Arroyo Colorado

December 2, 2005

Dear Arroyo Partners,

First of all, I want to thank all of you who voted on the design for the cover of the new bilingual brochure! Both designs were very popular and version 1, an aerial photo of the mouth of the Arroyo, won by a narrow margin (26 to 21) over the artistic posterized photo. Since both layouts were so popular, we have asked the designer if he could somehow use both images. He said he would see what he could do and that he could also work with other pictures. So if you have any photos of the Arroyo Colorado which you think would make a good cover design please send them to me within the next two weeks. We could also place these pictures on our website. Thanks again for your participation!

Since I do not have the meeting notes from the November 10, 2005 meeting finalized, I will at least convey a few parts of the notes.

Currently, the TCEQ is looking at the legal standing of watershed protection plans (WPPs). WPPs are a relatively new vehicle for water quality improvement and the TCEQ is evaluating how to incorporate them into their regulatory structure. They could be considered as a state Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) where the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), Implementation Plans (IPs) go, or passed as a resolution which is not legally binding, or could be made a watershed rule which would require a lengthy public comment and legal process. No decisions have been made as these and a few other legal options are considered.

At this point, the Arroyo WPP is a completely voluntary effort. Work continues on the Phase II TMDL study on the tidal segment of the Arroyo to determine how much of the low dissolve problem (DO) problem is due nutrient loading and how much is due to the physical condition of the Arroyo itself. Modeling is expected to be completed by 2007 therefore we are looking at 2008 for the development of a TMDL for the Arroyo. Pollutant loading allocations may not come to pass in terms of adoption if we are making headway in nutrient reductions with this WPP. There is a clause in the CWA which states that if a regulatory mechanism is already in place, then the water body could be placed in a different category in lieu of a TMDL (something like this). The crux of the matter is definition of a "regulatory mechanism" which goes back to the legal standing of the WPPs. I will keep you posted on this issue.

Take notes of the acronyms used because next time I will put it this way; WPPs could be considered WQMPs, where the TMDL, IP goes. :)

Have a great weekend,

Laura

P.S. Next week, December 8, 2005 is the a Habitat Work Group meeting, 6 PM to 9 Pm in the Rio Red Classroom of the TAMUK Citrus Center, Weslaco, Texas. This should be a really good meeting.