Agricultural producers in the Lampasas River Watershed will soon be eligible for financial assistance to help implement best management practices in their water quality management plans, according to a research associate with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
“AgriLife Research aided the Hill Country Soil and Water Conservation District in Burnet and Lampasas counties in obtaining a grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide both technical and financial resources to landowners within the Lampasas River Watershed,” said Lisa Prcin, AgriLife Research associate, Temple.
The Lampasas River rises in western Mills County, 16 miles west of Hamilton, and flows southeast for 75 miles, according to Prcin. The river flows through Hamilton, Lampasas, Burnet and Bell counties. In Bell County, the river turns northeast and is dammed 5 miles southwest of Belton to form Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
Prcin said AgriLife Research and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, established the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership in November 2009 to assess and improve water quality within the watershed.
“Through this project, historic water quality data was analyzed and future water quality conditions were modeled, and a watershed protection plan was developed,” she said. “The development of a watershed protection plan was a stakeholder driven process facilitated by AgriLife Research. With technical assistance from AgriLife Research and other state and federal partners, the steering committee identified water quality issues that are of particular importance to the surrounding communities.”
The water protection plan, which includes a 10-year timeline for full implementation, was approved by the partnership and accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2013, she said.
“The five years of hard work by the stakeholders, AgriLife Research and TSSWCB has now paid off,” Prcin said. “We are now in the beginning phase of implementing the Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan.
“Plus, we now have some funding to hire a conservation technician to work with landowners in Bell, Burnet, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Mills and Williamson counties. The individual hired will work with local farmers and ranchers to develop water quality management plans and assist producers in obtaining and utilizing cost-share funding to implement conservation best management practices on their land.”
Prcin said the Hill Country Soil and Water Conservation District will be taking applications until Feb. 18 for the district technician position. For more information about the project, contact the soil and water conservation board at 512-756-4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org.