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Treasuring the Trinity:
Challenges and Opportunities
Where We’ve Been
• History of the river
• Water quality problems and policy changes
Trinity Key Points
– Supplies water to
~45% of Texas
population
– Connects D/FW to
Houston
– 512 miles
long, 1,983 miles
o...
History of Trinity River
• Navigation projects in mid
to late 1800’s changed
some parts of river
• Pollution from
slaughte...
Clean Water Act
• Federal Clean Water Act (CWA, 1972, 1977)
created to “Restore and maintain
chemical, physical, and biolo...
Texas Watershed Stewards
tws.tamu.edu
State Agencies
Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality
• Sets water quality standards
• Manages point and urban
nonpoint...
Surface Water Quality Standards
• Every 2 years, the TCEQ must report the
extent to which each water body meets the
state’...
Where We Are
• Current water quality issues
Water Quality
• 2012 Water Quality
Inventory and CWA 303(d) List
– 40 segments “impaired”
– 71 segments of concern
– 11 se...
Water Quality
• 2010 Water Quality
Inventory and CWA 303(d) List
– 37 segments “impaired”
– 67 segments of concern
– 4 seg...
Where We’re Headed
• Challenges That Lie Ahead
• Working To Change Directions
Texas’ Projected Growth
The Challenges
• Rapidly increasing
population
• Poor water
quality
• Habitat loss
• Declining wildlife
populations
• Redu...
Fragmentation
• 5,000 new properties in the 1-100 size class
• Resulting problems
– Loss of sustainable wildlife habitat
–...
Fragmentation
• Reduced economic sustainability for landowners
Drought

October 2011

• Plant growth very
reduced
• Hampers livestock
production and
overgrazing common
• Crop losses
• M...
Trinity River Basin
Restoration Initiative
• Governor’s 2006
Announcement
• Improve water quality
by land stewardship
• Bu...
Purpose
• Landowners at the
forefront
– Neighbor working with
neighbor
– Proactive stance can
prevent
future, unnecessary
...
Mission
Improve the quality of life, economic sustainability
and ecological integrity of areas associated with the
Trinity...
Goals
• Connect rural land stewardship to urban water
resources
• Establish partnerships among
landowners, conservation or...
Goals
• Promote land
stewardship practices
– Improve ag
production
– Increase wildlife
populations
– Greater recreational
...
Delivering Information
to Landowners and the Public
• Website
– Landowner Library
with over 400 natural
resource publicati...
Delivering Information
to Landowners and the Public
• Social Media
Facebook

Scoop.it!

Wild Wonderings
Blog

Twitter

WFS...
Trinity River Information Management System
(TRIMS)
• Accessible
• Interactive
• Watershed scale
(local to regional)
• Soi...
Land Management Tool - TRIMS
Smartphone Apps
Tracks

Feral hog tracks : 2 – 4 inches, compact
track with rounded sides and blunt
toes, prominent circul...
What Can I Do?
• Set conservation goals
for your land
• Contact TPWD
Biologists, County
Extension
Agents, NRCS for
guidanc...
Restoration of the Trinity Basin is a Common Link
Between Urban and Rural Texans
Funding by
Contacts
Ken Klaveness
Executive Director, Trinity Waters
ken@trinitywaters.org or 214-454-4000
Blake Alldredge
AgriLife E...
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
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Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities

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The Trinity River supplies water to 45% of the Texas population, making it perhaps the most important river basin in Texas. Water quality issues have challenged this river, as well as drought, land fragmentation and habitat loss. Trinity Waters and AgriLife Extension are working with partners to promote land stewardship to improve landowner quality of life and water supplies by connecting urban resources back into the watersheds that support them.

