Water unites people, wildlife, and landscape. It flows through our bodies and the natural world alike, connecting us and making it possible for life to flourish. In times of dramatic political change, it is soothing to remember that the right to clean, affordable water remains constant.
We can rally around this vital resource and find a path forward that assures everyone (including people, wildlife, and land) has what they need to survive. To me, the work of Texas Stream Team volunteers is an empowered and hopeful act that assures a better future. I want to thank each of you for your efforts. Being a steward is not easy and we greatly appreciate your courage and unyielding belief that we all can, and do, make a difference in our world.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2017 full of inspiration, adventures, and meaningful interactions. Texas Stream Team is not possible without you, and we will continue to support your important efforts in whatever way we can.
Sincerely, Briane Willis
Nature Program Specialist
Texas Stream Team
Photo taken at Spring Lake by Briane Willis
TST STAFF UPDATE
Join us in welcoming Martha Alexander, Meagan Lobban and Michael Jones to the Texas Stream Team staff!
Martha Alexander comes to us with 20 years of grant management experience at the university level and will be working as an administrative assistant to support the TST program, staff and partners
Meagan Lobban will be working as the TST Education & Outreach Specialist beginning this Spring. She has worked for The Meadows Center for 8 years in the Spring Lake education program and has experience as a formal educator.
Michael Jones, a former TST student worker, graduated in December 2016 and has come on board as Assistant Monitoring Coordinator. He was a founding member of the Texas State University Stream Team Chapter, Bobcat Stream Team.
Jenna Walker and Briane Willis will be on maternity leave until mid-May. Please contact us at email@example.com so that our entire staff can work to address your needs as quickly as possible.
25th ANNIVERSARY AWARDS
Please join us in applauding the efforts of our volunteer spotlights: Erin Hill, Delores McCright, and Rachel Sanborn! Each has been an integral Texas Stream Team partner and a vital steward of Texas’ waterways.
Erin Hill received her M.S. in Environmental Science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) in 2001. She is a Research Specialist III with the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and is Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on several research projects focusing on freshwater inflow management and TMDL projects of impaired waters in South Texas.
Erin originally got involved in Texas Watch in the 1990’s. She got involved with TST to help local citizen volunteers see first-hand the importance of good water quality and the benefits for all living things. Her TST involvement now is with community engagement related to the Oso Bay and Oso Creek TMDL and I-Plan process that is currently in development. In summer 2015 TAMUCC students started the Islander Stream Team Club and have been very enthusiastic about their involvement with TST.
Erin feels the most enjoyable and memorable times are taking students in the field and seeing the look on their face of WOW, showing both enthusiasm and curiosity. She believes there is nothing better than being outside!
“The quality of our water is critical to every person, fish, plant, oyster, bay, etc. in this world. One of my many wishes I have is that everyone, every community, and every neighbor does their part to not trash and pollute our water.”
Delores McCright 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 assists new trainees in the NE TX area. She has done many trainings showing 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.
“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 habitat healthy for wildlife.
Rachel Sanborn has a Master’s degree in International Studies and Political Science. She has been a water quality monitor for the San Marcos River Rangers since 1997 and the volunteer coordinator and trainer for the past 13 years. During that time, she has trained over 300 volunteers to act as citizen scientists and monitor water quality at 15 sites along the San Marcos River from Spring Lake to Prairie Lea.
Rachel came to San Marcos for college and soon realized what a gem the river is. She and community members watched development in the area begin to affect water quality. In response, the River Foundation initiated the River Ranger program.
Her children accompanied her monitoring trips and loved it so much they “begged to do the tests.” Rachel thoroughly enjoys working with the local residents and most especially the Texas State students. What she likes most about monitoring is how easy it is do despite the busy-ness of life.
“I hope that we as citizens will fully come to realize that the value of our communities is greatly enhanced by the natural resources around us and for that reason they needed to be protected and cherished. Most people want to do "something" for the river and this provides a real way to do that and protect in over the long term.”
We now offer Texas Stream Team identification cards to our volunteers! Please request an ID card by completing this online form. We will check the TST database and verify your address to send you the card. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have updated our partner designations. These new categories are: Patron Partners, Supporting Partners, Leadership Partners, and Educational Partners.
Our Patron Partners are those that contribute funds as a one-time contribution or as on-going support to maintain program activities and/or any TST activities within their own membership. These contributions may be provided to assist smaller groups, facilitate watershed monitoring efforts, or to fund general Texas Stream Team activities and support such as routine monitoring and training sessions, technical assistance, and education and outreach.
We would like to thank the following Patron Partners: Aerial Viewpoints, Haddad Family, and Yvonne Sanchez.
