Arroyo Colorado

December 1, 2010

Hello Arroyo Partners:

All of the tropical rain and subsequent releases of floodwater from the Falcon and Amistad dams seems to have happened a long time ago.  The Rio Grande Valley has not received any substantial rainfall for a couple of months and the ground is parched.  There is plenty of water in the reservoirs for now but the lack of rain is a reminder of how quickly a region can slip back into a drought.

The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership has been airing two Public Service Announcements on the local television stations for the past month.  The PSA's were developed to educate the public about the Arroyo Colorado and the multiple ways we use it on a daily basis.  One of the PSA's is directed toward Farmers and Ag Producers in the Arroyo Colorado Watershed in an effort to inform them about the TSSWCB soil testing campaign and remind them to get their soil tested.  The seconds one deals with urban stormwater runoff pollution and it's effects on the Arroyo and the LLM.  The PSA's were funded by a grant from the GLO.

The Storm Water Task Force, TAMUK , UTB and the ACWP are hard at work in preparation of the implementation of  Phase 1 of the Low Impact Development Grant.  The team is currently finalizing budgets and designs of all projects with construction slated to start next year.

I want to remind everyone that the IBWC will be holding a public meeting of the Lower Rio Grande Citizens Forum on Thursday, December 9, 2010 from 4-6 pm at the USIBWC Conference room located at 325 Golf Course Rd., Mercedes, TX.

This past Monday I took a scouting trip of the Arroyo Colorado from Adolph Thomae Co. Park in Arroyo City to the wastewater outfall in the Harlingen City Limits with Aaron Reed, Director of the Texas Snook Alliance and Efren Salazar.  I had not been "up" the Arroyo in years.  It was just the way I remember it; beautiful, vibrant and teeming with life.   There was mullet and shad everywhere.  In fact, there was several Kamikaze mullet that would leap into the boat.  Aaron got hit twice in the knees, and Efren got a shot to the shoulder. We observed several Osprey hunting, several kiskadee flycatchers, two green kingfishers, two belted kingfishers and three ringed kingfishers. We also saw numerous blue herons a couple of green herons, brown pelicans, two owls, seagulls, solitary sandpipers and a bunch of other wading birds.  Once we made it past the Port of Harlingen, I was able to observe the effects on the Arroyo of all of the floodwater that were released earlier this year.  There was extreme cases of erosion along the steepest banks, continued erosion of cut banks and progradation of point bars and large amounts of silt deposited along the banks.  There was also a lot of trash trapped in the branches of trees 20 and 30 feet high, a reminder of how high the water was during the peak releases.  We made it to the Harlingen WWTP outfall around 6:00 pm, just in time to see a Harlingen WWTP operator drive up to the outfall to collect a sample of the effluent.  He drove off and we turned around and headed back to Arroyo City as dusk turned into night.  This was hours before a cold was to blow through the Valley and every dock along the Arroyo from Rio Hondo to Arroyo City had the fishing lights on and anglers casting speck rigs to hungry schools of trout.  We even managed to catch a few ourselves, including 3 fat, 16"-17" "schoolies".  Aaron recently wrote an article that was published in Lone Star Outdoor news.


Looking ahead,
Jaime J Flores