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
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
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.