologies for environmental sustainability, and will introduce current issues relating to storm water regulations, non-point source pollution, Arroyo Colorado watershed studies, and available 2005-2006 funding sources. On October 19th there will be an 8 hour continuing education course on TPDES storm water policy, regulations, and enforcement titled "Storm Water Construction/Industrial Qualified Personnel (INV248)". All our cities entities should be interested in taking this EPA funded training event sponsored by the City of Brownsville and taught by TEEX. See the above attachments for more information and registration.
As far as elements of the plan goes, last week Roger Miranda and I met with a couple of additional cities to discuss the feasibility of up-grading their systems and the possible use of decommissioned lagoon system ponds for nutrient removal. We will be working with the city's engineers in determining cost and feasibility. I encourage those who received the draft portion of the wastewater infrastructure component of the plan to submit any corrections or comments to me or Roger Miranda.
We also have a new draft Arroyo agricultural monitoring proposal out for reviewed. This draft proposal is based on a meeting that was held on August 4th to specifically discuss agricultural monitoring needs. This monitoring proposal incorporates important elements of our agricultural component of our plan and will be used to apply for federal 319 grant funding.
More next time,