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CRP Public Participation: Basin Advisory Committees and More

Basin Advisory Committees

One of the primary elements of the CRP is involvement of the public and stakeholders to assist in understanding the needs of the basins and the areas of concern. The CRP works with stakeholders to address concerns within each basin and set water quality monitoring priorities. The advisory committee has representatives from municipalities, state and federal agencies, industrial and agricultural interests as well as environmental organizations, and individual citizens. Each year, the CRP holds meetings along the Rio Grande to discuss water quality and other related issues within the basin and to get input on how to improve the program. The CRP uses input from these meetings to help develop its CRP program. The meetings also allow CRP personnel to inform the committee about special studies performed by the CRP, changes in the program policies, updates on the program, new partnerships, new laws and regulations, and concerns and impairments within the basin.

Meetings are held once a year in the upper, middle, and lower Rio Grande regions in August.

Membership. Membership Guidelines specify the steering committee should include stakeholder volunteers from across the Rio Grande Basin representing the following groups:

  • Private citizens
  • Fee-payers (identified in Texas Water Code TWC 26.0135(h)
  • Political subdivisions (including local, regional, and state officials)
  • State Soil and Water Conservation Board
  • Other appropriate state agencies including: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Water Development Board, Texas General Land Office, Texas Department of Health, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Railroad Commission and Texas Department of Transportation.
  • Other entities interested in water quality matters including: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regional staff, business and industry, agriculture, environmental and other public interest groups.

Role. The steering committee serves as the focus for public input and assists with:

  • Creation of specific achievable water quality objectives and basin priorities
  • Review and development of work plans and allocation of resources
  • Development, review and approval of major reports
  • Establishing monitoring priorities and developing monitoring plans
  • Identification of priority problem areas and development of actions to address these problems and pollutant sources

Goals. The CRP Long Term Action Plan for Fiscal Years 2006-2010 established CRP goals to inform and engage stakeholders:

  • Give stakeholders the opportunity to contribute their ideas and concerns through steering committee meetings, public meetings, and/or other forums
  • Participate in public information and education activities to increase stakeholder involvement in the program and interest in water quality issues
  • Communicate information on water quality issues to stakeholders by so that priorities may be set considering local, region, state and federal needs
  • Support stakeholders, volunteers, and other programs in addressing water quality issues
  • Provide information requested by interested parties and disseminate information via the Internet

If you would like to become a part of the Clean Rivers Program Basin Advisory Committee, please contact us. Also, please see our Calendar/Activities page for our next BAC meetings.


Outreach with local schools

If you would like Clean Rivers to give a talk at your school about water quality in the Rio Grande, please contact us.

Becoming a CRP sampling partner

Since the Rio Grande Basin is so large, we depend on volunteer groups to assist in water quality monitoring. Usually these groups are organizations, academic institutions, or municipalities that have a staff to dedicate to the monitoring. Responsibilties include following strict guidelines for monitoring and sample collection, adhereing to a schedule (for example, sample collection on a quarterly basis every year), and attending a yearly meeting to coordinate sampling. If your organization has the interest and resources to commit to a long-term volunteer program, please contact us.

Texas Stream Team

In the past, the USIBWC Clean Rivers Program has teamed up with the Texas Stream Team (formerly called Texas Watch) to bring their public education program to the Texas - Mexico border region. For more information on the Texas Stream Team program, visit their website or contact us.

Friends of the Rio Grande

One of the goals of the USIBWC Clean Rivers Program is to promote environmental awareness through public education and outreach. In 2004 – 2005, TCEQ and the USIBWC CRP teamed together to form an initiative called Friends of the Rio Grande. The goals of this initiative are to increase public outreach programs throughout the border region, implement a volunteer monitoring program, promote environmental clean ups in the basin, and to provide recognition of outstanding efforts in environmental activities to encourage greater participation in environmental awareness.

The initiative provided support for the above activities by assisting existing outreach programs, promoting and providing assistance for community cleanup efforts, promoting and assisting the Texas Watch (now the Texas Stream Team) program, and providing and maintaining a website of Friends of the Rio Grande activities.

In 2009, the USIBWC CRP revived the Friends of the Rio Grande initiative. We offered small project grants for environmental education and outreach projects relating to the water quality of the Rio Grande.

If you or your organization would like to participate in the Friends of the Rio Grande initiative, please contact us.

To learn more visit the Friends of the Rio Grande website.

 


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