Arroyo Colorado

January 29, 2007

Dear Arroyo Partners,

Tomorrow is a big day for the Arroyo Colorado. There will be a Habitat Work Group meeting beginning at 3 PM and a Steering Committee meeting beginning at 5 PM, both in the Rio Red Classroom of the TAMUK Citrus Center in Weslaco. The BIG event of the day will be the "Pachanga for the Arroyo Colorado". It begins at 10:30 AM in the Legislative Chamber of the Weslaco Municipal Building and is an event to celebrate the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Plan and all of the individuals who have worked to develop and produce the plan. Over 120 individuals have RSVP's and we look forward to this celebration and the distribution of the first hardbound copies of the plan. Yes, they are back from the printers and are available to you Arroyo Partners. Again, you can view and download the plan and all its supporting documents at www.arroyocolorado.org.

This is an historical event, the first completed watershed plan for Texas addressing the 9 elements required for federal funding. We acknowledge this plan as "Phase I" knowing that it will evolve over time. As we get further down the road of plan implementation, we will use adaptive management; review what we are doing, how effective it is, and adjust accordingly.

One of our next steps is to create an organizational structure for plan implementation. The bases of this structure are the existing work groups. In future work group meetings, we will be forming teams for specific implementation measures. Basically, these teams will be developing scopes of work for grant funding. Fortunately, we are starting out this year with 4 cities awarded grants to implement enhanced treatment facilities to remove nutrients from storm water runoff and part of their treated wastewater, and another grant has been awarded to TAMU Texas Water Resource Institute, TAES, and TAMUK to better assess agriculture's contribution to Arroyo nutrient loading. These efforts are on top of the ongoing work of the USDA NRCS, the TSSWCB, and our County Ag Agents who are working with our farmers to implement best management practices.

Our plan also calls for continued outreach and education to make more Valley residents aware of the issues associated with the Arroyo Colorado and how we all can do our parts in improving our environment and economic health of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Partners say with us. If you cannot take time from you day for the celebration come to our Steering Committee to get the updates. This is another exciting beginning and we will keep you posted on how you can assist in this movement towards a cleaner Arroyo Colorado.

Hope to see you tomorrow,

Laura