Thank you all for collaborating with Texas Stream Team!
EDUCATION, OUTREACH, AND EVENTS
We have created a new Google form that partners and organizations can complete to request our involvement with an education or outreach event. This form will help us track requests and better coordinate with partners.
Similarly, we have created a summary form for partners and organizations to complete following an event they attended as a Texas Stream Team representative. This form includes the who, what, where, when, and how questions for an event that will help us track our reach and your valuable support.
Both of these forms are available on our website. By spending just a few minutes filling out these forms, you help us make our processes more efficient. Thank you!
EDUCATION CORNER: TST CURRICULUM
For our new education corner segment, we are turning the spotlight to our very own Texas Stream Team curriculum! These lesson plans are designed for K-12th grade and explore water in a myriad of ways. All aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, these hands-on activities connect students to water quality and quantity. The curriculum is available free to use. Check out the Water Education Curriculum at the bottom of this list:
In August 2016, TST’s staff members Stacey Haddad, Michael Jones, and MCWE intern Dyhanara Rios started a student organization at Texas State University called Bobcat Stream Team. The objectives are to:
Contribute to our community’s understanding of the importance of Texas waterways.
Offer students an outlet to help protect and maintain the health of Texas waterways, including those in the Texas State University and San Marcos community, through water quality monitoring.
Advance student interest by educational outreach about the importance of water resource protection.
Provide students with hands-on professional experience that may further their future careers.
Help students build necessary professional skills such as organization, leadership, teamwork and communication.
They meet monthly, train students to use the water quality monitoring standard kit, perform community service and stewardship, produce a podcast called SplashTalk, and are active on social media. Check out their website here: http://bobcatstreamteam.org
WATER SAVING TIP
Terry Hershey, a vibrant and dedicated advocate of the environment, passed away on Thursday, January 19th at the age of 94. She accomplished much for the Houston community and the state, serving on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and promoting conservation easements. We at The Meadows Center would like to recognize her important work preserving Buffalo Bayou, creating numerous environmental groups, and protecting parks.
Thank you, Terry, for improving the world we share.
TST is happy to offer Texas Stream Team participants a pre-publication discount of the Your Remarkable Riparian Field Guide & Owner’s Manual ($40 including S+H).
The Field Guide includes a Riparian Bull’s Eye Evaluation Tool – a guided observation tool for evaluating riparian areas using ten key indicators to plot riparian health on a target.
A worksheet within the Field Guide allows for the recording of observations using the bull’s-eye tool. Texas Stream Team accepts this supplemental data towards existing and new monitoring sites across the state.
Contact email@example.com to order a copy for you and your favorite river enthusiast! Payment options include credit card and checks payable to the Meadows Center.
HOW TO SET YOUR EXTECH PROBE TO DEFAULT
Greetings, Stream Teamers! Is your ExTech probe giving you trouble while calibrating? If your probe is measuring too high or too low to calibrate to the conductivity standard or pH buffer you are using, then perhaps it’s time to set your probe to a default setting. What that does is it removes any past calibration results and sets your pH or conductivity value to a neutral, non-calibrated setting. Here’s how to do it:
First, take your probe out and set it facing up on a hard surface. Leave the probe off for now.
Next, take two fingers and press and hold down the CAL/RECALL and MODE/HOLD buttons. These two buttons must be held down first before you turn the meter on, otherwise your attempt to set the probe to default mode won’t work.
For your next step, press the ON/OFF button while continuing to hold down the CAL/RECALL and MODE/HOLD buttons. As soon as the meter turns on, let go of all three buttons! If you hold on to the buttons too long, the default notification may not come up.
If you have successfully reset your probe to default mode, the letters “dFlt” will be displayed prominently on your screen, as seen below.
After the default reset is completed, the meter will then display “SELF CAL” as normal. REMINDER: If when performing a default your screen goes straight to “SELF CAL” and no “dFlt” message is displayed, then it was not performed successfully. If that happens, just turn the meter off and repeat the instructions above.
Once you’ve successfully performed a default reset of the probe, you should be able to calibrate to the standard solution or buffer that you desire. If you continue to experience problems doing so, it may be time to change your pH/conductivity module (especially if “RENEW” is flashing on pH mode and any cleaning attempts you’ve made per the TST Probe Kit Upkeep Guide were unsuccessful).
The Houston-Galveston Area Council, the City of Sugar Land, and Keep Sugar Land Beautiful will host a Texas Stream Team Phase I and Phase II Training for new water quality volunteer monitors on Friday, March 3 at Eldridge Park in Sugar Land, Texas. For registration information, please contact Vicki Gist at 281-313-5752. Learn more about the H-GAC Texas Stream Team program online.