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Study Site

The Arroyo Colorado is one of the more complex watercourses in Texas. From its headwaters to its mouth, it has been extensively modified by the activities of man, which is reflected in both its hydrology and water quality. Watershed activities are principally agricultural, although the Arroyo also drains the urban areas of Harlingen, McAllen and other smaller communities who add their treated wastewater to the river. Its lowest reach is estuarine and issues into the Laguna Madre, an extremely productive, high salinity embayment lying behind the barrier of Padre Island.

The project's examination of the remediation and prevention of pesticide and fertilizer nonpoint source(NPS) pollution into the Arroyo Colorado includes two demonstration areas. One demonstration area will evaluate Best Management Practices (BMPs) applicable to the study area and their effectiveness in abating NPS pollution from irrigated row crops and vegetable production. The BMPs will include integrated nutrient and pesticide management combined with filter strips. The second area will demonstrate BMPs on non-irrigated cropland. The project will also provide information and technical material to the public in an effort to reduce NPS pollution by increasing public awareness. These public education activities will occur through seminars and workshops, demonstration tours, dissemination of printed material, development of a documentary videotape, research papers and use of the mass media.