August 31, 2007
Dear Arroyo Partners,
First of all, a couple of work group meetings are being planned for September. There will be an Outreach and Education Work Group meeting in Weslaco on Tuesday September 11th from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. The main topic of discussion will be redevelopment of the Coastal Management Program grant proposals based on the comments received from the General Land Office. We will also discuss a new TCEQ project to distribute existing successful program materials in impaired watersheds. One successful program is the Grow Green program that was developed by the Texas Cooperative Extension in cooperation with the Watershed Protection Development Review department of the City of Austin. This is good information about lawn care, landscaping, pests and products. You will be hearing more about this.
Another meeting being scheduled is the Wastewater Infrastructure Work Group meeting for Thursday September 20, 2007 from 10:00 am to noon. Work Group members, please save the date. It will be held in the Rio Red Classroom of the Texas A&M Kingsville Citrus Center. The main purpose of the meeting is to gather information on the efforts of the different cities and public utilities in regards to wastewater infrastructure improvement projects. Roger Miranda of the TCEQ will be on hand to provide a general overview of the plan and plan strategies as related to wastewater, permit issues, and monitoring. Roger has been the work group leader for this group but now has commitments in other watersheds and can no longer participate in this capacity. We are currently taking nominations for a new Wastewater Infrastructure Group Leader and will also be discussing this at the meeting.
On a final note, the drafting of comments regarding the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact State (PESI) for the USIBWC Rio Grande Flood Control Project spurred good discussions between members of our Steering Committee in regards to one of our challenges of balancing competing uses: flood control, water quality, and habitat preservation. No one debates the need to maintain the capacity of the floodway system but we are asking that water quality be considered. How do we maximize flood water conveyance while improving the ability of the stream to remove pollutants?
With the approval of our Steering Committee, I made some general statements at the public hearing this past Monday. I informed the USIBWC that the Arroyo Partnership plans to submit formal written comments (due September 24, 2007) regarding this Draft PESI and that they will be along the lines of the need to address water quality with consideration of the added potential of creating environmental, recreational, and economic opportunities. This is in line with one of the USIBWC stated goals that include water use, quality, conservation, and multipurpose utilization of the projects in support of local and regional initiatives for recreational use or environmental improvement. Again, our Steering Committee (SC) acknowledges USIBWC's mandate for flood protection, boundary stabilization, and water delivery as priority. I will be working with the SC over the next couple of week to develop our statement.
Have a good weekend and safe Labor Day,