Texas Coastal Watershed Program releases WaterSmart video series

October 05, 2016

By Tiffany Evans

HOUSTON — The Texas Coastal Watershed Program (TCWP), a partner of the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, recently released a series of videos to educate homeowners about low-maintenance, low-cost and low-impact landscaping techniques.

The five short WaterSmart landscaping videos are available at http://watersmart.tamu.edu/watersmart-videos/. WaterSmart is an approach to landscaping based on three principles — water conservation, water quality and habitat for wildlife — that are described in more detail in the first video in the series.

The use of native plants is featured in two videos, one aimed at Texas residents and the other for viewers anywhere. “Gardeners, landscapers and homeowners can get great results from their landscaping projects if they use native plants from their area, because they are the best suited for local climate and soil conditions,” said Charriss York, TCWP Stormwater Program Specialist. “Native plants tend to require less watering and don’t need chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides to thrive.” Native plants also naturally complement each other to function as an ecosystem that is more drought- and flood-tolerant and provides better wildlife habitat.

Another video focuses on composting, an easy way to add nutrients to the soil, which helps to improve soil structure and increase its moisture-holding abilities. Composting recycles organic material such as grass, yard clippings, non-animal kitchen scraps and paper through controlled decomposition. As the organic materials decompose, they turn into a rich, dark humus material that improves all soil types.

The final video explains WaterSmart irrigation, which is the practice of applying water to landscapes only where and when it is needed and thus reducing runoff into storm sewers, drainage ditches or waterways.

The videos were produced by Luke McKibben and Justin Raddatz of Apo Metis Media and funded by grants to TCWP from the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. John Ferguson and Mark Bowen of Nature’s Way Resources and York and Stephanie Hendrickson of TCWP’s WaterSmart Program assisted with their production.

For more information about WaterSmart practices, contact York at 281-694-5508 or cyork@tamu.edu, or Hendrickson at 832-742-1161 or shendrickson@tamu.edu.

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.