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  • During this presentation I will be discussing the natural resource challenges associated with the Trinity River and what is being done to reverse these trends through the Building Partnerships for Cooperative Conservation project that includes landowners, non-governmental organizations, as well as state and federal agencies.
  • Let’s go back in time and see how this river has been used over the last 150 years. In the mid 1800s there was significant barge traffic on the river and a lot of cotton was transported down the river, and many people had dreams of Dallas being a port city which led to some navigation projects that altered some parts of the river channel. In 1868, Job Boat 1 reached Dallas after a voyage of a year and 4 days from Galveston. But the expansion of the railroad systems quickly “derailed” that dream. That pun was fully intended. Fast forward to the turn of the century, and industrialization and population growth are quickly expanding in D/FW, and the river was treated as a sewer canal and waste from slaughterhouses, industrial plants, and human sewage made their way into the river as that was the best way for them to get rid of all of that waste. Also, agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides further aggravated problems. So In the 1960’s, the US Public Health Service deemed the river “septic” and essentially unusable 100 miles downstream of Dallas. This photo is from March 2011 when an private pilot was taking photos around Dallas and noticed this odd color coming out of Cedar Creek into the Trinity River in Dallas. Turns out it was pig’s blood and other waste products from a slaughterhouse just upstream that was illegally dumping this into the creek. They got shut down. But things like this happened all the time up to the 1970’s.
  • Water quality was a growing concern all over the country, and when a river in Ohio caught fire from all of the industrial waste that was put into it, Congress acted and passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 with amendments in 1977 with the goal to “Restore and maintain chemical , physical, biological characteristics of nation’s waters.” CWA was a major step to cleaning up our waterways by controlling pollution sources, particularly in urban areas. Wastewater treatement technology has advanced a lot as well. The CWA requires states to set water quality standards to set limits on pollutants in a waterbody and designate uses for creeks and lakes in the state. Designated uses include public water supply, aquatic life, contact recreation, and fish consumption. States are required to assess the water quality in the state and report that to EPA to make sure waterways are in compliance.
  • What causes the chemical, physical and biological quality of water to become impaired? The Environmental Protection Agency has defined two major sources of pollution—point and nonpoint. Point source pollution is pollution that is discharged from a clearly defined, fixed point such as a pipe, ditch, channel, sewer or tunnel. In Texas, one major type of point source pollution is the millions of gallons of wastewater discharged by industrial facilities and municipal sewage treatment plants into the surrounding waters every day. Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) is pollution that does not originate from a clearly defined, fixed location. NPS pollution originates from many different places across the landscape, most of which cannot be readily identified. For this reason, NPS monitoring is extremely difficult because the contaminants are not easily traceable to an exact source or point of origin. NPS pollutants are generally carried off the land by runoff from storm water or excess irrigation. As the runoff moves over the land, it picks up and carries away natural and man-made pollutants, finally depositing them in surface water and even in underground sources of drinking water. Today, we’re going to be spending most of our time talking about nonpoint source pollution. I actually borrowed this slide from the Texas Watershed Steward program, which is run by AgriLife Extension as well. They hold meetings around the state to teach stakeholders all about water quality and how they can be a part of the solution. They also offer an online course at tws.tamu.edu
  • There are 2 state agencies responsible for water quality management in Texas. TCEQ is responsible for setting water quality standards and uses in Texas and manages point source and urban nonpoint source pollution programs. The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board manages nonpoint source water quality programs in the agricultural lands of Texas. You can also develop a Water Quality Management Plan with State Board to limit pollution from running off your land and the good part about one of these plans is that it protects landowners from possible regulations as this plan helps the landowner to reduce pollution runoff to the best of their ability.
