Texas Bacterial Source Tracking Program

Principal Investigator

This project will focus on transitioning activities of the Baffin Bay Stakeholder Group (BBSG) from Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) development to implementation. The project team, with leadership from the watershed coordinator, will continue working with key stakeholders and partner agencies to facilitate implementation activities outlined in the WPP. The watershed coordinator (to be hired by HRI) will serve as the primary conduit for interaction with landowners, citizens, and entities to facilitate WPP implementation. HRI will coordinate with the BBSG and other stakeholders to seek input and recommendations on needed activities and educational programs in the watershed and continue to support WPP implementation efforts. HRI will assist stakeholders in securing resources to implement management measures to improve water quality and acquire resources to enable implementation and work with state and federal agencies, as appropriate, to bring technical and financial assistance to the watershed.

Education and outreach were identified as a key component of WPP success. This project will focus strongly on continuing to provide educational opportunities to stakeholders regarding management strategies that can reduce NPS pollution. Outreach and education coordination efforts by the watershed coordinator and project partners will facilitate and support public participation by private individuals and local officials during implementation. Activities may include but are not limited to developing publications, factsheets, website content, short videos and other materials to promote and communicate watershed pollution prevention efforts. Additionally, the watershed coordinator will coordinate and conduct water resources education and outreach efforts across the watershed in collaboration with existing groups. Delivery of existing educational programs such as the Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Training, Lone Star Healthy Streams, Texas Watershed Stewards and Texas Well Owner Network and various other programs will also occur.

Additional water quality sampling will be conducted to continue building a robust data set that illustrates baseline water quality conditions and future changes in water quality as a result of WPP implementation activity. Long-term trend analysis is a common means for evaluating gradual changes in water quality that are expected from WPP implementation. Monitoring will not commence until an approved monitoring QAPP is secured. Three monitoring sites from regions of the watershed where data is lacking will be selected for additional monitoring. Planned quarterly CRP monitoring will continue at currently monitored sites and supplemental monitoring will be coordinated such that the selected sites will be monitored on a monthly basis. This approach will result in monthly data collection at monitored sites and will fill data gaps resulting from the traditional quarterly CRP monitoring regime.

Project outcomes will include continued relationship building with local stakeholders to identify specific implementation activity priorities as discussed in the WPP. This will be accomplished through targeted meetings with stakeholders in the watershed, continuing to deliver educational programs, and distributing outreach materials throughout the watershed with the goal to help improve water quality.

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