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Water quality training Feb. 17 to focus on Neches, Sabine Rivers

TYLER, February 15, 2014— A Texas Watershed Steward Workshop on water quality issues related to the Neches and Sabine Rivers will be held from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Feb. 17 , at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Smith County, located in Room 116 of the Smith County Cotton Belt Building, 1517 W. Front St., Tyler.

The no-cost program is open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the Tyler region, said program coordinators, and participants are encouraged to preregister at http://tws.tamu.edu. It is presented by AgriLife Extension and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with Smith County.

“The workshop is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Galen Roberts, AgriLife Extension program specialist and coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward Program.

Roberts said the workshop will include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, but will primarily focus on water quality issues relating to the Neches and Sabine rivers, including current efforts to help improve and protect water in the area.

The training will also include a discussion of watershed systems, types and sources of water pollution, and ways to improve and protect water quality. There also will be a group discussion on community-driven watershed protection and management.

“The Neches and Sabine Rivers are important resources for the area,” said Chad Gulley, AgriLife Extension agent for Smith County. “The rivers are a part of the urban and rural character of this region and are sources of water for municipal supply, agriculture, fishing and recreational activities, as well as wildlife habitat.”

All stakeholders are encouraged to attend the program and to become more engaged in water quality improvement efforts, Gulley said.

Along with the free training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and a certificate of completion. The program also offers four continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, four units for professional engineers and certified planners, and four continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, four for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

“Participating in the Texas Watershed Steward program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed,” Roberts said.

For more information and to preregister, go to http://tws.tamu.edu or contact Galen Roberts at (979) 862-8070, groberts@ag.tamu.edu, or Chad Gulley at 903-590-2980, chgulley@ag.tamu.edu.

The Texas Watershed Steward program is funded through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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