  • Every 2 years, the TCEQ must report to EPA the extent to which each water body meets the state’s water quality standards.Thatreport has two major parts: the Texas Integrated Report; and what is known as the 303(d) list. The Integrated Report describes the status of all surface water bodies in the state that were evaluated, tested and monitored over the most recent 5-year period. And any water body that does not meet the water quality standards is placed on the 303(d) list. These water bodies are considered impaired because they are not able to meet their designated uses. Once on the 303(d) list, the clock starts ticking and the impaired waterbody must improve so that it is taken off the list within 13 years of listing or the state must develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the impaired water body, which I will describe later on.
  • In the 2012 draft report, 40 segments out of 129 evaluated were impaired, 71 were of concern because they were close to that threshold. 11 segments were delisted due to more rigorous sampling that found there was no issue or the segment was approved for TMDL implementation. 3 segments were added for a total of 10 since 2010. Of the 40 segments impaired, 25 were due to high bacteria levels that can come from various sources, such as wastewater effluent, wildlife, feral hogs, livestock, and failing septic systems.129 segments evaluated
  • We’re going to take a look at 3 examples of watershed concerns or impairments in the Trinity basin. The Richland Chambers watershed is very important as the water in the reservoir is pumped back for distribution in Fort Worth and surrounding cities. Past issues include low DO, high pH and high levels of atrazine, so it appears agricultural chemicals could be the culprit. Not sure why it got taken off list, but need to remain vigilant to ensure it doesn’t get back on 303d list.
  • Sources of bacteria include livestock, wildlife, feral hogs, pets, humans etc.
  • We have some major challenges that lie ahead of us, but we’re also working to change directions and forge a new path in the Trinity
  • The Trinity has several other challenges associated with it. Increasing Population within the basin has led to greater volumes of wastewater and stormwater and has resulted in poor water quality, raising water treatment costs and reducing recreational opportunities. Also, habitat has been lost throughout the basin as native grasslands, bottomland hardwood forests and wetlands have been converted to other uses. This in turn has led to declining grassland bird populations, such as bobwhite quail, which depends on native bunchgrasses and forbs for food and shelter. This in turn has led to a loss of recreational opportunities such as hunting and a lost income generator for landowners.
  • Another challenge before us along with the rest of Texas is fragmentation, which is the chopping up of parcel sizes into smaller bits. In this photo, if we examine forest area, we can see that it has been chopped up quite a bit. It is very difficult for wildlife to live in areas like this if they have to cover large areas of presumably hay fields or pastures that provide little cover or food. Wildlife will not do it
  • In the Trinity we gained 5000 new properties in the 1-100 size class from 1997-2007. Resulting problems can include loss of sustainable wildlife habitat and reduced ag productivity. Loss of sustainable habitat – one example is quail. Their home range is around 40 acres, but in order to fully support a healthy population, around 30,000 acres are needed. If multiple landowners are managing their land in different ways that do not benefit quail, the quail will not be sustained. In addition, agricultural productivity is reduced, especially for cattle producers.
  • The smaller your land holdings are, the less flexibility you have to adjust when say, drought hits. That’s why we saw a lot of folks have to sell off their cows that live on smaller plots. You can see for those who own less than 140 acres, only 30% report profitability from the land, while 60% of those that own over 2000 acres report profitablity. This data was gathered from the Texas Land Trends website developed by the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources at Texas A&M. You can view a lot more data from around the state at texaslandtrends.org
  • I like to show this photo to show how Aggie fever is sweeping the state after our successful football season last year. This is a map of drought conditions at the height of the 2011 drought. The maroon color is the highest index level of drought there is. I read an article recently that they drought monitor folks are considering adding another category because our drought have been so bad! This has seriously reduced our plant growth, which can make it hard for livestock producers to feed their cattle and overgrazing is then common. The problem is, when you allow everything to get eaten to the ground, your setting yourself up for failure or at least slow recovery because a lot of plants can die and lead to soil erosion or hardening. It’s better to leave some plant material so that when it does rain, you protect your soil, and those plants can recover quicker. We have also have a lot of crop losses, loss of recreation as lake levels get too low, and municipal watering restrictions. Dallas went to permanent 2 day/week watering restrictions in 2012! But it’s a good thing the drought is over.
  • Actually, the drought never left, it just got quieter. But we’re still dealing with low rainfall and continued drought conditions. Just a couple months ago most of East Texas was drought free, but it has come back rapidly. Some areas of the state never got out of the drought conditions. So recovery has been very limited at this point and without above average rainfall, will continue to hammer our ag producers and water supplies. UPDATE WITH CURRENT MAP
