The Texas Watershed Steward program will host a free workshop on protecting the Lampasas River Watershed in September. The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Lampasas County Farm Bureau, 1973 North U.S. Highway 281, Lampasas.

The program will educate property owners and other area residents on how they can help maintain a healthy watershed, said Jennifer Peterson, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist for water quality.

“Because we all live in a watershed, things we do at home and where we work and play can affect water quality and the health of our watershed,” Peterson said. “In Texas alone, nearly 92 percent of the streams, rivers and lakes are affected by some form of water pollution.

“Protecting water quality begins with you and those in your community,” she said. “And there is help to get started.”

The watershed drains into the Lampasas River, a 75-mile stretch of water that flows to Stillhouse Hollow Lake, a reservoir southwest of Belton. The river continues for a short distance after the lake before converging with the Leon River to form the Little River, Peterson said. In addition to providing drinking water, the Lampasas River is widely used for fishing and other recreational activities. It also provides habitat for animals and aquatic plants.

AgriLife Extension, Texas AgriLife Research, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and local residents and property owners have been working on a plan to improve water quality in the watershed, she said. The upcoming program provides training and an opportunity for others to get involved.

Participants will be given a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Curriculum Handbook, a certificate of completion, and gifts and prizes, Peterson said.

In addition, the program will provide continuing education hours, including the following:

- Seven credits recognized by the American Institute of Certified Planners for certified planners.

- Seven credits recognized by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers for engineers.

- Seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors.

- Seven State Board for Educator Certification continuing education credits for certified teachers.

- Three general continuing education units for pesticide applicators licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Pre-registration is required by Sept. 23 to ensure an accurate count of materials, Peterson said. Organizers are asking participants to bring their own lunch. For more information and to register, visit the Texas Watershed Steward Web site or contact Peterson at 979-862-8072 or jlpeterson@ag.tamu.edu.