Private applicator training offered

To help meet the needs of local Agricultural producers needing a Pesticide Applicators License, a training session will be conducted on May 3 at the Nueces County Extension Office located in the Johnny S. Calderon County Building at 710 E. Main Ave. in Robstown.

The training will run from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Testing will be administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture at their office at 5155 Flynn Parkway, Suite 100 in Corpus Christi.

A private applicator is defined by law as a person who uses or supervises the use of a restricted-use or state-limited use pesticide for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity.

Participants wishing to take the training must make reservations prior to the training date by contacting the Nueces County Extension Office at (361) 767-5223. The fee for the training is $50 and includes study manuals.

For additional information about the training, contact me at (361) 767-5223.

Texas Watershed Stewards offer free training May 12 in Corpus Christi

A free Texas Watershed Steward program training will be held May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the meeting room of the Corpus Christi Water Department, located at 2726 Holly Road in Corpus Christi.

The training is a one-day event sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces River Authority.

"This TWS training is designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by getting involved in local watershed protection and management activities," Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist and workshop coordinator, said.

Dictson said the workshop would include an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas and will primarily focus on water quality issues relating to the Lower Nueces River Watershed, including current efforts to help improve the health of this important watershed.

People attending the Texas Watershed Stewards training will learn about watershed systems, water quality regulation and monitoring, methods to improve water quality and community-driven watershed protection and management, Dictson said.

"The training also provides the basic knowledge and tools needed to participate in and organize local watershed activities and become more involved in protecting and enhancing your community water resources," she added.

Dictson said the training is open to anyone interested in improving the water quality of the Lower Nueces River Watershed. She said pre-registration is open and that those interested in participating may pre-register through the Texas Watershed Stewards Web site, http://tws.tamu.edu.

"We'd appreciate people taking a minute to complete the quick and easy online form on our Web site so we can ensure there are enough materials for the participants," she said.

"The City of Corpus Christi has contracted with the Nueces River Authority to develop a watershed protection plan for the Lower Nueces River between Wesley Seale Dam at Lake Corpus Christi to the Saltwater Barrier Dam in Corpus Christi," Rocky Freund, deputy executive director of the Nueces River Authority, Coastal Bend Division, said. "The plan will be created to protect the drinking water source for around a half a million people within the Coastal Bend area."

Freund added that a recent historic drought, followed by record rainfall, has contributed to an increase in turbidity, or sediment, in this portion of the river.

The lower Nueces River forms part of the county line between Jim Wells and San Patricio counties, and runs between Nueces and San Patricio Counties. It flows 39 miles from Wesley Seale Dam at Lake Corpus Christi to the Calallen Saltwater Barrier Dam. The City of Corpus Christi borders the south bank of the river in the lower 10 miles of the watershed area and conducts its own water quality monitoring as this source serves as the primary drinking water source for the area.

Freund said the Nueces River Authority, City of Corpus Christi and other stakeholders are just starting to work on an implementation plan to improve the water quality issues and encourage land and water stewardship in the Lower Nueces River Watershed.

"Participating in the Texas Watershed Stewards program is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your watershed," Dictson said, "You can be a part of this effort by attending the upcoming training."

Along with free education and training, participants receive a free copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook, prizes and gifts, and a certificate of completion.

In addition, the program offers seven continuing education units in soil and water management for certified crop advisors, seven units for professional engineers and planners and seven continuing education credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, seven for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers.

For more information and to pre-register, go to http://tws.tamu.edu, or contact Dictson at (979) 458-3478 or via e-mail at n-dictson@tamu.edu.

The Texas Watershed Stewards program is funded by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board through a Clean Water Act 319(h) grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.