Outreach Programs Public involvement is absolutely critical to any watershed stewardship effort. Throughout the watershed planning process, the Partnership has sought to provide as many opportunities as possible to engage stakeholders and increase the likelihood of success. Initial Efforts To engage stakeholders and to support development of the watershed protection plan, a suite of outreach strategies was used to inform participants in early stages of the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership. Ongoing outreach and education efforts have maintained public involvement in the process and continue to increase awareness of the program and its goals throughout the watershed. Resources and activities that have and will be utilized in this effort include the following: Partnership Fact Sheet The Plum Creek Watershed Partnership fact sheet was developed as a 2-page information marketing tool to encourage participation early in the planning process. It was distributed in the watershed via direct and electronic mail, at stakeholder meetings, and at other area events. The fact sheet currently is available at the Hays County and Caldwell County Extension offices and the Plum Creek Conservation District office. News Releases The Texas AgriLife Extension Service works with Texas A&M University AgriLife Communications to create and submit news releases to numerous media outlets through AgNews, including 5 local newspapers and approximately 100 additional local and regional newspapers and magazines. Selected press releases can be found HERE. Newsletter Articles The Partnership has contributed project updates for the "Coordinated Watershed Protection in Southeast and South Central Texas" newsletter, distributed bimonthly by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. These updates inform a regional audience about activities and progress in the Plum Creek Watershed and serve as an important tool to coordinate with similar groups in the state. Newsletter articles about the Partnership also have been disseminated through County Extension, Master Naturalist, and Master Gardener outlets and through local homeowners' associations. Selected newsletter articles can be found HERE. Outreach and Education Workgroup The Outreach and Education workgroup was charged with increasing public awareness about local water quality issues and encouraging individual actions to improve and restore Plum Creek. To this end, the workgroup developed both broad-based programs directed to the general public and targeted programs intended to reach specific audiences within the watershed. Key audiences identified include rural and urban residents alike: youth; homebuilders and developers; septic system owners, installers, and inspectors; agricultural producers; elected officials; business and community leaders; news media; and community service organizations. A major success for the Outreach and Education workgroup was the Partnership's selection for a Clean Water Act grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This grant funded a large portion of the outreach activities conducted to date in the Plum Creek Watershed. Many of the resources developed through this project were made available for adaptation in other watersheds across the state.