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Western Farmer Stockman

Pecos River Basin Assessment Program moves into implementation phase

The Pecos River Basin Assessment Program has announced the watershed protection plan for the Pecos River in Texas is now complete, printed and ready to be implemented.

A series of public meetings for landowners is scheduled Dec. 1-3. The meetings are meant to familiarize the public with the plan and help eligible landowners learn where to apply for the cost-share funding the program provides, said Gary Bryant, Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and the project's coordinator headquartered at Fort Stockton.

“The watershed protection plan is the culmination of the Pecos River Basin Assessment Program, which began in 2004,” Bryant said. “The objective of the program is to create a long-term, landowner-driven management plan that will restore water quality within the river.

“The watershed protection plan we will be discussing at the upcoming meetings includes a variety of management practices that landowners can voluntarily implement on their property," he said. "The plan also includes the continued delivery of educational programming, informational meetings and ways for landowners to interact with each other and with agency personnel.”

Bryant fills the position formerly held by Will Hatler of Stephenville. Hatler, who was recently promoted to AgriLife Extension program specialist, will continue to work with the project, but Bryant will handle day-to-day management.

Meeting information is as follows:

  • Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-noon, Community Center, Pecos.
  • Dec. 1, 2-5 p.m., Community Center, Imperial.
  • Dec. 2, 2-5 p.m., Texas AgriLife Extension Service office, Ozona.
  • Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-noon, Civic Center, Iraan.

The entire watershed protection plan will be available online at once all the meetings are complete. Local soil and water conservation district offices will also have a limited number of printed copies available.

Bryant said funds have been secured to treat additional saltcedar along the river using aerially applied herbicide and to burn debris left behind from earlier treatment efforts. These two tasks will be carried out at no cost to the landowner, according to Bryant.

The funding also pays for the establishment of 10 saltcedar leaf beetle colonies along the river, educational materials and programs and the development of at least 20 water quality management plans for properties contiguous to the river.

“The funding will also allow us to install a second real-time water quality monitoring station upstream of the U.S. Hwy 67 river crossing near Girvin,” Bryant said.

For more information contact Bryant at 432-336-8585, or contact any AgriLife Extension agent or soil and water conservation district employee in the affected counties.

TAGS: Legislative
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