Arroyo Colorado

December 18, 2008

Hello Arroyo Partners:

The year is just flying by now.  Six more days 'til Christmas and a week after that it will be the new year.  This has been a historic year, good and bad.  The United States of America is standing at a crossroads facing the biggest challenges our nation has ever faced.  I hope we can stand united and work together to pull ourselves up by our collective bootstraps.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Storm Water Task Force has been busy conducting local school classroom presentations throughout the Valley. The classroom presentations are part of the outreach component of the Task Force's regional storm water management plan (SWMPs) associated with the TCEQ's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) TPDES program.  City Engineers Ponciano Longoria and Martha Viada of the City of Harlingen conducted storm water runoff pollution prevention awareness presentations at Harlingen High and Harlingen South High Schools to approximately 500 students on November 19-20.  Ms. Viada also conducted similar events at the Santa Rosa High School on November 25 in an effort that exemplifies the benefits of the partnerships of the coalition. Santa Rosa City Manager Jose Lopez expressed gratitude to the City of Harlingen's visit to their local school district by recognizing the event at a recent City Council meeting.  Similar presentations were conducted by the City of Alton's Director of Planning David De Leon at Mission High and Mission Veterans High Schools and by City of Weslaco's Director of Public Facilities David Salinas at Weslaco East High School.  A total of over 1,000 high schools students were engaged during these presentations.

Ms. Viada and Mr. Longoria also conducted presentations at a local elementary school.  They were joined at Dr. H. Rodriguez Elementary School on December 10, 2008 by Humberto Almaraz of Toby Globy Eco- Program, and myself representing the Arroyo Coloado Watershed Partnership.  These students saw and participated in presentations about civil engineering, storm drain and waste water infrastructure, and the Arroyo Colorado watershed.  The students particularly enjoyed a water conservation skit program developed by Mr. Almaraz that revolves around a mascot named Toby Globy (www.tobygloby.com).  Mrs. Beulah Rangel's Gifted and Talented Science Class thoroughly enjoyed this program and has invited the guests back to perform a second program.  On December 15, 2008, Javier Guerrero and I conducted presentations to approximately 144 students on the Arroyo Colorado Watershed held at the Rafael Cantu Middle school of the Mission Independent School District located in City of Palmhurst.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville's Javier Guerrero, the LRGV-TPDES Task Force liaison, who coordinates the classroom presentations for the coalition, reports that on December 9, 2008, the City of Santa Rosa was the first member of the Task Force to obtain the TCEQ's approved MS4 TPDES permit.  The Task Force is extremely proud of this accomplishment as they have been working toward this goal since the year 2002.  This permit mandates municipalities to regulate urban storm water runoff and gives the local governments the authority to adopt ordinances and policy to accomplish this requirement.  Mr. Guerrero feels confident that the rest of the cities in the Task Force will be receiving their permits soon, seeing as they all submitted their permit applications at about the same time.

The Estero Llano Grande held a week long Environmental Science Class in conjunction with Weslaco CISD.  Connie Alvior Sinoy, Science Strategist for Middle School Curriculum and Instruction for Weslaco Independent School District, received a grant for an environmental curriculum and these classes were the result.  There were 12 interactive stations were students learned about the Arroyo Colorado watershed, pollution, photosynthesis, wildlife adaptations, types of wildlife, the water cycle and etc,.  They bused in all of the science students from Mary Hoge Jr. High throughout the week.  We estimate about 600 students participated in this outstanding week-long event.

The Arroyo Colorado website has been updated under the "How you can help" page including online subscription to the newsletter or bimonthly update, checking out the model, supporting the partnership thru monetary and other means and becoming a volunteer monitor. If you are interested in any of these and other activities, please visit the website at http://www.arroyocolorado.org/.

There was an Arroyo Colorado Wastewater Infrastructure Workgroup meeting held December 16, 2008.  This meeting was very informative and produced an action list of priorities that are to be addressed by the next meeting.

Here are a few other upcoming events that you may be interested in: December 27 for the second annual McCANALenBurg Classic-Get a jump on your new year's resolution to exercise and spend more time with your family on a community bike ride from 0-to-30 miles along the beautiful Edinburg Main Canal

The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation asked me to share some of their upcoming events as well.  For more information visit www.baysfoundation.org.  Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, 361-882-3439, A Parthernship for Conservation.

  1. CBBF has MOVED to 1231 Agnes, Suite A-4, One Agnes Plaza, Corpus Christi. Our mailing address PO Box 23025, Corpus Christi, TX 78403 has not changed. Our very sincere thanks to all who provided us with assistance, including Jerry Mathieu, our new landlord.
  2. FREE Auto Check Saturday, December 20 at Whataburger Field. Flyer posted on www.baysfoundation.org
  3. Thursday, December 18, 2pm. Nueces County Public Meeting, Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd, Robstown, Commissionors Court is to receive a presentation and discuss County-wide drainage.
  4. Monday, January 12, 2009 - CBBF Coastal Issues Forum: State of the Port. Update on current Port projects by John LaRue, Executive Director, Port of Corpus Christi Authority. Social at 5:30pm, meeting starts at 6pm. Room 1003, Carlos F. Truan Natural Resource Center, TAMUCC, 6300 Ocean Dr.
  5. Harte Research Institute's latest newsletter in now available at http://harteresearchinstitute.org/
  6. Monday, February 9, CBBF Coastal Issues Forum - Focus on local power plants.
Happy Holidays from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation!

Visit www.baysfoundation.org for lots of local information, updates and links.

Winter is here and it feels like it.  We already know the weather forecast-cold front, next day-wind out of the south and then cold front, over and over again.  If the hurricane season was an indicator, it should be a pretty wet winter.  We will see.  I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Looking ahead,

Jaime Flores