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Texas Stream Team Winter 2015 Newsletter

Prepared in cooperation with The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality & the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hello Texas Stream Team,

 

It has been a year of transition and adjustment for many. This fall has been no different for Texas Stream Team. Travis Tidwell, our trainer/educator/organizer extraordinaire, began working for Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Kills and Spills Team in October. His departure is bittersweet. We are sad to see him go, but are thrilled that he has the opportunity to do work he’s so passionate about. We wish him all the best on this new (and presumably odorous) adventure!

Following Travis’ departure, Texas Stream Team has made some changes. Jenna Walker, our new Program Coordinator, will be assisting with program development, partner relations, reporting, and trainings. Will Butler is our GIS & Research Associate and the main contact for any technical questions, monitoring issues, and supply requests. Laura Parchman remains as the Data Management Associate. Meredith Miller continues to guide TST’s ship courageously onward. I am Briane Willis and I will be doing much of the education and outreach for TST.

From flash floods to a flash drought, 2015 will probably be quite memorable for those involved with water resources. Each experience reminds us that nothing stays the same for long (especially rivers), and that readjustment to new things can take time. I hope all of you take extra care as we move into the winter season, which a strong El Nino weather pattern is forecast to influence.
 
Texas Stream Team thanks you for being such vital stewards of our water resources.­­ May all of you stay safe and have fun on the water!


Briane Willis
Nature Program Specialist
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

The Meadows Center during the Halloween floods on Oct. 31, 2015.
Spring Lake recovering beautifully from aftermath of floods on Nov. 20, 2015.
Be Aquifer Smart- Do Your Part
by Briane Willis

The Edwards Aquifer Authority recently recognized The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment for its efforts to protect our waterways! Texas Stream Team and Spring Lake Education Center collaborated to implement water conservation and water quality protection methods on site through our rainwater harvesting, rain garden and native and xeriscaped demonstration gardens. We provide resources guides for anyone interested in doing their part to be Aquifer Smart. Explore our gardens to learn about nonpoint source pollution, wildlife habitat, native plants, and pollinator-friendly vegetation.

Texas Stream Team Updating Core Water Quality Kits
By Will Butler

Over the next year, Texas Stream Team will slowly transition from using our traditional LaMotte “Core” Water Quality Monitoring Kits for citizen science monitoring to a newer, easier to use ExTech ExStik II electronic water quality monitoring kit. Instead of the wide array of chemicals and equipment used in our LaMotte kits, the ExTech electronic kits contain two electronic probes that measure temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. These new “probe” kits can be obtained at a similar cost to the LaMotte kits and will make it quick and easy for Texas Stream Team citizen scientists to monitor multiple sites if they choose to do so.

We will continue to supply and provide support to organizations and citizen scientists that use the LaMotte kit. However, we will also be teaching citizen scientists how to use the ExTech equipment and we will offer training to existing partners and certified citizen scientists interested in learning how to use the electronic probes.

For more information about this equipment, to set up a training on how to use the ExTech probes, or to order more supplies, please contact Will Butler at wb1108@txstate.edu or 512-245-1346.

Water quality monitoring kit
For partner organizations looking to order these kits and replacement supplies, please visit the ExTech website

From there, you can order supplies directly from ExTech or find a distributor who may be able to ship them to you at a lower cost. Let us know if you have any questions or require assistance ordering kits.

Delores McCright- Volunteer Spotlight
By Briane Willis

Delores has been involved with Texas Stream Team almost 25 years, just about 6 months after the original Texas Watch was created. Delores got involved with TST through a teacher friend. Delores explains, “I was looking for a project for the Texarkana College Earth Club that I sponsored, and it proved to be perfect for our environmental learning projects. I fell in love with water monitoring!”

She monitors in Texarkana at the Texarkana College Environmental Studies Center pond, Cowhorn Creek and Swampoodle Creek, as well as Lake Crook in Paris and Lake Pat Mayse in Powderly on a regular basis. Delores conducts trainings and assist new trainees in the NE TX area. She has conducted many trainings demonstrating TST protocol in Bowie, Cass, Red River, Marion and Lamar Counties. After teaching science for 43 years, she is retired but stays busy with TST and Texas Master Naturalist events.

“Learning never gets old! I like TST because I get to go outside and make sure our local waterways are healthy. It makes me feel like I am doing something important for our state and for our future generations. It also provides a great medium to teach those future generations about water quality and taking care of the environment.” Delores is most passionate about water quality and keeping habitats healthy for wildlife.

Become a Certified Trainer
By Jenna Walker
 
We are looking to grow our network of trainers to lead Basic and Advanced trainings across Texas throughout the year.  If you are interested in becoming a certified trainer, please let us know!  We will help you come up with an individual plan to obtain the necessary materials and complete the following 4-step process:

Step 1: Complete the Basic Water Quality Training.
Step 2: Assist a Certified Trainer in a Basic Training.
Step 3: Lead a training with a Certified Trainer’s assistance.
Step 4: Schedule your next training.  We will work with you to make sure that you have all of the supplies that you need to lead the training. 

The same steps apply for the Advanced Training.  Whenever you have a training scheduled, please be sure to notify Texas Stream Team about your plans. 

Texas Stream Team Launches Monofilament Finders

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

 

Texas Stream Team is inviting citizens to help protect Texas waterways and coastlines through The Texas Stream Team Monofilament Finders program.

This program was made possible by the generous support of the Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Care, Conservation, and Research Fund (WCCR). We are excited to involve more citizens in improving water quality and fish and wildlife habitats along the Texas Coast.

