November 19, 2005
I first want to thank all who participated in the November 8, 2005 Steering Committee meeting and for making it a great success! We also need to thank Alan Johnson and Texas State Bank for sponsoring the food and door prize at this event. As I expressed at the meeting, there is a lot of attention focused on this project and we are prime for making this a success story for Texas. The story is about a diverse group of individual community members who come together, with the assistance of state and federal agencies, to clean-up a polluted water body. Dr. Jude Benavides, our new chairman expressed witness to the diligent work of the work group leaders and reminded us that this is the last step and the first step in this process. It is the last step in completing this first round with still plenty of time for comment and input, and it is the next step in the plan of attack. I am working on the meeting summary notes and will have them for you by the next update.
There were also two work group meeting that second week of November. The
Education and Outreach work group met on November 8 with our new consultants to further the work in the process of developing the market survey. Towards this end, a list of community stakeholders and/or influencers in the region was developed for one-on-one interviews. These interviews will be used to develop materials for the focus group meetings and for the identification of the target audience. These are the steps for the development of a market survey that will ultimately help us create an effective public outreach campaign for improving the quality of water in the Arroyo Colorado. So if you get a phone call from one of our consultants, please give some of your valuable time to assist in this effort.
The Land Use work group met for the second time to identify what this portion of the plan would look like. We are fortunate that Dr. John Jacobs, Director of the Texas Coastal Management Program, will be assisting us. With expectation that the population of Lower Rio Grande Valley will double by the year 2030, it is important to consider what this will look like under the current development patterns and be aware of the alternatives. This component of the plan will be essentially a "tool-box" for alternative growth patterns that will help preserve environmental quality and in general, the quality of life in the Valley.
On a final note, the Habitat Work Group will meet on December 8, 2005, from 6 PM to 9 PM in the Rio Red Classroom of the Citrus Center in Weslaco. Alan Plummer Associates, Inc. will present preliminary designs, estimated load reductions, and the estimated costs of the ten selected strategies for habitat and water quality improvements. They will also present the opportunities and constraints associated with each of the selected strategies. This should be a really good meeting. There will also be a paddle trip from Llano Grande to the Port of Harlingen on Friday December 9, 2005. With enough interest, another trip would be planned for December 6th to float either the upper section of the Arroyo or a boat tour of the coastal section. If you are interested in either of the trips, please contact Kay Jenkins at email@example.com.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving,