Meadows Center, General Land Office launch Clean Coast Texas Collaborative
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Texas General Land Office to lead the Clean Coast Texas Collaborative.
The collaborative will provide coastal communities with technical assistance on best practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution and incorporate stormwater management techniques.
As a primary component of the recently launched Clean Coast Texas initiative, the collaborative encompasses a dynamic team of scientists, educators, engineers and communication professionals, who will work with communities throughout the Texas Coastal Zone to address stormwater management and water quality concerns. Partners in the collaborative include the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services’ Texas Community Watershed Partners, the Texas Sea Grant College Program and Doucet & Associates.
“I’m very excited about the team that the Texas General Land Office has put together,” said Nick Dornak, director of watershed services at the Meadows Center. “The Collaborative draws on the strengths of each entity and will ensure we deliver the support coastal communities need to improve water quality, community resilience and floodplain management.”
Nonpoint source pollution is caused when rainfall, moving over and through the ground, picks up and carries natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and groundwater supplies. Nonpoint source pollution degrades water quality which, in turn, can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.
“Texas coastal water resources have benefited from vast areas of undeveloped land in the Coastal Zone. As population growth continues, land conversion and development could adversely impact water resources of our beaches, bays and streams if not handled properly,” said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. “Through working with coastal communities and our partners in the collaborative, we will address effects of stormwater runoff on waterways, and create new opportunities to protect critical coastal economies, ecosystems and public health.”
The Clean Coast Texas Collaborative will deliver customized local workshops in four communities on topics related to sustainable stormwater management such as green infrastructure case studies, data driven community planning for resilience and determining optimal locations for small-scale green infrastructure projects like rain gardens. The collaborative will also enhance efforts of the Meadows Center’s Texas Stream Team program to bring training opportunities, equity and access to citizen scientists of diverse education levels and backgrounds.
In conjunction with these workshops, the Clean Coast Texas Collaborative will engage with local officials to provide technical support for initiating community projects such as developing and refining local ordinances, the adoption of sustainable stormwater design manuals, building comprehensive plans specific to local demands including population and economic projects and creating conceptual designs to construct, or improve, green infrastructure.
These projects will showcase how Texas coastal communities can create tangible environmental benefits that can be easily translated to other coastal communities while supporting their local economies through the restoration of coastal natural resources, improved water quality, and mitigation of coastal erosion.
“Minimizing risks and maximizing resiliency is critical,” Dornak said. “With a focus on local partnerships, the Clean Coast Texas Collaborative will empower communities throughout the Texas Gulf Coast with the knowledge and resources they need to protect both their natural resources and local economies.”
To learn more about the Clean Coast Texas initiative, visit https://cleancoast.texas.gov/.