Cypress Creek Basin
Clean Rivers Program

Steering Committee Minutes of November 30, 2006

Executive Office of Northeast Texas Municipal Water District
Hughes Springs, Texas




Clean Rivers Steering Committee

Minutes of November 30, 2006


Walt Sears welcomed the group and asked that everyone introduce themselves. The minutes of the August 30, 2006 meeting were approved. Due to some bad weather, Jennifer Delk and Arthur Talley of TCEQ, as well as several others were unable to attend. There were approximately 31 persons participating in the meeting.


J.R. Alphin of the Franklin County Water District gave a Power Point presentation and an update on efforts by the FCWD to control invasive water plants on Lake Cypress Springs. Mr. Alphin discussed the District’s aquatic plant nursery and the introduction of native aquatic plants to the lake in an attempt to combat hydrilla and other invasive species. Before and after pictures verified significant progress in affected areas.


Rob Cook and Art Crowe with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) gave a presentation on recent sediment and water sampling done on Ellison Creek Reservoir on October 19, 2006. This sampling was done in response to local health concerns about the reservoir. Samples were taken at the 7 areas where the public is most likely to have contact with water and sediment during recreational activities. These areas included Porky Pig Park, the Baptist Church Encampment, Scenic View Marina and Lone Star City Park and Boat Ramp. The TCEQ handed out a memo that detailed the sampling efforts and analysis. Other Steering Committee members expressed gratitude for the sampling and reporting being completed in such a timely manner. The TCEQ analysis showed that the lake continues to be suitable for contact recreation. Specifically, Staff of the Toxicology Section does not expect adverse health effects to occur as a result of contact recreation exposure to the reported levels of analytes in sediment and surface water at Ellison Creek Reservoir.


Leah Cooper with Lone Star Steel gave an update on the status of their communication with the Texas Department of State Health Services concerning the fish advisory on Ellison. They met with DSHS assistant commissioner Kathy Perkins and her staff on October 25 to discuss the effect of the advisory on our community, technical justifications for a revised advisory, and opportunities for improved cooperation between DSHS and stakeholders. DSHS expects to conduct additional sampling of white crappie. A full response to Lone Star Steel’s requests is anticipated by the end of the year.


Dr. Mary Herron and one of her students, Elida Bonilla, from Northeast Texas Community College updated the group on sampling they have been doing in the Basin. Funds for the project were made available through TCEQ Clean Rivers Program and NETMWD. Ms. Bonilla discussed sampling taken at Big Cypress Creek crossings at Hwy. 11 near Cason, TX and at Hwy. 259 near Lone Star, TX. Ms. Bonilla also expressed thanks for the funding of the program and informed the group that the students were looking forward to sharing their findings at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago in March of 2007. She then answered questions from the group concerning their findings.


Beverly Allen, Caddo Lake Watershed Protection Coordinator with NETMWD, gave a presentation on recent efforts being made to move forward with concerns involving the protection and improvements with Caddo Lake. Mrs. Allen passed out a sheet recognizing 9 Elements of a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). Mrs. Allen went over these key elements of a WPP. She discussed the last meeting of the Physical Concerns Workgroup meeting on August 31, 2006. She reported on a neighborhood watch program being developed for Giant Salvinia on Caddo Lake. Mrs. Allen also discussed the recent Stakeholder meeting on October 26 held at the Marshall Civic Center which included several state legislators.

Ric Blevins, Water Protection Specialist II, also with NETMWD, gave an update on the 319(h) project with TSSWCB and recent samples caught from the latest rainfall event. He included the number of samples taken on the recent November 6 rain event, on which 7 of 12 sites recorded samples. Due to drought, it is likely that the time for sampling will be extended to March of 2008. Mr. Blevins also discussed the status of 3 continuous monitoring stations on Lake O’ the Pines. These stations will provide data for use in the TMDL, education, and other water quality assessment purposes. The continuous monitoring stations are a joint effort with the NETMWD and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is planned that the stations will be located along the main creek channel in the lake as well as near Ferrell’s Bridge Dam. Construction and calibration of each station is due to be completed soon. Discussion then took place as to what to do with 6 returning sampling devices soon to be available after completion of a contract with the Texas Forestry Service. These devices are available for use once they are finished in the project of the Texas Forestry Service.


John O’Connor, Regional Manager with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), informed the group of efforts being made by the Agricultural Nonpoint Sources Workgroup with regards to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Lake O’ the Pines. Mr. O’Connor broke down the land use within the Cypress Creek Basin. It was acknowledged that the TSSWCB has been working to assure implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) for several years in this Basin. Mr. O’Connor made a 10 year comparison on dairy farm numbers in area counties between 1995 to present. He also numbered poultry farms in the Basin and that only 6 of the 164 poultry farms still lack a certified Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP). This plan is mandatory by January 1, 2008. Mr. O’Connor also discussed the disposal of dead birds generated from these farms and their impact on the Basin. He then named members of the TMDL Nonpoint Sources Workgroup and gave an update on recent meetings of the board. It was recognized that there has been significant implementation of nutrient controls in this Basin in the last 10 years.


Walt Sears informed the group about the Point Source Workgroup activities, headed by Tommy Spruill of the Titus County Fresh Water District No. 1. Mr. Sears discussed the planned 56% reduction in phosphorus sought in the Lake O’ the Pines Watershed. He recognized the similarities of the reductions goals for point and nonpoint research. Mr. Sears expressed the belief that the needed reductions from point source contributions could be accomplished at only one facility if the point source dischargers work in a cooperative way to reduce phosphorus. Mr. Sears informed the Committee that the TMDL Point Source Workgroup is working in a cooperative way and that work on achieving the needed phosphorus reductions is continuing.

The next meeting date for the CRP Steering Group was set for March 20, 2007 at 1 :30 p.m. at the NETMWD offices in Hughes Springs, TX.


Public comments and questions were addressed by Art Crowe and Rob Cook of TCEQ, Paul Price of HDR Engineering and others concerning low pH in and around the basin. It was suggested that the drought, timber harvests, seasonal changes and additional natural occurrences are factors to consider when analyzing data in our Basin.


The meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:00 p.m. after Walt Sears thanked everyone for participating and providing their comments.