Implementation of the Watershed Protection Plan relies on involvement of specific segments of the local population. To address different potential sources of water pollution, a suite of approaches is necessary to boost participation. From city officials in urban areas to agricultural producers outside city limits, the Partnership has worked to engage these critical audiences and encourage watershed stewardship in and around Plum Creek.
- City Officials and Staff
The Partnership has coordinated two Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) workshops for city and county employees and elected officials. NEMO is a national program encouraging natural resource protection through land use planning. Events in February and May 2008 were tailored to northern and southern portions of the watershed, repsectively. The workshops discussed topics such as smart growth, low impact design, stormwater management, and reducing impervious surfaces.
Online Stormwater Management Training
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) developed an online training tool for municipal operations employees to encourage proper stormwater management. Each city in the watershed has been invited to use the tool, which addresses stormwater control practices and includes information for entities that must satisfy municipal stormwater regulations. VIEW THE MODULE
Golf Courses, Recreational Athletics, and School Sports Fields
The Partnership works with Extension's Sports and Athletic Field Education (SAFE) program to educate golf course and athletic field professionals on nutrient and pesticide management. The SAFE program is a multidisciplinary turfgrass management approach based on comprehensive evaluation and monitoring of individual fields and addresses fertilizer and pesticide selection and use, irrigation management, aerification, and mowing height and frequency.
Site Assessment Visits
The TCEQ has conducted a number of site assessment visits to municipal operations in the Plum Creek Watershed. Assessments result in recommendations to enhance stormwater and wastewater infrastructure and operation efficiency.
Stormwater Management Demonstrations
In areas where certain management measures are planned, watershed cities have cooperated with the Partnership and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to conduct field demonstrations for builders, developers, city staff, and engineers. Mulch tube demonstrations already have been conducted in Kyle and Lockhart, and additional events will be held as appropriate.
- Urban Residents
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days
The Partnership provides publicity support to increase public paritipation for cities in the watershed conducting waste collection events. The Partnership sends out email notification of events in the watershed, prints and distributes fliers, and posts information online.
Pet Waste Programs
Public outreach in watershed cities encourages pet owners to properly dispose of pet waste, both at home and in public areas. Some developments have voluntarily installed pet waste stations and signs in areas of high foot traffic, and Kyle and Lockhart have installed signs in parks and public areas.
The Partnership is seeking the installation of more signs in critical areas across the Plum Creek Watershed. Mass mailings with utility bills, public service announcements on local radio stations, and brochures placed at veterinary clinics, County Extension offices, county courthouses, and other locations encourage pet owners to act responsibly.
Online Wastewater Treatment Facility Training
An informational wastewater treatment module has been developed by the GBRA. The module shows the procedures of wastewater treatment and explains why it is important to properly manage wastewater at all steps in the process, from your home all the way to the stream where the treatment facility discharges. VIEW THE MODULE
Online Fats, Oils, and Grease Training
An online training addressing management practices for handling fats, oils, grease, and household chemical use and disposal has been developed by the GBRA. The training is geared toward both businesses and homeowners. VIEW THE MODULE
- Septic System Owners and Professionals
Online Training for Septic System Owners
An online training program has been developed by the GBRA to illustrate proper septic system function and maintenance to ensure efficiency and to extend the life of the system. VIEW THE MODULE (also available in Spanish)
Septic System Workshops
Extension personnel have conducted a number of workshops for each homeowners and septic system professionals (inspectors, installers, and maintenance providers). These trainings targeted subwatersheds identified by watershed bacteria analysis and focused on key aspects of operation, maintenance, and repair that are important for each audience. Future training events will be conducted in other areas as needed.
- Agricultural Producers
Soil and Water Testing Campaigns
Soil and water testing campaigns are conducted annually by County Extension personnel to encourage proper nutrient management in both agricultural and urban areas. Financial assistance is currently available to provide free analysis to a limited number of participants.
Nutrient, Crop, and Livestock Grazing Management Education
Training events are organized and conducted by County Extension personnel to educate agricultural producers regarding nutrient management practices in row and forage crop production systems. These events typically occur in conjunction with soil testing campaigns. Extension also conducts crop management and production seminars to promote the use of management practices for reducing pesticide inputs and sediment loss.
Additional livestock management workshops are ongoing and are conducted by County Extension Agents. These events provide information on proper grazing management techniques.
Agricultural Waste Pesticide Collection Days
The Partnership continues to cooperate with TCEQ to conduct agricultural waste pesticide collection days in and around the Plum Creek Watershed. An event in Luling in June 2007 resulted in the collection of over 31,400 pounds of waste, including approximately 8,800 pounds of solid and liquid organic pesticides and 10,365 pounds of lead-acid batteries. Other wastes collected included solvent-based and latex paints, petroleum products, mercury bulbs, a variety of chemicals, and empty containers.
Feral Hog Management Workshops
Since 2007, the Partnership and Extension have cooperated to host annual feral hog management workshops to inform landowners on the negative impacts of feral hogs and the most effective methods for their control. With support from a Clean Water Act grant, recent events have attracted hundreds of attendees.
Feral Hog Project
The Partnership worked with Extension to create a full-time feral hog management position in the watershed to provide information to landowners regarding feral hog damage and control options. This project also developed an online reporting system for use in responding to feral hog and damage sightings in the Plum Creek Watershed. VIEW THE FERAL HOG WEBSITE