Natural Resources Training Program

About the Courses

Computer Modeling Trainings

Introduction to ArcGIS 10

Introduction to ArcGIS 10 teaches the range of functionality available in the software and the essential tools for visualizing, creating, managing, and analyzing geographic data. The handson course exercises emphasize practice with ArcMap and ArcCatalog to perform common GIS tasks and workflows. The tools for creating and managing geographic data, displaying data on maps in different ways, and combining and analyzing data to discover patterns and relationships are highlighted. By the end of the course, you will be prepared to start working with the software on your own.

Find more information about the Introduction to ArcGIS 10 course.

Introduction to Modeling Training

The workshop will provide watershed coordinators with an introduction to watershed modeling. Training topics include:

  • Purposes and limitations of different models
  • Timelines
  • Data needs (watershed characterization, water quality information)
  • Cost estimates
  • Literature values vs. monitoring
  • Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs)
  • Request for bids
  • Presenting models to stakeholders
  • Contractor interaction with stakeholder groups

Registration fee includes course materials and a certificate of completion. Continuing education units (CEUs) will be provided upon course completion.

View more information about the training.

Watershed Modeling using LDC/SELECT Training

Load Duration Curves (LDCs) provide a graphical representation of stream flow and pollutant loading whereby real data can be compared to a stream's maximum allowable load to indicate reductions needed and help identify the type of pollutant load (i.e. point source vs. nonpoint source).

The Spatially Explicit Load Enrichment Calculation Tool (SELECT) provides a spatially explicit analysis of land use/land cover, animals/humans in watersheds, and other parameters to assess/determine potential sources of bacteria.

The models are being used for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and watershed protection plan development. This two-day course will provide an introduction and in-depth overview on LDCs and SELECT. In addition, a demonstration and hands-on assignment for each will be provided. The course will also include discussions on how modeling correlates with watershed-based planning efforts.

Continuing education units (CEUs) will be provided upon course completion.

For more information about SELECT model or to register visit:

Watershed Planning and Stakeholder Outreach Trainings

Fundamentals of Developing a Water Quality Monitoring Plan
The workshop will cover monitoring for (1) watershed characterization and (2) evaluation of water quality improvements and BMP effectiveness from implementation activities. Training topics include:
  • Data quality objectives
  • Identifying available data
  • Determining data gaps and needs
  • Monitoring plan development to meet data quality objectives and support modeling
  • Selecting monitoring types, locations, equipment and laboratory analysis
  • Obtaining stakeholder input
  • Developing QAPPs for monitoring and acquiring data
  • Workshop portion for collaboratively creating monitoring plans

For more information visit:

Getting in Step Workshop

Getting in Step: A Workshop on Educating and Motivating Audiences to Protect Water Quality Workshop Goal: Improve the effectiveness of nonpoint source (NPS) outreach in Texas to reduce nonpoint source and stormwater pollution, improve water quality on a priority watershed basis, and facilitate greater NPS TMDL and watershed-based plan implementation.


  • Increase outreach and social marketing knowledge and skills of attendees
  • Identify opportunities for agencies and organizations to partner to conduct and improve outreach efforts
  • Promote the adoption of social marketing and outcome-based methods to improve effectiveness of outreach efforts targeted at adults
Key EPA Internet Tools Course

The Key EPA Internet-Based Tools for Watershed Management is a comprehensive, two-part course designed to familiarize users with powerful watershed management tools provided online by US EPA. These tools are a powerful resource for novice and master watershed planners alike.

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Stakeholder Facilitation Training

Effective stakeholder engagement is a powerful tool to address watershed issues and has gained momentum in recent years because of the nature of the water quality problems we face today. Solving these problems requires the commitment and participation of stakeholders throughout the watershed. Stakeholder engagement is more than just holding a public hearing or seeking public comment on a new regulation. Effective stakeholder engagement provides a method for identifying public concerns and values, developing consensus among affected parties, and producing efficient and effective solutions through an open, inclusive process.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for conducting a successful stakeholder engagement program, there are common elements to consider when working with stakeholders.  This workshop will highlight tools used to effectively identify, engage, and involve stakeholders throughout a watershed to restore and maintain healthy environmental conditions. Key concepts to be highlighted include the following:

  • Identifying driving forces
  • Forming a stakeholder group
  • Differentiating between positions and needs
  • Keeping the process moving forward
  • Dealing with conflict and hidden agendas
  • Making decisions using a consensus-based approach
Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education

Trainings will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones and the benefits and direct economic impacts from healthy riparian zones. The riparian education programs will cover an introduction to riparian principles, watershed processes, basic hydrology, erosion/deposition principles, and riparian vegetation, as well as potential causes of degradation and possible resulting impairment(s), and available local resources including technical assistance and tools that can be employed to prevent and/or resolve degradation.

These one-day trainings in watersheds across the state will include both indoor classroom presentations and outdoor stream walks.

View more information about the program.

Texas Watershed Coordinator Roundtable

Water professionals are invited to attend Texas Watershed Coordinator Roundtables, held biannually, to:

  • Provide a forum for establishing and maintaining dialogue between watershed coordinators,
  • Facilitate interactive solutions to common watershed issues faced throughout the state, and
  • Add to the fundamental knowledge conveyed at the Texas Watershed Planning Short Courses.

For more information on previous Roundtables, visit,

Texas Watershed Planning Short Course

Comprehensive watershed protection plans that outline strategies for preserving or restoring watersheds have become the accepted approach to protecting Texas surface waters. Using a watershed approach to restore impaired water bodies addresses the problems in a holistic manner, and stakeholders in the watershed are actively involved in developing the management strategies and plans.

The goal of the Texas Watershed Planning Short Course is to equip watershed coordinators and water professionals with the tools they need to plan, coordinate and implement watershed protection efforts. This four-day course will cover:

  • Partnership Building
  • Identifying Solutions
  • Watershed Characterization
  • Designing an Implementation Program

Individuals interested in or responsible for watershed protection and restoration including employees and volunteers with federal, state, county, and local agencies; soil and water conservation districts; universities; consulting firms; non-governmental organizations; and watershed groups will benefit from this course. This course will be especially beneficial to those pursuing or receiving Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant funds, as the course provides guidance on meeting EPA's nine key elements of a watershed protection plan.

For more information visit:

Completed Courses

Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX)

The Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was developed for use in whole farm/small watershed management. The model was constructed to evaluate various land management strategies considering sustainability, erosion (wind, sheet, and channel), economics, water supply and quality, soil quality, plant competition, weather and pests. APEX can simulate agricultural, rangeland and forestland management practices to assess water quantity and quality implications. APEX can also be used as a tool along with TMDL implementation strategies.

This two-day course introduces users to the science behind the model, practical applications and various case studies.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be awarded for completion of the course.

For more information about APEX or to register visit:

Floodplain Delineation with HEC-RAS and GIS

With increasing property losses due to flood damage, floodplain management and flood hazard mapping are becoming more critical for hazard managers. One tool used to assist hazard managers is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center's HEC-RAS software program. This program is a widely used tool for various open-channel hydraulics analysis and design tasks. In addition, the Hydrologic Engineering Center's HEC-GeoRAS program is a very popular add-on within the ArcGIS platform. This program is used to develop and map the results of HEC-RAS analyses.

This two and a half-day course will focus on the fundamental concepts of open-channel hydraulics and include hands-on applications of the HEC-RAS and HEC-GeoRAS software packages. Instructors will discuss steady and unsteady flow simulations using HEC-RAS and the delineation and mapping of floodplains using the HEC-GeoRAS tool.

Civil engineers and floodplain managers seeking to learn about floodplain analysis using the HEC-RAS and HEC-GeoRAS software programs will benefit from this course.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be awarded for completion of the course.

Irrigation Training Program (ITP)

The Irrigation Training Program (ITP) provided irrigation water management training to farmers, consultants, educators and agency personnel in Texas. Because of the vast diversity of agriculture throughout the state, the program's curriculum was tailored to specific regions, taking into account local irrigation practices, cropping systems and climate.

The Texas Water Development Board, through its Agricultural Water Conservation Grant program, provided funds to the Texas Water Resources Institute to develop this statewide Irrigation Training Program to help farmers and others learn about efficient tools and techniques of irrigation management. In collaboration with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and its network of local soil and water conservation districts, and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a comprehensive program was developed and implemented during 2008 and 2009.

Six training programs were held throughout the state in Lubbock, Chillicothe, Mercedes, Sinton, Hondo and Amarillo during 2008 and 2009. Additionally, a comprehensive curriculum notebook was developed and contains many of the resources and information available to producers in a one-stop shop location. Two editions, a North Texas and South Texas edition were developed and printed.

For access to these materials and/or to order CDs of the manuals (for free) visit:

Modeling of Water Distribution Systems using EPANet

Computer modeling of water distribution systems has become a standard practice for design and analysis. Modeling can be a valuable tool for problems as varied as energy use optimization, fire flow vulnerability assessment, water quality analysis, contamination scenario simulation, long-term facility planning, and pump operations scheduling, among many others.

EPANet is a public-domain software developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and available free of charge. It includes a powerful set of features and an easy to use graphical user interface. The EPANet Toolkit is a "packaged" version of the simulation engine that allows users to write their own custom computer codes for even greater flexibility.

This course will focus on fundamental concepts of pressure conduit system modeling and implementation of modeling application using EPANet and the EPANet Toolkit. Participants will work through several hands-on exercises using the EPANet software and be taught basic techniques to use the EPANet Toolkit from the Visual Basic for Applications module of Microsoft Excel.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be awarded for completion of the course.

River/Reservoir System Modeling with WRAP Course

The Water Rights Analysis Package (WRAP) is a generalized modeling system for simulating the development, management, allocation, and use of the water resources of a river basin. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Water Availability Modeling (WAM) System consists of WRAP along with input datasets for all of the river basins of Texas.

WRAP may also be applied anywhere in the world with input datasets developed for the particular river/reservoir system of concern. WRAP is used in regional and statewide planning, preparation, and approval of water right permit applications, system operations studies, and various other river/reservoir system management activities.

The two and a half-day Introductory WRAP Course is designed for engineers and scientists employed by water agencies and consulting firms. The training is oriented toward new WRAP users but will also be beneficial for those with moderate experience or those with past experience who would like to refresh their skills. Lectures, discussions, and computer modeling exercises will cover WRAP in its entirety, focusing on fundamentals. The objective is for course participants to obtain a thorough understanding of the modeling system and proficiency in its application.

The two-day Advanced WRAP Course covers advanced aspects of WRAP, related specifically to simulations using daily time steps. The course focuses on the daily-time step simulations with WRAP and will includes computer modeling exercises. Course participants are expected to have proficiency with the monthly time-step features of WRAP. Participants will gain a thorough understanding of the modeling system features that are pertinent to building daily time step input data, selecting simulation parameters and analyzing simulation output.

The public domain WRAP software and reference, users, and supplemental manuals are available at
Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Workshops

The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a river basin scale model developed to quantify the impact of land management practices in large, complex watersheds. SWAT is a public domain model actively supported by the USDA - Agricultural Research Service, Environmental Protection Agency, environmental consulting firms, Texas River Authorities and universities.

The two and a half-day Introductory SWAT Workshop will introduce new users to the model, review necessary and optional inputs, and familiarize the user with the ArcGIS interfaces. It is assumed that attendees have a working knowledge of ArcGIS.

The two and a half-day Advanced SWAT Workshop will cover sensitivity analysis, model calibration, and uncertainty analysis using the 2009 version of SWAT with an ArcGIS interface. In addition, the course will be devoted to discussion of participant's individual model issues (e.g. model setup, scenarios, calibration, and validation).

Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be awarded for completion of the course.

For more information about SWAT model or to register visit:

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