  • Purpose of cooperative conservation is just like it sounds: to engage landowners to cooperate together and “own” this project. We want landowners to take the lead and work with their neighbors and be the voice for the Trinity River. Being proactive in this matter can prevent future regulation of various activities that affect landowners. This can also save taxpayer money by not having to go through the process of developing regulations and allows dollars spent on conservation to magnify and go farther than before by enabling landowners to work with other landowners, instead of relying exclusively on agencies. What we want to see happen is a domino effect of one landowner accomplishing great conservation work on their land, who in turn can work with neighbors who then do the same thing. We also want to connect urban resources to enact landscape level change to benefit landowners land operations.
  • Trinity Waters is a landowner organization dedicated to the land and people of the Trinity basin. (READ MISSION STATEMENT)
  • One of the major goals of our project is for folks to realize that good land stewardship benefits urban water supplies, as most of their water comes from rural watersheds. We can then draw financial resources from urban areas to benefit rural landowners. We also want to build partnerships among landowners, conservation organizations, private companies, and agencies to work towards the same goal of enhancing Trinity River lands.
  • These goals build on the 1st one. As landowners do good land stewardship practices, we’ll see a sustainability in ag production, an increase in wildlife populations which provide greater recreational and economic opportunities for landowners. As these practices are implemented, we can actually improve the quantity and quality of the water in the river as more rain will infiltrate into the ground and that land sponge will filter the pollutants and store that water that can be used later in the growing season or the next year or provide water to a creek of river that benefits water supply and recreation.
  • The first tool we have is the new Trinity Waters website at Trinitywaters.org. It was developed to better engage efforts for conservation practices by supplying a vast amount of information such as publications and links to other websites. There is a wide range of information on the website, such as wildlife and livestock management, economics of cost share programs to implement these conservation activities on your land as well as benefits from hunting and ecotourism, and youth and outdoor recreation education resources. There is a whole section on water resources that covers rainwater harvesting, watershed and stream systems, water conservation, and more. We also keep you up to date with news and events relevant to the Trinity basin and highlight conservation projects occurring within the basin.
  • More and more information is being passed through social media nowadays than any other source. Partners in this project have embraced this reality and we have developed a facebook page, twitter feed, and blog that give regular updates on news and event items, as well as links to videos and publications relevant to conservation.
  • A great tool that has come out is the Trinity River Information Management System, or TRIMS, developed by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources. This is similar to a GIS program but is available for free on the web at www.trims.tamu.edu. On this interactive website, you can zoom to your specific piece of land, or look at a watershed as a whole. Features on this website allow you to determine soil and vegetation types on the land, measure land area, access elevation and stream gauge data, and others all in the overall goal of conservation planning. On this site, you can determine areas that are best suited for restoration.Replace screen shot, maybe with amy teaching someone at screen
  • At this point, you may be asking yourself what you can do. First, set conservation goals for your land that make wildlife habitat and water quality a priority. Next, contact Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists, County Extension Agents, or NRCS agents for guidance in how to go about getting those goals accomplished, as well as getting cost share information. Lastly, get involved with your neighbors. Wildlife management associations are groups of landowners that work together under the supervision of wildlife biologists that seek to improve wildlife habitat and populations on their land by operating under a wildlife management plan. This is a small scale example of what Trinity Waters is working to accomplish in the trinity river basin. Also, get involved with Trinity Waters and other conservation organizations such as Texas Wildlife Association.
  • Funding from state and federal sources was administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation board which recognizes hunters and landowners as the primary conservationists of land. They view landowners as the key to successful conservation, especially in Texas where greater than 90% of land is privately owned.
  • We are always available by email or phone to communicate personally with you.
  • Transcript of "Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities"

