The Texas Watershed Steward Program will host a free workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at the Lions Club building located on 500 North Railroad Avenue in Pflugerville. The workshop, sponsored by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will provide participants information and training on watershed systems, water quality regulations and monitoring, methods to improve water quality, and community-driven watershed protection and management initiatives.

Gilleland Creek, which has a 76 square mile watershed in Travis County, flows from its headwaters north of Pflugerville past Manor to its confluence with the Colorado River east of Austin. This creek is impaired due to high levels of bacteria and does not support contact recreation. High levels of bacteria can indicate fecal contamination and the presence of pathogenic organisms that can cause disease in humans and animals.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality adopted a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for bacteria in Gilleland Creek last summer. A TMDL is like a budget for the Creek; it quantifies the maximum amount of bacteria that can be in the Creek and still meet water quality standards. The Lower Colorado River Authority is facilitating a group of stakeholders who are currently developing an implementation plan to improve the water quality in Gilleland Creek and achieve the environmental target of the TMDL.

“The Watershed Steward workshop on March 25th provides an excellent opportunity for people to become involved in the process and to help make decisions about how to clean up the Creek,” said Jennifer Peterson, AgriLife Extension program specialist.

Along with instruction and training, workshop participants will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Curriculum Handbook and a certificate of completion. In addition, the program will provide a total of seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator license holders.

Participants can register online at http://tws.tamu.edu or find more information at http://www.tsswcb.state.tx.us/managementprogram/txwsp. For more information, please contact Jennifer Peterson with AgriLife Extension at 979-862-8072 or jlpeterson@ag.tamu.edu or Pamela Casebolt with TSSWCB at 254-773-2250 ext. 247 or pcasebolt@tsswcb.state.tx.us.