All watersheds in Texas are threatened by nonpoint sources (NPS) of pollution which are detrimental to the valuable water resources of the state. To help combat this threat, federal and state water resource management agencies have adopted a watershed-scale approach for managing water quality. One vital component of this approach involves engaging local stakeholders to become actively involved in planning and implementing water resource management and protection programs in their watershed. To support this need for stakeholder involvement, the Texas Watershed Steward (TWS) program was initiated to increase citizen understanding of watershed processes and to foster increased local participation in watershed management and watershed protection planning activities.
In the publication titled, Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies nine important elements of effective watershed protection plans. One of the most critical elements focuses on information and education and recognizes the importance of enhancing public understanding and encouraging early and continued participation in the watershed protection planning process. The TWS program will function to provide this vital information/education component and, in addition, will strive to facilitate greater, more effective, and sustained participation of stakeholders in watershed planning, implementation, and management efforts.
Project Goals/Objectives: The purpose of the TSSWCB project 05-05 was to develop and deliver an educational curriculum which functions to support the TSSWCB's effort to prepare a Watershed Protection Plan in the target watershed. TSSWCB project 07-09 will implement the TWS program statewide by conducting watershed-based trainings in selected watersheds, and to further enhance access to the program by developing computer-based distance training tools delivered via web and CD ROM platforms.
Watershed-Based Trainings. The watershed-based trainings will be delivered as 1-day training events and will focus on enhancing understanding of watershed systems, watershed impairments, methods for improving watershed function, and community-driven watershed protection and management. Participants will be educated on the importance of watershed protection activities and will be given the opportunity to participate as stakeholders in WPP and/or TMDL development processes. At the conclusion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of completion recognizing them as Texas Watershed Stewards.AgriLife Extension will work in concert with state and local organizations to select and schedule locations for the watershed-based TWS training events. Priority will be given to agencies and organizations currently involved in WPP or TMDL processes and those planning future watershed efforts Subsequently, additional watersheds will be selected based on impairment status, environmental sensitivity, and/or other priority issues identified by a partner agency or organization.
Project Location: Statewide
Project Costs: Federal ($878,041); Non-Federal Match ($586,335); Total Project ($1,464,376)
Project Participant(s): TSSWCB, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Water Resources Institute, and Texas AgriLife Research
Project Workplan: 07-09
Final Report: 07-09
Past Project Inforamtion: A Community-based Water Quality Curriculum Which Enhances Stakeholder Involvement in Watershed Protection Plan Initiatives: A Pilot Project (TSSWCB Project 05-05)
Final Report: 05-05