Arroyo Colorado

January 6, 2006

Dear Arroyo Partners,

Happy New Year! I do not know about you, but 2005 seemed to have flown by. Last year was a good year for watershed planning in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. We got a name for ourselves, The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership and our membership grew from 205 at the end of 2004 to over 370 current members. Our work group leaders and work group members have outline what needs to be done to improve the dissolved oxygen levels in the Arroyo and our consultants are working hard at this time to give us what we need in order to complete our draft plan.

Since the last update, our consultants for the habitat feasibility study received a lot of good feedback and comments on their draft study and they are currently working on addressing those comments. The final report is due to the Habitat Work Group next week and the next work group meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2006. It will be an all day meeting here at the

Citrus Center to review the final document and to refine elements of the habitat component of the plan.

Our consultants for the Education and Outreach Work Group have been busy conducting the one-on-one interviews. On January 5, 2005 we held a work group meeting which included a review of the results from those interviews. A few findings from the interviews are that there are a lot of people passionate about this issue of a cleaner Arroyo, there is a deep love of the

Valley, the Arroyo is embedded in childhood memories, and that there is a hope for even greater ecotourism. Many thanks to those who participated and for those who did not, there may be an opportunity for you to participate in one of the focus group meetings which is the next step in this process of designing the market survey.

A couple of other components of the plan that are coming together include the on-loading and off-loading of products at the Port of Harlingen. The two dry fertilizer handlers provided me with housekeeping and management plans and the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Mill tested their management plan. I will be working with a couple of these groups to refine their plan for inclusion in our greater Arroyo WPP.

I have my work cut out for me to have a good draft by the end of this month and will do my best to complete it. Things usually take longer than expected and I am waiting for documents from a few of the work groups. The good news is that we know what needs to be done and at the next Steering Committee meeting scheduled for evening of January 19, 2006, a list of projects and an

implementation schedule will be presented for discussion and approval.

Thanks for your time and again Happy New Year!

Laura