Recreational use in the Prairie Creek, Mud Creek, West Mud Creek and Neches River Above Lake Palestine watersheds was discussed Tuesday during a public meeting.

The meeting, put on by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University, took place at the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, 315 N. Broadway Ave.

During Tuesday's meeting, attendees received information on a project about recreational use in the bodies of water.

Leah Taylor, project manager with the TIAER, said the bodies of water aren't meeting the water quality standard for primary contact recreation because bacteria levels are high for activities where there is a greater risk of water getting close to someone's mouth. That includes swimming, diving and children wading.

Now, Ms. Taylor said, action is required to meet standards set by the state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and this project is being done to determine if primary contact recreation is the appropriate category.

Prior to June 2010, there were two recreational categories — contact and noncontact — but there is now primary contact, as well as secondary contact 1 and 2, she said.

Ms. Taylor previously said each level allows for various levels of bacteria, so secondary contact 1 would allow for more bacteria than primary contact, and secondary contact 2 would allow for more bacteria than secondary contact 1.

She said secondary contact 1 recreation includes activities such as boating, skipping rocks, picnicking, adult wading, canoeing and fishing. Similar activities would occur in an area categorized as secondary contact 2, but less frequently because of environmental factors.

In order to find out which category best fits the Prairie Creek, Mud Creek, West Mud Creek and Neches River Above Lake Palestine watersheds, the conservation board and the TIAER want stakeholders and community members to weigh in on what they see as far as recreational use there, Ms. Taylor previously said.

"Our job is to either confirm or dispute that they are being used for primary contact recreation," she added.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Millican, with the TIAER, displayed photos taken during a Recreational Use Attainability Analysis survey.

He said the survey, conducted this summer, showed that fishing is primarily all that is occurring in these bodies of water.

For more information, visit http://tiaer.tarleton.edu/ruaa/index.html or contact Ms. Taylor at 254-968-0513 or ltaylor@tiaer.tarleton.edu. Millican may be contacted at 254-968-9978 or jmillican@tiaer.tarleton.edu.

 

 
 

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