Texas Stream Team introduced the Texas Stream Team Monofilament Finders to help remove fishing line from the environment. The program was established after a $14,000 grant from WCCR in October 2014 with the goal of engaging citizens in conserving, protecting and improving fish and wildlife habitat across Texas.

More than two million people fish in Texas annually and sometimes fishing line gets left behind. Monofilament takes 600 years to degrade, and when left in the environment, can be disastrous for coastal wildlife.

Texas Stream Team Monofilament Finders will work towards protecting habitats by engaging with citizen scientists in monofilament education, collection and recycling. Texas Stream Team compiled a map of more than 50 monofilament recycling stations across Texas, complete with free reusable collection bags for volunteers. These locations can be found at the project page, txmonofilament.org.

The removal of trash and monofilament will protect fish and wildlife that are susceptible to entanglement or ingesting trash and debris. By sharing water quality and environmental data about the categories and quantity of line collected, Texas Stream Team will be able to track and determine if particular waterways require additional attention.

Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the Texas Stream Team Monofilament Finders. The next time you see a monofilament fishing line, collect and recycle it at the nearest station. Then visit our website (txmonofilament.org) and let us know about your efforts. Check the website for an informational video and let us know if you’d like to add monofilament collection to your TST monitoring. You can keep track of your efforts right on our updated data sheet.

Spring Lake Welcomes New Rain Barrels

Texas Stream Team recently purchased two rain barrels and invited a Katherine Anne Porter School class to paint them to reflect Spring Lake’s aquatic habitat. These beautiful barrels now show fish, insects, and reptiles found here at Spring Lake. These barrels will collect rainwater to sustain the native demonstration gardens at Spring Lake.

A huge thank you to Sabina Reynolds and her class: Erica Guillen, Gwen Thacker, Olivia Gray, Rio Bruno, Tavia Harrell, Travis Klecka, Daniel Nuenz, Hanyu Li, Dylan Garcia, Jade Carter, and Tony Newhouse. We look forward to partnering with KAPS on future projects!
Texas Stream Team Riparian Worksheet
By Meredith Miller
 
Texas Stream Team is partnering with the Nueces River Authority to expand and print a new edition of the "Your Remarkable Riparian" book. The expanded edition now covers most of Texas and includes the new TST Riparian Monitoring worksheet and a guide to managing riparian areas. Pre-order now for a big discount: http://www.remarkableriparian.org/. TST will be launching the Riparian Monitoring protocol and training soon.
R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act to the Rescue?
By Briane Willis

The San Bernard River is one of the few rivers that empty directly into the Gulf of Mexico. With headwaters near New Ulm, Texas, this spring-fed river flows some 120 miles. Over the past several years, silting has impeded the mouth of the river.

In late September 2015, Brazoria County Commissioners Payne and Linder gave an update on the re-opening of the San Bernard River’s mouth. Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation was contracted to find a permanent solution to the closure of the mouth of the San Bernard River. Four potential options were presented, ranging in cost from $6-86 million. Each project would require maintenance and dredging. The proposed source of funding for the project was the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act, as part of the British Petroleum oil spill settlement. The Texas Portion of the act will be $308 million, which will be shared over 15 years between 16 Texas coastal counties. TCEQ will review the projects seeking funds from the Act in 2016. Funds will be awarded to worthy projects in 2017. It’s possible that the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act could make dredging the San Bernard River possible as early as March 2018. See more at www.sanbernardtx.com.

Photo by Bert Smith
The cut between the fourth Cedar Lake and the Gulf of Mexico. The cut essentially follows the old Cedar Lake Creek channel, the Brazoria/Matagorda County line. The Mouth of the San Bernard is still closed. Taken by Bert Smith Nov.19, 2015.
The Brazos spewing massive amounts of sand into the Gulf, which is travelling to the mouth of the San Bernard. Photo courtesy of Bert Smith.
Anna Huff Named Communications and Community Relations Specialist
By The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
 
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University is pleased to announce the creation of a Communications and Community Relations Specialist position, which will strengthen the connections between the Center, our partners and communities across Texas. Texas State University alumnus Anna Huff has accepted the role.

Huff has been with The Meadows Center for more than three years, serving as a Communications Assistant for one year, and before that as a Research Assistant for two years. She has helped The Meadows Center more than double their social media presence, and has played an integral part in the development of communications operations. Let us know if Anna can help you spread the word!

Tamara Sevier Named Afterschool’s Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders
By The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

Tamara Sevier, program coordinator at Austin Youth River Watch (AYRW) and partner of Texas Stream Team, was 1st out of 22 educators in the nation to be named Afterschool’s Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders awarded by the National AfterSchool Association.

Tamara Sevier, an innovative practitioner in the afterschool STEM education field, exemplifies an environmental steward. The work she does with AYRW involves engaging with the youth and fostering youth voice. Sevier takes advantage of any opportunity to teach, educate and mentor young River Watchers. 

Texas Stream Team Monitoring Summary


Here are some statistics about Texas Stream Team water quality monitoring for 2015.  Remember, if you have datasheets that need to be submitted, you can mail them to:

Texas Stream Team
601 University Dr.
San Marcos, TX 78666

Or you can scan and email a copy to txstreamteam@txstate.edu. Keep up the good work!

*Click here to view the online datasheet and click here to view the Texas Stream Team dataviewer. 

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Water is a hot topic in Texas – and it’s getting hotter. Register for Trib + Water to stay informed. This bi-weekly newsletter is brought to you at no cost by The Meadows Center for the Environment and The Texas Tribune.

Copyright © *2015* *The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment*, All rights reserved.


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