Arroyo Colorado

March 1, 2006

Dear Arroyo Partners,

February was way to short of a month. It was full of activity in both the realm of "finalizing" portions of the plan and in taking actions towards implementation. I put finalizing in quotes because we will not have a final draft until the Partnership and Steering Committee have had a chance to review and comment on the integrated plan. Speaking of the plan (the ACWPP), our Habitat work group is diligently working to finalize their write-up while I also await the NPS (nonpoint source pollution) section from the LRGV Storm Water Task Force. I will be working with that group this Friday as part of a seminar series where representatives of the US EPA Region 6, TECQ

Austin, TECQ Region 15, and TxDOT will be presenting and discussing the use of innovative best management practices (BMPs). This will take us a step further towards identifying the most suitable, and supported, BMPs to use in managing and treating urban storm water runoff from our Valley communities.

We are a little behind schedule in getting the final draft out, however good progress is being made towards building and strengthening partnership as we apply for available grants. Through the process of applying for the EPA Region 6 Regional Geographic Initiative grant, we gained the Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization as a partner, strengthen our partnership with the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization, and got a pledge from our other partners stationed at the USDA Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center. They plan to do a special fly over the Arroyo Colorado which will produce aerial colored infra-red photography at a scale of 1:10,000 feet. This photography will be used to determine the extent of the invasive plant species found in our waterways, like the Brazilian Pepper Tree, and the resolution should be good enough to see the extent and location of stream bank erosion so we can identify areas needing most attention. Thanks to Dr. Paul Sebesta, Center Director, and his talented and helpful staff, for their time and resources.

We had two productive work group meetings within the last couple of weeks.

The Wastewater Infrastructure and Agricultural Issues Work Groups met to get "final" input and comments in order finalize their portion of the plan. For those work group members who did not make the meetings, know that you will receive a copy of the respective document via email for your review and comment. Comments will be received until the next Steering Committee meeting now scheduled for April 27, 2006.

Note that there are many grants out there right now and attached is another we can apply for. We are in good position with our watershed planning effort so let me know if you and your organization are interested in taking the lead to start the application process. In the meantime, I am working with our work group leaders to get this plan out.

Thanks for being part of this effort,

Laura