Going Green

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Local Efforts Trump the Federal

This strikes me as common sense. Let the people who use the lake, the ones who affect the lake, the ones who are affected by the lake, put together a plan to keep the lake healthy. A little guidance from the experts is certainly in order, but if the problems can be solved locally -- as they should -- they can keep the federal government out of it.

Sept. 19, 2007

Stakeholders Helping to Protect Cedar Creek Watershed

Writer: Mike Jackson, 972-952-9232,mcjackson@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Clint Wolfe, 972-952-9653,cwolfe@ag.tamu.edu

KAUFMAN – Water quality has declined in the Cedar Creek Reservoir, but experts with the Texas A&M University System are helping landowners and government officials develop plans to plans to clean the water that flows into the 160-acre lake.

Stakeholders in the reservoir's four-county watershed have an opportunity to offer opinions and help draft the Watershed Protection Plan for Cedar Creek Reservoir, said Darrel Andrews of the Tarrant Regional Water District. They can form their own plans and act voluntarily in the coming years before regulatory agencies impose changes.

"This is a proactive approach," said Andrews, the water district's assistant director of environmental services. "Let's get everybody involved before it gets to the level that draws somebody in who is going to make us do it."

A meeting to finalize plans for a committee on the issue will be held Oct. 23 at the Kaufman County Library, 3970 S. Houston Street in Kaufman. It will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Landowners, agricultural producers, municipal and county leaders, environmental group representatives and other area residents are encouraged to participate, Andrews said. The watershed covers portions of Henderson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Van Zant counties.

"Local stakeholders provide a point of view that is needed to create a viable plan that will result in a cleaner water source," he said.

Experts with Texas Cooperative Extension, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the water district have led efforts to form the committee, officials with each agency said. They will collaborate with the Texas Water Resources Institute on efforts to study water quality and improve the reservoir, said Clint Wolfe, grant and project coordinator with the Experiment Station in Dallas.

The project will eventually expand to include four other major reservoirs managed by the Tarrant district in the Trinity River basin, Wolfe said. The district serves 1.6 million people in 11 counties.

"We will be collecting data for the watershed protection plan," Wolfe said. "The planning involves a nine-step process outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."
The process also includes assembling stakeholders and developing pollution-reduction programs, Wolfe said. The goal is to implement best management practices to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the reservoir.

Experts will be looking to landowners and local government officials for ideas on the most practical approaches to solving the problem, said Dr. Balaji Narasinham, a research scientist with the Spatial Sciences Laboratory at Texas A&M University.

"We have to determine the most effective ways of keeping sediment and nutrients out of the lake," Narasinham said.

Project coordinators have set a tentative May deadline for an initial watershed protection plan that would include the project's timetable, Wolfe said. The reservoir was built in 1965 and filled to capacity in 1969, according to the water district. A 16-year research study showed an increasing trend of excessive amounts of nutrients, which results in declining water quality.

Many environmental issues can and should be solved locally. I applaud this type of initiative.

No comments: