New Legacy Conservancy Program to Protect the Aquifers in Burleson and Milam Counties

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) announced today it is forming the Post Oak Savannah Aquifer Conservancy Program (PACP) to create a legacy of stewardship for landowners. This will enable landowners in the District to commit their groundwater resources into a long-term conservation program. POSGCD is empowered by the State of Texas to preserve, conserve, and protect groundwater resources in Burleson and Milam Counties. This ground-breaking conservation program will allow most land owners in the two counties to partner with the District in its mission to conserve the aquifers in this area.

Persons owning land above the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifers in the District will be able to commit the water under their property to the PACP for terms of five, ten, or twenty years while still maintaining full ownership and control of their private property. In addition to the important efforts of conserving water locally for future generations, participants will continue to play an important role in management of the groundwater resources in our District.

Another thing that makes this program so unique is that the district will pay landowners for their legacy effort in stewardship. Each landowner can still drill or maintain an exempt well for domestic and livestock uses. The exact amounts are yet to be determined but preliminary estimates are $5-$6 per acre, per year, with bonuses for the longer terms.

This is a strictly volunteer program, which is funded by fees collected by the district. Payments will be dispersed annually to participating landowners at the end of each year’s commitment.

“This is a very exciting program where individual landowners can work together with the District to protect the water in our aquifers,” said Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland. Structured similar to other conservation programs, the PACP rewards landowners for conserving their groundwater.  POSGCD Board President Sidney Youngblood added, “This is further evidence of how our Board responds to the concerns of the citizens in our District.” Milam County Judge David Barkemeyer stated, “As empowered by the State of Texas, Post Oak has done an exemplary job of protecting the aquifers below each landowner’s property while preserving each landowner’s right to produce their water.”

POSGCD also has many additional programs of benefit to local citizens including providing grants to local water utilities, assisting fire departments with the cost of water conservation efforts, assisting landowners with the cost of plugging abandoned water wells, and providing grants for Rain Water Harvesting efforts in the District. The District also provides community services and educational presentations to citizens concerning groundwater and conservation, and in 2018 the Board of Directors adopted the POSGCD Groundwater Well Assistance Program (GWAP).  To learn more about Post Oak Savannah, visit our website at www.posgcd.orgor attend the Board Meeting on June 5 beginning at 5:30pm.

General Manager, Gary Westbrook explains the new program

Judge Barkameyer, POSGCD Board President Sydney Youngblood and Milam County Judge candidate Steve Young discuss the benefits of PACP

Press Conference for new Conservancy Program

Newly elected State Representative Ben Leman attended the event

POSGCD Attorney Barbara Boulware

Denise Hornaday from the Burleson County Tribune and Lindsey Vaculin from the Cameron Herald attended the press conference

Board member Lee Alford III and Tommy Tietjen, President Sidney Youngblood and Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland added to the conversation.

Milam County candidate, Steve Young gave his support to the Post Oak Savannah Aquifer Conservancy Program

The press conference was well attended

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) today rejected a petition filed against the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) by a local resident who believed the District was not doing enough to protect the groundwater in Milam and Burleson counties. After consideration of all information, the TCEQ Commissioners voted unanimously to dismiss the petition. The Commissioners all agreed POSGCD was following the law and meeting the needs of the local land owners, while providing long term protection of the groundwater in the aquifers of the District. Both the TCEQ Executive Director and the TCEQ Office of Public Interests Council recommended in April to dismiss the petition, noting the petitioner had not produced evidence to support his claims.

This marks the second time in three years the Commissioners of TCEQ have voted unanimously to dismiss a petition challenging the District’s management of groundwater resources. Burleson County Judge, Mike Sutherland said, “This validates the District’s management of the aquifers, and should give the citizens in our two counties even more confidence in how the Board of Directors manages, regulates, and protects our precious resources.” POSGCD General Manager Gary Westbrook added, “Our Board takes seriously the concerns of citizens in our District. Post Oaks’ rules have always been designed to protect the aquifers below each landowners property while preserving each landowner’s right to produce their water.” POSGCD Board President Sidney Youngblood stated, “Today’s ruling is truly significant.  It underscores that POSGCD’s Board is committed to pursuing our Mission Statement taking on this responsibility at a very high level. This Board will continue on a non-compromising path of respectfully representing all landowners understanding that we must continue to build trust and confidence with Burleson and Milam County citizens to ensure that we are truly successful as a Board in protecting the valuable water resources that lie beneath both counties.”

Cited at the TCEQ meeting today was also the fact that POSGCD is going above and beyond the state minimum responsibilities by regulating production and building a robust water level monitoring network, currently at almost 170 wells, with wells strategically located in all aquifers of the District. This network is designed to provide the most up to date information on the health of the aquifers. The TCEQ Commissioners reminded the landowner that he could work within the District to participate in the direction and decisions made by the Directors.

The Texas Legislature established the groundwater conservation district in 2001 to ensure there will be groundwater under Milam and Burleson counties for generations to come, and the District was confirmed by election of the citizens in Milam and Burleson in 2002.

POSGCD also has many additional programs of benefit to local citizens including providing grants to local water utilities, assisting fire departments with the cost of water conservation efforts, assisting landowners with the cost of plugging abandoned water wells, and providing grants for Rain Water Harvesting efforts in the District. The District also provides community services and educational presentations to the citizens concerning groundwater and conservation, and in 2018 the Board of Directors adopted the POSGCD Groundwater Well Assistance Program (GWAP). This program was created to assist well owners whose wells are projected to experience water level declines in their wells below the pump during normal operations as a result of groundwater production in GMA 12.

Spring is in the air and the sun is back! What better time to get back out in the flower beds and gardens?

On Friday, March 2, 2018, Post Oak Savannah GCD teamed up with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and EarthKind to host a full day of hands-on learning. Sixteen people participated in the Landscape and Irrigation workshop to learn how to design and install plants and irrigation. 

Tim Hartmann, Texas A&M AgriLife Program Specialist, led the workshop. He showed participants which native and adapted plants do the best in this area and how to design landscapes. 

Hartmann said to look at structures that are already there that will change light and weather patterns. It’s important to note what areas get more sun and how the shade moves throughout the day. 

He also said that native plants are great because they are more drought-tolerant, disease- and pest-resistant, and promote native wildlife. Non-native plants that are well adapted can enhance the plant palette as well, though. 

After learning about the varieties of plants, the class moved outside to get their hands in the dirt. Hartmann walked through the plant installation process and showed everyone how to space and cover plants.

Drip irrigation was installed shortly after. Drip irrigation is a great way to slowly water plants — it is 90% efficient with less evaporation and runoff than other watering methods. 

Thank you to everyone that came to the workshop and helped plant the lovely landscape at the POSGCD office! 

Check out the images from Friday below!

9:10 AM — At this time, we anticipate being closed tomorrow, January 16th, due to the incoming winter storm. In Milam County the Winter Storm Watch has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning from midnight tonight until 6 PM Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service warning, a “Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice are expected. This will make travel very hazardous or
perhaps impossible.”

Information about the incoming winter storm can also be found at KBTX.

This post will be updated as conditions change. The latest road conditions for Texas can be found at drivetexas.org.

The new telemetry system is in the first stages of being installed and tested. We installed the first transducer, which will be collecting and transmitting data. Adding telemetry technology into our monitoring system is one of the steps Post Oak Savannah GCD is taking to improve our Monitoring Network.

Telemetry is an automated process that measures and collects data at remote points and sends the data to receiving equipment for monitoring. The basic components of a telemetry system include sensors that measure and collect data, transmitters that are connected to the sensors and send the collected data to a database, and programs that turn data into useful information for system users.

Transducers, which include the sensors and transmitters, are installed within wells that continually record and send water level updates at specified times. They allow the District to receive real-time data from all wells that are part of the telemetry system.

Data will be collected every hour and sent via cellular data to an online data management application once daily.

Once the telemetry system is complete and online, users can visit our website to see daily updated water level readings throughout the District. Users will be able to select wells in separate formations (i.e., Simsboro Aquifer, Carrizo Aquifer, etc.) as well as by geographical location.

