Texas Institute for Environmental Sustainability
The Environmental Science and Environmental Management group have incorporated many field components to the program in the past four years. Locations for field trips have expanded and include:
Pecos River TX-NM
Upper Basin near Pecos, NM
Middle Basin near Pecos, TC and Carlsbad, NM
The Pecos River provides the program with an exception opportunity to see water resources management problems resolved in extreme circumstances. The Pecos Basin is characterized as a draught plagued, over used, and under supplied water resource shared by rival states. We have looked at issues along the middle and upper basin areas of the river for eight years now. On our trips we meet with forest service personnel, fisheries and wildlife personnel, river systems professionals, and water district personnel. The Pecos is also suffering from salt cedar infestation and two sections offer first hand looks at remediation efforts.
The Pecos River is plagued by salt cedar. A seven mile reach along the banks in the middle part of the basin has been sprayed with a defoliant the purpose was an attempt to control that infestation. You can see that some of the salt cedar is growing back after a few year absence. You can also see the devastation that results fro= the killing of hundreds of salt cedar plants.
Taylor Park – Gunnison County, CO
Headwaters of the Gunnison River
Taylor River and Taylor Reservoir
Recently, we have visited the Gunnison Country of west-central Colorado. We have focused on simple water measurement projects for temperature, pH, resistivity, and dissolved oxygen. We were able to see changes in these parameters reflective of rock changes and turbulence in the streams. This past summer most of the students were able to compare the Pecos River to the Gunnison River. These rivers are very different in nearly every measurable way. The rivers have substantial differences in water quality, quantity, and fish habitat.
Colorado River – AZ-UT
Grand Canyon-Lees Ferry, AZ
Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam
The group has made two summer visits to the Grand Canyon region of the Colorado River of the west. No river in North America has tighter control on every precious drop of water than the Colorado. Two colossal dams – Hoover and Glen Canyon offer close-up looks of the operations of these gigantic dams. Incredible lakes are found behind these dams too – Lake Meade and Lake Powell. This experience is a hard one because the climates are extreme and physically demanding to see the river and experience the region.
The primary control apparatus on the Pecos River in New Mexico is here below the Sumner Dan near Santa Rosa, NM. Precipitation measurements and the release of Pecos River water are critical to this opertion. The group is investigating the weir structure that monitors the release of Pecos River water out of Lake Sumner.