    1. 1. Treasuring the Trinity: Challenges and Opportunities
    2. 2. Where We’ve Been • History of the river • Water quality problems and policy changes
    3. 3. Trinity Key Points – Supplies water to ~45% of Texas population – Connects D/FW to Houston – 512 miles long, 1,983 miles of tributaries – Rural land covers 75% of 18,000 square miles (7% of Texas) – Municipal water use is 80%
    4. 4. History of Trinity River • Navigation projects in mid to late 1800’s changed some parts of river • Pollution from slaughterhouses, industrie s, sewage from D/FW and agricultural chemicals • U.S. Public Health Service called river “septic” in 1960’s Pig’s blood from slaughterhouse entering Trinity River in Dallas, March 2011
    5. 5. Clean Water Act • Federal Clean Water Act (CWA, 1972, 1977) created to “Restore and maintain chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of nation’s waters.” • Requires states to set water quality standards and designated uses for streams and lakes. • Designated uses include Public Water Supply, Aquatic Life, Contact Recreation, and Fish Consumption. • CWA requires states to assess quality of surface water (i.e. whether the water meets state-set water quality standards) and report to the EPA.
    6. 6. Texas Watershed Stewards tws.tamu.edu
    7. 7. State Agencies Texas Commission on Environmental Quality • Sets water quality standards • Manages point and urban nonpoint source programs Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board • Manages nonpoint source programs for agricultural lands
    8. 8. Surface Water Quality Standards • Every 2 years, the TCEQ must report the extent to which each water body meets the state’s surface water quality standards: Texas Integrated Report •Describes status of ALL surface water bodies in state that were evaluated, tested, and monitored in recent 5 years CWA 303(d) List •Identifies ALL “impaired” surface water bodies not meeting criteria for designated uses
    9. 9. Where We Are • Current water quality issues
    10. 10. Water Quality • 2012 Water Quality Inventory and CWA 303(d) List – 40 segments “impaired” – 71 segments of concern – 11 segments delisted from 303(d) – 3 segments added – 25 of 40 impaired segments due to bacteria
    11. 11. Water Quality • 2010 Water Quality Inventory and CWA 303(d) List – 37 segments “impaired” – 67 segments of concern – 4 segments delisted from 303(d) – 7 segments added – 27 of 37 impaired segments due to bacteria
    12. 12. Where We’re Headed • Challenges That Lie Ahead • Working To Change Directions
    13. 13. Texas’ Projected Growth
    14. 14. The Challenges • Rapidly increasing population • Poor water quality • Habitat loss • Declining wildlife populations • Reduced recreational opportunities
    15. 15. Fragmentation • 5,000 new properties in the 1-100 size class • Resulting problems – Loss of sustainable wildlife habitat – Reduced agricultural productivity
    16. 16. Fragmentation • Reduced economic sustainability for landowners
    17. 17. Drought October 2011 • Plant growth very reduced • Hampers livestock production and overgrazing common • Crop losses • Municipal watering restrictions • Loss of recreation
    18. 18. Trinity River Basin Restoration Initiative • Governor’s 2006 Announcement • Improve water quality by land stewardship • Build capacity of Trinity Waters • Foster natural resources conservation culture
    19. 19. Purpose • Landowners at the forefront – Neighbor working with neighbor – Proactive stance can prevent future, unnecessary regulation – Magnify conservation dollars – Connect urban resources
    20. 20. Mission Improve the quality of life, economic sustainability and ecological integrity of areas associated with the Trinity River Basin through a coalition of local communities, NGOs and stewards of private and public lands.
    21. 21. Goals • Connect rural land stewardship to urban water resources • Establish partnerships among landowners, conservation organizations, private companies, and agencies
    22. 22. Goals • Promote land stewardship practices – Improve ag production – Increase wildlife populations – Greater recreational opportunities • Improve water resources – “Land Sponge” – Reduce pollutants
    23. 23. Delivering Information to Landowners and the Public • Website – Landowner Library with over 400 natural resource publications and links – Highlights projects, news, and events within the Trinity River Basin
    24. 24. Delivering Information to Landowners and the Public • Social Media Facebook Scoop.it! Wild Wonderings Blog Twitter WFSC AgriLife Photos
    25. 25. Trinity River Information Management System (TRIMS) • Accessible • Interactive • Watershed scale (local to regional) • Soils, vegetation, elevation, stream data • Restoration potential trims.tamu.edu
    26. 26. Land Management Tool - TRIMS
    27. 27. Smartphone Apps Tracks Feral hog tracks : 2 – 4 inches, compact track with rounded sides and blunt toes, prominent circular dew claws. The feral hog track has dew points that are wider Back • Stocking Rate for Cattle, Sheep, Goats, and Horses • Pond and Fish Management • Aquaplant • Feral Hogs • Herbicides for Brush Management • Deer Calendar
    28. 28. What Can I Do? • Set conservation goals for your land • Contact TPWD Biologists, County Extension Agents, NRCS for guidance • Contact local officials and get involved with your neighbors
    29. 29. Restoration of the Trinity Basin is a Common Link Between Urban and Rural Texans
    30. 30. Funding by
    31. 31. Contacts Ken Klaveness Executive Director, Trinity Waters ken@trinitywaters.org or 214-454-4000 Blake Alldredge AgriLife Extension Associate balldredge@tamu.edu or 979-845-0916
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