Rainwater harvesting, turf management training set Aug. 29 in Seguin

Contact: John Smith, 979-845-2761, johnwsmith@tamu.edu

Reagan Hejl, 979-845-5252, Reagan.hejl@tamu.edu

Diane Boellstorff, 979-458-3562, dboellstorff@tamu.edu

Ben Wherley, 979-845-1591, b-wherley@tamu.edu

Ward Ling, 979-845-6980, wling@tamu.edu

SEGUIN – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is hosting a residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training with the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Partnership Aug. 29 in Seguin.

The free event will be from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Seguin Outdoor Learning Center, 1865 U.S. Highway 90 E. Seating is limited, so attendees are requested to RSVP to John  Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, at 979-845-2761 or johnwsmith@tamu.edu.

The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program aims to improve and protect surface water quality by enhancing awareness and knowledge of best management practices, coordinators said.  Attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems and appropriate turf and landscape plant species based on local conditions.

Home rainwater harvesting system. (Photo courtesy of  Leslie Lee, Texas Water Resources Institute)

Dr. Ben Wherley, Texas A&M AgriLife Research turfgrass/ecology scientist, College Station, said management practices such as maintaining irrigation delivery equipment, interpreting soil tests and understanding nutrient applications can help reduce runoff and provide additional landscape irrigation water.

“These practices can improve understanding of rainwater harvesting and landscape management,” he said.

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, AgriLife Extension water resource specialist, College Station, said proper fertilizer application and efficient water irrigation can protect and improve water quality in area creeks, and collecting rainwater for lawn and landscape needs reduces stormwater runoff.

Reagan Hejl, research associate in the Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences department, said participants can have their soil tested as part of the training. Residents can pick up a soil sample bag with instructions from the AgriLife Extension offices in Guadalupe and Comal counties. Bags will be available at least a week before the event and should be turned in at the beginning of the training.

The soil sample bag and analysis are free to Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program participants.

Hejl said soil samples will be submitted to the AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Lab for routine analysis, including pH, conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen and other parameters.

She said during the program there will be a review of how to interpret soil test results and nutrient recommendations so residents can understand the results once they receive their analysis.

Ward Ling, AgriLife Extension program specialist and Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Partnership coordinator, College Station, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in Geronimo and Alligator creeks.

For more information about the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Protection Plan, go to http://www.geronimocreek.org/.

Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part through Clean Water Act grants from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.