A recent survey conducted by the University of North Texas in 14 counties within the Upper Trinity River watershed revealed that 92 percent of citizens do not know they live in a watershed. Forty-four percent of respondents said they are extremely concerned about water pollution, and over 70 percent still blame industrial wastes (point sources) as the major causes for pollution. The survey also revealed that nearly 40 percent of citizens hold county and city governments most responsible for maintaining water quality. Concern for environmental issues is high across the region including 46 percent of residents who are extremely concerned about the loss of agricultural land to development in the region where they live.
Continued population growth combined with the lack of public awareness and understanding for NPS pollution in the Upper Trinity River watershed is one reason why the EPA, the TSSWCB, CBS KTVT-11, StormCenter, Inc., and the North Central Texas Council of Governments formed an unprecedented partnership that is working to improve the way North Central Texans view and understand their local watersheds.
The Environmental Quality of Life, or e-Life, project is intended to increase awareness about local environmental issues, and individual, voluntary measures that the public can take to protect Upper Trinity River watershed resources. This project provides the distribution and communication mechanism to effectively and efficiently deliver environmental information to nearly 2.3 million TV viewing households in 31 counties via the news and weather reports. The featured components of this project include on-air broadcasting of environmental stories and pollution prevention tips, and a specialized web site providing in-depth information about the Upper Trinity River watersheds.
The website focuses on 10 Upper Trinity River subwatersheds, providing citizens with a direct link to information about their watershed. The site also includes features on a variety of other weather- and climate-specific topics, including drought, flooding, wildfires and more. The content for the website is being provided by local stakeholders consisting of municipalities, federal and state agencies, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, water districts, universities, and environmental education and non-profit groups that operate in the project area. Over 44 individuals representing 25 entities operating in the region are currently participating as information contributors, or Local Content Providers.
The e-Life project is modeled after the successful Envirocast® effort anchored by the EPA and supported by StormCenter, Inc. The first Envirocast® was originally implemented in Washington, D.C. In the North Central Texas area, e-Life made its public debut on April 20, 2006.
Project Goals/Objectives: Create on-line and on-the air news stories about North Central Texas watersheds to publicize and generate public interest in obtaining watershed information and to raise public participation at local events aimed at providing community based information and activities on NPS pollution prevention.
Project Location: Upper Trinity River Watershed
Project Costs: Federal ($662,785); Non Federal Match ($883,000); Total Project: ($1,545,785)
Project Participant(s): TSSWCB and North Central Texas Council of Governments
Project Final Report: 06-06