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2014-02-06

Water awareness, education series set for Bandera County

By Paul Schattenberg Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

The first in a series of water-related workshops will be held March 21-22 at Mansfield Park Recreational Hall, 2886 Highway 16 North in Bandera.

The two-day event, called the Bandera County Water Awareness Series, will take place from 6 - 9 pm March 21 and from 8 am - 4 pm March 22.
The free workshop is open to anyone interested in water related issues in the Bandera region, said program coordinators. Participants are encouraged to preregister at the Bandera County Water Awareness Series website athttp://agrilife.org/bcwa.
The event is presented through a collaborative effort of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, and the Ranchers and Landowners Association of Texas.
"The workshop is designed to help residents improve and protect their water resources," said Fidel C. Ramirez, president of the Ranchers and Landowners Association of Texas. "Our goal is to provide citizens with a better understanding of how water resources are used and managed in Texas, so they can make informed decisions regarding their own water."
The seminar will include a discussion of surface and groundwater systems, types and sources of water pollution, ways to improve and protect water quality, and conservation strategies.
"Water is becoming an increasingly important issue for Texans," said Sam Womble, AgriLife Extension agent for Bandera County. "In our region, surface and groundwater are paramount. They are sources of water for drinking, municipal supply, agriculture, fishing, recreational activities and wildlife habitat. Due to its importance, this event will be the first of several water-related workshops planned for Bandera."
March 21 activities will include presentations on Texas water law from Real County Judge Garry A. Merritt and local hydrogeologist Feather Wilson, said coordinators. March 22 will be a full day of educational programming, demonstrations and exhibits.
Womble said the educational programming on March 22 is being facilitated by AgriLife Extension's Texas Well Owner Network and Texas Watershed Steward program. Lunch on that day will be provided by the Ranchers and Landowners Association of Texas. Texas Watershed Steward presentation will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on water quality issues relating to the Medina River, including current efforts to help improve and protect water in the area.
Attendees can also expect to learn about groundwater resources in the area through presentations from the Texas Well Owner Network, a program created to aid Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs, he said.
"Well owners who want to become familiar with Texas groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, well maintenance and construction, water quality and water treatment will benefit from this training," said Drew Gholson, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the network.
Gholson said surface and groundwater are connected and the interaction shouldn't be ignored.
"Aquifers may discharge to streams and streams can be a major source of recharge for the aquifer," he said. "Many natural processes and human activities from one source can affect the other."
Gholson said attendees will learn about these interactions and how to employ management practices around their homes, businesses and agricultural lands to help protect rivers, streams, and aquifers in the area for generations to come.
Participants will receive a free handbook and earn continuing education credits or units related to various professional associations or agencies.
"This seminar is a great opportunity to get involved and learn about your local water resources," Gholson said.
For more information, go to the website or contact Womble at 830-796-7755 or ebandera-tx@tamu.edu.
For more information on the Texas Watershed Steward program and Texas Well Owner Network contact Galen Roberts at 979-862-8070,groberts@ag.tamu.edu, or Gholson at 979-845-1461,dgholson@tamu.edu.
The Texas Watershed Steward program and Texas Well Owner Network are funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and US Environmental Protection Agency.