July 8, 2005
Dear Arroyo Partners,
First of all, I must thank Richard Moore, outdoor sports writer for The Monitor. On Sunday, June 26, an excellent article written by Mr. Moore titled "Hope for a River in Peril" circulated through the Valley, and beyond. This article generated response and we have more enthusiastic individuals joining our effort to improve the quality of water in the Arroyo Colorado. Thanks Richard! And welcome new members! Attached is a copy of the article in case you missed it. Share it, circulate it, use it to generate support and to help recruit new members.
Well, we have 7 months to complete the Arroyo Watershed Protection Plan. We should think of this as Phase I and remember that this plan will be a "living document" subject to periodic modification on a time scale we deem appropriate. One order of business that we need to finalize is our Steering Committee membership. Our Steering Committee is a 24-member advisory group that is our official representation. This group must be diverse representing the interest of our different stakeholder groups, i.e., farmers, municipalities, recreational users, property owners, the general public, and our federal, state, and local agencies that are charged with protecting our environmental resources.
The following is a list of the fifteen (15) current members and the list of nominees.
Steering Committee Members to Date
Andy Garza - Texas State Soil Water Conservation Board
Chris Rakestraw -Coalition to Save the Arroyo Colorado
Butch Palmer - Port of Harlingen Authority
Mike Weeks - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Ken Jones - Lower Rio Grande Development Council
M. Clair Lee - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Jim Chapman - Sierra Club
John Wallace - Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Neil Haman - Texas Water Development Board
Paul Bergh - CCA / Lower Laguna Madre Foundation
Rick Reyes - International Boundary and Water Commission
Rocky Freund - Nueces River Authority
Tony Reisinger, Jr. - Texas Sea Grant
Ray Prewett - Texas Citrus Mutual
Wayne Halbert - Southmost Soil Water Conservation District
Darrell Gunn - Harlingen Waterworks System
Don Medina - LRGV Storm Water Task Force
Marco Pedraza - McAllen Public Utilities
Carlos Rubinstein - Rio Grande Water Master
Terry Lockamy - Texas Cooperative Extension
Hudson De Yoe - University of Texas Pan American
Alan Moore - Cameron County Drainage District #2
Amado Salinas - Military Highway Water Supply Corporation
Frank Flores - City of Mission
Dr. Kim Jones - Texas A&M Kingsville
Sonya Kaniger - Cameron County Irrigation District #2
Dr. Jude Benavides - University of Texas at Brownsville
Alan Johnson - Texas State Bank
Godfrey Garza Jr. - Hidalgo Soil and Water Conservation District No. 1
There are a few expectations of our Steering Committee and one is attendance to our quarterly meetings. If the Steering Committee member cannot attend, a representative should go in his/her place. Attached are the Arroyo Colorado Steering Committee Ground Rules. Note that "The Committee is also the main vehicle for public participation in the TMDL process and will be instrumental in obtaining local support for actions aimed at restoring surface water quality in the Arroyo Colorado and the Lower Laguna Madre."
My personal expectation of the Steering Committee is to be "steered". We also need a Chairperson for that committee. If you are interested in being on the Steering Committee or chairing our committee, or want to nominate someone, let me know. Please look over this list and give me any comments or nominations. Everyone one in our Arroyo Partnership has a voice in this process and since I do not hear from all that many of you (hint, hint) your voice will be heard. We are required to have an official Steering Committee and we will finalize it our next Steering Committee/Arroyo Partnership meeting on Thursday August 4, 2005 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm. I have not finalized the meeting place but save the date.
For our August meeting we will have, at the minimum, a good outline of our Arroyo WPP and a list of goals and action items that will lead to the improvement of water quality in the Arroyo. If you have any ideas, write me, come to one of our work group meetings, or to our next Steering Committee meeting.
FYI, our first Arroyo Newsletter went out a couple weeks ago and if you did not receive a copy, I do not have your mailing address or correct address. If you would like to receive our mail notifications and newsletters send me your address.
On a final note, we are coming upon "fish kill" season on the Arroyo. Fish kills generally occur during the summer under low flow conditions. If you see an event, immediately call the 24-hour hotline at (281) 842-8100 so our Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel can document and evaluate the event.