Arroyo Colorado

October 20, 2014

Hello Arroyo Partners:

The Arroyo Colorado Conservancy hosted the Second Annual “SAVE THE ARROYO” Fiesta on October 9, at the Dargel Boats Showroom in Donna, TX.  The Fiesta was a huge success with approximately 125 people attending the event.  People began showing up at 6 o’clock sharp and filled the showroom by 6:30.  The Fiesta started with Dr. Jude Benavides, Arroyo Colorado Steering Committee Chairman, thanking our sponsors and supporters and giving a presentation on the role that the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership plays in the community and how we can help other organizations achieve their project goals.  We continued by giving out several door prizes generously donated by “Flipside Fishing” and “Hook Line and Sinker” and conducting a “Bucket Auction” and “Silent Auction”.  During the auctions, we had an excellent homemade BB-Q dinner consisting of Brisket, fajitas, sausage, rice and beans.  Everyone was having a great time as we announced the winners of the auction items and you could literally feel the anticipation and excitement building as the time came to draw the winner of the boat.  In the end, the lucky winner was Mary and Julian Bentancourt of La Feria, TX.  Julian only purchased one ticket the day before the Fiesta.  When he bought the ticket, he stopped and said, “I am going to let my wife fill out the ticket stub because I never win anything and she is lucky, she always wins”.   Well Julian was right and now they are the proud owners of a brand new 186 Dargel Skout!  They had Dargel install a “Power Pole”, Shallow water anchor, and picked up the boat Monday morning.  They were so excited.  Mr. Bentancourt had just retired 4 months ago after working for 35 years for the same company.  Congratulations to the Bentancourts!  I hope you enjoy the boat for years to come and enjoy your retirement. 

I want to remind everyone that the ACWP will be holding two of their Work Group meetings in October.

The Arroyo Colorado Habitat Workgroup meeting will be held on October 23, from 2-4 pm at the Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center located at 3301 S. FM 1015.  

The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership will be hosting an Arroyo Colorado Steering Committee meeting on October 23, from 5-7 pm.  Food and refreshments will be served from 4:30-5:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at The Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center located at 3301 S. FM 1015. 

For the 14th consecutive year, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is offering free Soil Tests for agricultural producers in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties.  The Soil Testing Campaign has had various sources of funding over the years, but the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership has been proudly funding the campaign since 2008 through grants provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.  The Soil Testing Campaign began on October 1st, 2014 and will run through the end of February, 2015.

There are a number of benefits that result from the Soil Testing Campaign; not only does it help keep nutrients out of the Arroyo, but it provides agricultural producers an opportunity to save money on fertilizer costs by using residual nutrients already in the soil.  This year we kicked off the Campaign with a Crops Fertility Workshop on October 16th to remind producers of the many benefits of soil testing and encourage them to participate in the Soil Testing Campaign.  The Workshop was attended by 42 producers and there was a very informative presentation by Dr. Mark McFarland, Associate Department Head of Soil and Crop Sciences at TX A&M University.  Dr. McFarland’s research over the past 15 years has proven that the many nutrients needed to produce a successful stand of crops are already present in the soil if we are willing to look for them.  One big take away message was that Nitrogen is a highly soluble nutrient that moves down into the soil profile.  In order to determine the amount of the residual nitrogen in the soil, you need to take your soil sample deeper than previously recommended, between18-24 inches, to give producers a better understanding of the amount of Nitrogen they have to work with.  It’s recommended to take two soil samples; one from the top 6 inches for nutrients that don’t move through the soil profile very much and another deeper sample to capture the nutrients that do move within the soil profile, like nitrogen.

The Soil Testing Campaign offers free soil analysis to agricultural producers in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties.  Soil sample bags and forms can be picked up and dropped off at the following locations:

Cameron County FSA Office
2315 W Expressway 83
San Benito, TX 78586-7633
cameron-tx@tamu.edu

Hidalgo County Office
410 N 13th Ave
Edinburg, TX 78541-3582
(956) 383-1026, hidalgo-tx@tamu.edu

 Willacy County Office
170 N 3rd Street
Raymondville, TX 78580-1940
(956) 689-2412, willacy-tx@tamu.edu

District 12 Office
2401 East Highway 83
Weslaco, TX 78596-8344
(956) 968-5581, d12south@ag.tamu.edu

Test results will be mailed directly to the producer and County Extension Agents are available to help further interpret test results if needed.  We encourage producers to take advantage of this free service that has the potential to save them money and improve the water quality of the Arroyo Colorado.  For more information or questions please contact Ashley Gregory at (956) 968-5581 or at ahgregory@ag.tamu.edu.

Looking ahead,
Jaime Flores