Learning More: A healthy ecosystem reflects healthy water

Environmental Services Page

Where you live in Texas most likely influences how you view water. If you’re out in West Texas, an area where rain, rivers and lakes are scarce, you may appreciate a heavy downpour now and then. If you live closer to the Gulf Coast, that heavy downpour, and its implications, might be less welcome.

For these and all areas in between, no matter how much water is available, it must be usable.

Managing and protecting the water resources of the Brazos River basin is the Brazos River Authority’s long-standing mission. Balancing a wide variety of water needs for both quantity and quality requires a dedicated team.

Among the ways the Brazos River Authority protects our water supply throughout the basin is by examining and monitoring the environment.

“Developing, managing and protecting the water resources of the Brazos River basin is our mission,” said David Collinsworth, BRAs general manager/chief operating officer. “Part of this effort is helping residents understand that meeting the needs of our ever-growing population is more than ensuring that there is enough water available. It’s also ensuring that the water available and the environment where it is stored is safe and healthy.”

As part of the Clean Rivers Program since the 1990s, the BRAs Environmental Services Department conducts water quality and biological monitoring and analysis at more than 100 different locations. The data and analysis collected at these sites provides scientific information on environmental conditions, which, among other things, help evaluate the health of the more than 42,000-square-mile Brazos River basin.

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The information gathered is reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency and has helped identify water quality issues that have been managed and improved, ensuring our water supplies are safe for human consumption.

To make this material available to the public, the BRA has expanded a section of its website to highlight projects and programs that help to ensure the environmental health of the Brazos River basin. The new section includes background and photos on the watershed, the many field testing and research services performed by environmental staff, information on invasive plants and animals, as well as endangered and threatened species found in the basin.

In addition to the ongoing water quality data ordinarily available through the Texas Clean Rivers Program, information is also available on water and wastewater treatment and the environmental sciences laboratory that continuously adds new analytical capabilities.

The BRA is excited to provide an up-close view of a team of professionals that can go from digging for mussels, to collecting water samples, to viewing species under the lens of a microscope, while explaining how these efforts play a bigger role in caring for our water resources. Educational videos of the environmental team are available here.

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There is also insight into what everyone can do to help the environment.

The expanded environmental area is part of a broader educational effort by the BRA to help people understand the importance of water state-wide.

In 2019, the BRA released three videos as part of its education series. These videos feature information on gate mechanics, releases, and how Possum Kingdom Lake’s Morris Sheppard Dam, Lake Limestone’s Sterling C. Robertson Dam, and Lake Granbury’s DeCordova Bend Dam operate. The BRA’s website - brazos.org – already includes a vast amount of water information, including a Water School section, Resource Library, and access to the Speakers Bureau.

The new section of the website may be accessed by clicking on the Environmental button located midway down the homepage at www.brazos.org or by clicking here.