Arroyo Colorado

June 23, 2006

Dear Arroyo Colorado Partners,

First of all, we are invited to attend an 8-hour professional development seminar titled "Restoration and Management of Riparian (of or on a riverbank) Corridors" scheduled for Wednesday, August 2, 2006, at Texas A&M International University, in Laredo, Texas. It is sponsored by the Interagency North Texas Stream Team which is a non-advocacy interdisciplinary group of federal, state, and regional government volunteers and is free of charge. See attachment for more information and the proposed agenda.

As stated in the last update, our consultants produced a very informative and insightful final education and outreach report summarizing the results of the one-on-one interviews, the focus group meetings, and the telephone market survey, with recommendations for the long-term plan to build awareness and stewardship of Arroyo Colorado and Laguna Madre. The strategies recommended include:

  1. Brand the Initiative
  2. Offer Basic Facts About the Arroyo Colorado
  3. Raise Awareness and Increase Communal Involvement in the Arroyo Colorado Partnership Initiative
  4. Develop Partnership Agreements for Message Distribution
  5. Create Micro-Campaigns for Specific Target Audiences
  6. Institutionalize a Practice of Ongoing Campaign Evaluation
We have branded the initiative (thanks to your input), have begun offering basic facts about the Arroyo Colorado (meetings, presentations, and brochures), and have begun to raise awareness of the water quality issues associated with the Arroyo Colorado and our initiative. The outreach component of the plan will include the next steps in the process of awareness building which includes television public service announcements, the development of the micro-campaigns, watershed signage, and campaign evaluations.

Earlier this week, we also submitted a pre-proposal/nomination for the funding of a study to specifically identify the best site and engineering for the construction of a regional wetland system. We applied for the State of Texas Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) funds. These funds only apply to coastal counties and we need to thank the Judge of Cameron County, Gilberto Hinojosa, and the Commissioners of Cameron County for pledged dedication of a portion of their county CIAP funds to support this project. Additional thanks (too many to list right now) needs to be extended to many local partners (you know who you are) for their pledged support.

Although the final first draft of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan is not out, there are significant movements towards implementing the top recommendations proposed by the Agricultural Issues, Wastewater Infrastructure, Habitat Restoration, and Education and Outreach Work Groups. As stated in the last update, Steering Committee members and Partners present at the May 25, 2006 meeting, participated in an effort to prioritize the recommended projects. Again, constructed wetlands for individual flows from wastewater treatment plants and regional storm runoff flows from agriculture and urban areas tied as top priority. We need to thank the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality TMDL Section and EPA Region 6, for their desire and work towards the possible funding the proposed individual wetland treatment systems.

I will keep you posted,

Laura