Background and Goals
Plum Creek rises in Hays County north of Kyle and runs south through Caldwell County, passing Lockhart and Luling, and eventually joins the San Marcos River at their confluence at the Caldwell-Gonzales County line. The main stem of Plum Creek is a 52 river mile segment with a drainage area of approximately 397 square miles. Major tributaries to Plum Creek in the watershed include: Brushy Creek, Clear Fork of Plum Creek, West Fork of Plum Creek, Elm Creek, Dry Creek, Porter Creek, Tenney Creek and Salt Branch.
According to the Draft 2006 Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List, Plum Creek (Segment 1810) exhibits elevated nutrient levels and is impaired by elevated bacteria concentrations for contact recreation uses. These water quality issues, in conjunction with land use across the watershed, increasing urban development, oil and gas production and potential for agricultural nonpoint source pollution, were considered when Plum Creek was selected for the WPP process.
Texas Stream Team Activities in Plum Creek
To promote youth education and involvement in the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership, a water quality monitoring service learning program is in place. The program was initiated and is led by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA). Current partner schools include Negley Elementary, Tobias Elementary, Hemphill Elementary, Science Hall Elementary, Plum Creek Elementary, Clear Fork Elementary, and Luling Shanklin Elementary. Science teachers at each school are trained in basic water quality monitoring techniques. In addition, classroom instruction is delivered to students covering watersheds, nonpoint source pollution, and the Plum Creek project. Water monitoring test kits, supplies, poster-sized watershed maps, and student workbooks are donated to the schools by the GBRA.
As part of the service learning program, Texas Stream Team staff has trained several teachers from the Luling and Lockhart school districts in the past year. Texas Stream Team staff has also facilitated several elementary school trainings in the watershed to a total of 255 students. These dedicated teachers and students have now begun monitoring Plum Creek for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, conductivity, nitrates, and phosphates. In addition, Texas Stream Team participated in a river clean-up on Plum Creek at Steeplechase Park in Kyle, TX in March 2009.