Arroyo Colorado

August 18, 2008

Dear Arroyo Partners,

First of all, we had a full house at the Arroyo Colorado Ecotourism Luncheon held on August 7, 2008, with an impressive number of community leaders in attendance.  Acknowledgement and appreciation goes out to three of our local state representatives who attended the event: State Representatives Veronica Gonzales, Eddie Lucio, III, and Aaron Pena; a representative from the office of State Representative Armando Martinez, and democratic nominee Dr. Tara Rios Ybarra. Special thanks goes out to Valley Walmart stores and the Lower Rio Grande Water Committee for sponsoring the lunch.

The theme of the luncheon was environmental stewardship for fun and profit. As you know, the natural assets of the LRGV attract thousands of visitors and millions of dollars each year.  Given that tourism is the third largest industry in Texas and ecotourism is a significant share of total tourism,  we need to protect and restore our natural environment not only for aesthetic beauty, biodiversity, recreation and a decrease of air and water pollution, but for economics and overall quality of life-people need and are attracted to clean and healthy environments. Thanks for being a part of this partnership and the growing number of Valley stewards.

Speaking of partnership, this is a reminder of two upcoming Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership meetings this week (agendas attached):

Wednesday, August 20-Agricultural Workgroup Meeting, 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Agenda)

Thursday, August 21-Steering Committee/Partnership Meeting, 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Agenda)

Another meeting you may want to attend is the Public Meeting of the Border 2012 Gulf Task Group. The meeting is this Wednesday, August 20, and will be held at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Reynosa, Mexico. See the attached agenda and go to www.epa.gov/Boarder2012/ for more information on this bi-national program focused on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.-Mexico border. Note that Border 2012 provides grant monies for projects on both sides of the border and that priorities and projects will be discussed at this public meeting.

On another note, August 31, 2008, is my last day as watershed coordinator for the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership; however know that I will remain in the Valley and will be an active member of this Partnership.  I have been offered a great opportunity to work with an environmental group specializing in wetlands and the monitoring of wetland systems.  My new position is supported by a private energy firm investing in environmental sustainability and this firm supports a smooth transition by allowing me some time to transfer knowledge gained in this position to the new coordinator.  I am committed to long-term sustainability of this Partnership and water quality improvement of the Arroyo Colorado and will be around to assist the new watershed coordinator. Please let me know if you know of anyone interested in the program coordinator position. The position will be posted on http://greatjobs.tamu.edu by tomorrow (Tuesday), hiring unit Texas Water Resource Institute. We are looking to fill this position ASAP to maintain the momentum. Therefore, please encourage any potential applicants to act quickly.

Finally, attached are exhibitor registration and sponsorship application for the McAllen Green Living Festival to be held October 11, 2008 at the McAllen Convention Center.

I hope to see you at one of this week's meeting,

Laura