Arroyo Colorado

February 17, 2015

Hello Arroyo Partners:

A cold front blew into the Rio Grande Valley yesterday that dropped the temperature from 86 degrees down into the low 40’s.  It is cold but nowhere near the temperatures that most of the country is enduring.  I am glad to live in South Texas.

I want to remind everyone that the ACWP will be holding three of their Work Group meetings this coming Thursday.

The Agriculture Issues Workgroup meeting will be held on February 19, from 9-11 am at the Cameron County Annex located at1390 West Expressway 83 in San Benito.

The Arroyo Colorado Habitat Workgroup meeting will be held on February 19, 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 February 19, 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. 

The Habitat and SC meetings will be held at Pauraque Hall in the rear of the park.

We will be discussing the latest draft of Update of the ACWPP and the projects and BMP’s that will be included in the Update.  We will use your stakeholder input to help guide and develop the Update to ensure that we produce a sound, watershed based plan that will ultimately result in improved water quality for the Arroyo Colorado and Lower Laguna Madre.  I hope to see y’all there.

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming events:

- Ocelot Conservation Days in the Rio Grande Valley March 6 &7, 2015.  Join the US Fish and Wildlife Service in celebrating the beautiful ocelot of the Rio Grande Valley!  A live ocelot will be featured in several public events the first week of March.

A seminar style, free event will be held at the University of Texas Pan American Ballroom in Edinburg on March 6 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  This event is geared toward an adult audience and will feature several speakers who will address ocelots and the issues they face.  The Texas Department of Transportation will discuss transportation and wildlife crossings.  Dr. Michael Tewes, Regents Professor and Research Scientist at Texas A & M Kingsville, will discuss his work with ocelots in Willacy County.  Dr. Hilary Swarts, Wildlife Biologist at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, will discuss the status of and issues facing ocelots in Cameron County. The event will culminate with an appearance of a live ocelot and it’s trainers from the Cincinnati Zoo.

On the evening of March 6, the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge will hold their annual Ocelot Soiree from 6 – 9 pm at the Casa Mariposa on South Padre Island.  Activities include music, heavy appetizers, drinks, a live auction of ocelot inspired art, exhibits and a presentation about ocelots by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The live ocelot will also make an appearance.  Tickets are available by contacting the Friends Group at 956-832-3905.

March 7 is Cameron County’s official “Ocelot Conservation Day”.  An event for families will be offered March 7, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at the South Texas Discovery Center at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.  Fun activities for kids include face-painting and making ocelot masks and magnets. There will be a variety of information tables and exhibits featuring ocelot conservation.  Live ocelot shows will be presented throughout the day. The entire event is free; however, Zoo admission costs apply ($2 off for adults). 

- The LRGV-TPDES Storm Water Task Force will be hosting their 17th Annual Lower Rio Grande Valley Storm Water Runoff Management and Planning Conference May 19-23 at the La Isla Grand Resort, SPI, TX. This conference will introduce current issues related to Coastal NPS topics, Urban stormwater, Water Quality, Water Reuse, Water Conservation, BMPs, Research Topics, Rural NPS topics, OSSF, Wetlands, LID, Small City BMPs, RESTORE, and TPDES

Due to all of the rain that the Rio Grande Valley received the last couple of months, the soil testing campaign has been extended until the end of March to give everyone enough time to get into their fields to collect their samples.  Please take advantage of the extra time and get your soil tested.  

The Rio Grande Valley Livestock show is a month away.  FFA and 4-H members across the Valley are preparing their projects for the big show.  These kids can’t do it alone, so I want to thank all of the parents, club leaders, teachers, county extension agents and volunteers that devote their time to helping and teaching these kids how to raise or create their respective projects.  These kids will learn valuable life lessons and walk away with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.  Good luck to all of the exhibitors!

Looking ahead,
Jaime Flores, P.G.