Water quality in Texas begins in its watersheds, and the Texas Water Resource Institute, or TWRI, has benefited hundreds of communities around the state by training regional watershed coordinators and other professionals through its Texas Watershed Planning Program.
The TWRI is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
This is the only watershed planning short course in the state, Dr. Lucas Gregory said, and so far more than 300 water professionals, including almost every watershed coordinator in Texas, have attended one of the 10 courses offered over the past decade.
Gregory said the multi-day short course provides guidance on items necessary for an effective plan, stakeholder coordination, education and outreach.
Gregory said over the past 10 years the program also has hosted 19 biannual Texas Watershed Coordinator Roundtables and 31 additional courses designed to increase watershed professionals’ expertise.
He said topics at the watershed trainings included watershed modeling, finding success for science through social media, fundamentals of developing a water quality monitoring plan, and agricultural and urban best management practices for watershed planning.
The Texas Watershed Planning Program is currently funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and EPA. It has received Clean Water Act funding through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in previous years.
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