Arroyo Colorado

August 17, 2009

Hello Arroyo Partners:

The TCEQ workshop, “The Future of Biosolids Management in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” held at the McAllen Convention Center on July 17 was very well attended. There were speakers from Austin to Monterrey as some of the same methods for biosolids management are being used on both sides of the Border. The workshop provided a venue to share information and lessons learned, which benefited our area cities as they work to improve waste management while protecting water quality.

Following the workshop, the Wastewater Infrastructure Workgroup met at Macaroni Grill to discuss the status of meeting wastewater milestones outlined in the watershed protection plan. This included an update on the number of colonias that has been hooked up to wastewater treatment plants, the number of new and upgraded plants and water reuse numbers.  We also found out that we still need similar information from about 7  cities in the watershed. We are actively working to get this information  to get a complete assessment of the wastewater infrastructure’s  progress on implementing the watershed protection plan.

The Ag issues workgroup met on July 27 at the Rio Red Classroom. Richard  Eyster, Texas Department of Agriculture, updated us on revisions to  surface water quality standards and the recent 6th Circuit Court  decision regarding permit requirements for pesticide use near or over  water. The new proposed water quality standards would provide a tiered  standard for e. coli per the designated use, with the option to change  the designated use following a detailed assessment of the waterbody. Per  the 6th Circuit Court decision, pesticide applicators may now need a  permit to apply pesticides near or over water; currently, the Texas  Department of Agriculture has a two year stay while the agency works to  understand the permit details and determines the most efficient way to  issue the permits.

The Steering Committee meeting held on July 27 focused on  sustainability of the partnership. We are currently reviewing two  options, which ensure the sustainability of the partnership and the  continued efforts to clean up the Arroyo. We will be meeting again soon  to decide which model is best for the partnership.

Finally, I want to update everyone on the Arroyo Colorado Grant  Opportunity Workshop. While it was initially scheduled for August 11 and  12, we moved the date to accommodate some of the speaker’s schedules.  There a lot of State and Federal agencies involved so we are working  with many schedules. We will set a date once we find a time that ensures  enough speakers are available to make the event worthwhile.

The fishing is still great. It is so hot though, that I have only been  going at night.  Live shiner has been doing the trick.

Looking ahead,

Jaime Flores