Gardening & Living in Grand Style
Goodbye, and thank you to our watershed coordinator…
by Michael Johnson
Dec 13, 2012 | 700 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tessa Groff
Tessa Groff
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Those of us living in the West understand how precious water is, and we know that having even an extra inch or two yearly above the average annual rainfall, or a change in when the moisture comes, really impacts our area. As such, it’s increasingly important to think about our area in relationship to our watershed.

To assist our community, the Utah Department of Water Quality (UDWQ) and USU Extension/Grand County entered into a cooperative agreement to hire a watershed coordinator for the Grand and San Juan region. Watershed coordinators are responsible for organizing watershed planning, education, and project implementation for the protection and restoration of local water resources. They provide technical and staff support to locally led watershed committees to help develop watershed management plans and provide information about state and federal regulations on water quality and assist in developing funding proposals.

They also coordinate and assist in water quality monitoring activities that aid in achieving water quality standards. So, in January 2011, Tessa Groff was hired as the Southeast Colorado River Watershed Coordinator. Now, while it seems she just started working with us other obligations are leading her to cut short her time here. In recognition of the work she’s done and the help she has provided, I would like to give an overview of what has been accomplished so far.

Tessa’s first task was to work with a newly formed watershed group now known as the Moab Area Watershed Partnership (MAWP). That group covers the Castle Valley and Moab/Spanish Valley areas and will be instrumental in determining how various state and federal grant funds are used to improve water quality in our area in the upcoming years. As part of the group Tessa created an outline for a local watershed management plan, gathered data, drafted sections of the plan and worked with various group partners on editing sections of the plan.

Tessa was instrumental in developing a Sampling Analysis Plan with the UDWQ that is being used for an intensive monitoring cycle of our local water bodies. She also assisted the UDWQ in its seasonal water quality monitoring by collecting and processing water chemistry samples. Additionally, she assisted the BLM in collecting and processing samples for its E. coli monitoring program. These programs are used to gather baseline data to better understand the current water quality conditions of our local water bodies.

Tessa wrote grants that were used to develop an informational brochure and website for MAWP – www.moabwatersheds.org – and also to develop and present an informational community program, “Water Quality and Non-Point Source Pollution,” which was presented to the public on Nov. 1 at the Grand Center. She also received funding for development of a kiosk being designed by one of the watershed partners.

Tessa also knows how important it is to educate our youth so she worked with the Girl Scouts marking the City of Moab storm drains, developed an Earth Day cleanup event with two Boy Scout troops and the 4-H Teen Council and developed and led 4-H summer programs where young people learned about water resources through a series of lessons on storm drains, non-point source pollution, macro-invertebrates and water quality issues.

As you can see, Tessa has been a major positive force in our community and she helped provide unbiased research-based information to the public. I can’t say enough about how I, and others, have been impressed with the work she has done and what a pleasure it has been working with her. We all wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Thought for the day: “Water is the driving force of all nature.” —Leonardo da Vinci.

For more information about these and other topics call the Utah State University Extension Grand County office at 259-7558 or email Mike Johnson at mike.johnson@usu.edu.

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