Bobby Bazan, POSGCD Water Resource Specialist, said the biggest advantage of the telemetry system is a cost-benefit to the District through reducing maintenance and travel requirements. Because data is collected remotely, staff will not have to drive out each time and manually check water levels at selected wells.

“Additionally, the system will increase the frequency of data readings,” Bazan said. “Users will be able to see daily, monthly and seasonal water readings throughout the District. Instead of a snap-shot in time, there will be a continuous inflow of water level data.”

Although the system allows us to increase frequency of readings while reducing the number of visits, staff will still go out regularly to check the accuracy of the measurements.

The system is scheduled to go online by January 2018.

Citizens of Milam and Burleson Counties attended the first POSGCD Rainwater Harvesting workshop on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

The workshop is part of the POSGCD Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Program — after attending, participants become eligible for a rebate. During the presentations, participants learn how rainwater harvesting systems work and how they can build and use them for different purposes.

Participants were able to view a variety of systems through the demonstration site set up at the office. Post Oak Savannah GCD has upcoming workshops for landscaping and rainwater harvesting in November and December.

The Post Oak Savannah GCD Board of Directors met for their monthly meeting on October 3, 2017. The meeting started at 5:30 p.m. and was held at the POSGCD office. Approximately 80 people attended the meeting.

John Giesenschlag, a Burleson County landowner and past POSGCD Director, opened up with a public comment. He thanked the Board for their work and said that he supports the District and believes that the District is still the best avenue to have local control of the groundwater in Milam and Burleson Counties.

All other public comments were made during Item 14, Request by Vista Ridge for extension of Transport Permit POS-T-0001d as Non-Substantial Change. After Gary Westbrook, General Manager of POSGCD, gave a brief overview of the timeline involving the Vista Ridge project, legal counsel outlined the three options the District could consider. Option one was to determine the letter request as non-substantial, which would allow the GM to make the decision without a hearing. Option two would be to determine the letter request as being substantial which would require a public hearing. Option three was to take no action and dispose of the request.
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The Desired Future Conditions (DFC) Committee met on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at the POSGCD Office. They heard presentations about new Advanced Aquifer Enhancement (AAE) projects, updates on the Monitoring Network and finalized edits to the Draft Groundwater Well Assistance Program (GWAP).

Steve Young from Intera started the meeting by going through a presentation outlining four ideas of possible projects that could potentially enhance the aquifers in the District—Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), Enhanced Recharge, Surface Water and Groundwater Interaction, and Groundwater Quality (including brackish groundwater).

The presentation slides can be found at http://posgcd.org/administrator/archived-minutes/archived-minutes-2017/.
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Post Oak Savannah GCD hosted a workshop for local water utility groups on September 26, 2017. Sam Godfrey Owner and President of Samco, and James Beauchamp, Owner and President of Texas Drinking Water Solutions, gave presentations. Topics included 2018 groundwater conservation grant applications, leak detections, and GIS mapping.

         

The Post Oak Savannah GCD (POSGCD) Board of Directors met for their monthly meeting on September 5, 2017 at the POSGCD office. The meeting began with a public hearing on possible rule changes to Rules 7.4, Application Requirements for All Permits and 7.7, Permits Issued by the District. Mr. Dan Fischer had submitted a comment via email previous to the hearing and there were no comments during the hearing. After the public hearing, Directors voted unanimously to accept the rules as presented.

During the meeting, Kobly Dague, a student in the Texas 4-H2O Ambassador program, gave a presentation about his experience this summer. He shared highlights from the 8-day Youth Leadership Academy, where ambassadors learned about water policy, management and issues across the state. After his presentation, he presented the Directors with a plaque to thank them for their sponsorship of the program.

The Board heard reports from the Advisory, Desired Future Condition (DFC), Rules and Building Committees. The DFC Committee is on track to completing the Groundwater Well Assistance Program document and posting it for public comment in October. The DFC Committee also reported the Well Monitoring Network continues to grow and improve.

The Directors discussed updates on the joint planning processes in Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 12 and 8. The next GMA 12 meeting will be on September 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the POSGCD office. Directors also heard reports from the general manager and education coordinator.