Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
August 11, 2011
The Texas Stream Team, based at Texas State University-San Marcos, and the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host the Meeting of the Monitors Conference from Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Houston.
The event will take place at the Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake. One-day passes are $30, and a three-day conference pass is $50. Registration information is available at http://txstreamteam.rivers.txstate.edu/mom.
Attendees can network with staff from more than 15 environmental organizations such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Water Environment Association of Texas, and the Galveston Bay Foundation who will have booths set up throughout each day. The conference will provide educational and networking opportunities for citizen water quality monitors and professionals working in the environmental field. It will also provide opportunities for the general public to learn about relevant water quality issues in Texas. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in trainings and workshops on macroinvertebrate identification; fish dissection; data analysis; the monitoring of nutrients, turbidity, streamflow, mussels, invasive species, and phytoplankton; and more.
“A collaborative approach to watershed planning is essential,” said Kerry Niemann, the TCEQ nonpoint source program manager. “That is why it is so important to actively engage citizens by bringing them together to help in information gathering, such as volunteer monitoring efforts, and decision making. The Meeting of the Monitors is providing an excellent venue for citizen monitors and professionals to learn and collaborate.”
Thursday events will feature the Houston-Galveston Area Council Clean Waters Initiative, focused on water quality issues in Houston, why the issues exist, and what can be done about them. Friday events will focus on efforts to preserve water quality in the urbanizing areas of Texas. Friday evening feature a three-hour tour of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, highlighting the ecological and historical significance of the area as well as the work being done to protect the water quality of Galveston Bay. Saturday offers a sunrise birding tour of the Armand Bayou Nature Center, one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the United States, followed by training sessions for volunteer monitors and citizen scientists.
“Maintaining a secure clean supply of water in our rivers and streams for economic growth and the environment will be the biggest challenge of the next generation in Texas,” said Andrew Sansom, executive director of the River Systems Institute at Texas State. “We could not possibly stay on top of all of the impacts to these resources without the dedication of our volunteer monitors.”
The Meeting of the Monitors is funded by and prepared in cooperation with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
About the Texas Stream Team
Texas Stream Team is part of the River Systems Institute at Texas State University-San Marcos. Texas Stream Team collaborates with agencies and local volunteers to facilitate the statewide network of citizen water quality monitors and conduct watershed-based education. Conference attendees will be empowered to make a difference by being the front line of defense in the effort to protect and improve water quality in Texas water bodies. Trained citizen monitors serve as natural resource witnesses who can assist agencies by observing and identifying potential problems associated with of a water body.