Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 11, 2001
Range managers study salt cedar removal effort
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- Over 140 people traveled to Mentone
on Wednesday to take a look at the progress of the fight to destroy the
salt cedars that line the Pecos River.
The Texas Section of the Society Range Management hosted the tour that
made a stop at the Mentone Bridge on State Highway 302, about 20 miles
north of Pecos, as part of their annual meeting taking place this year
Many researchers, state officials, extension agents, water district
managers that have been or will be involved in the salt cedar removal project,
as well as numerous ranchers, were on hand when the three tour buses made
the stop in Mentone.
While the group gathered under the shade of the bridge, many scientists
and researchers gave a report of the progress that has been made in the
past three years.
Reeves County Extension Agent Terry Holder said that the group just
took the day to tour the river sites to get firsthand knowledge of the
progress and effort of the salt cedar clean-up.
"We're touring the Pecos River Ecosystem Restoration," he said. "We're
showing what we have sprayed with Arsenal and how it is helping the river,
water quality and water quantity."
The salt cedar is an invasive tree species that consumes large amounts
of water and excretes salt into the surrounding water and soil.
According to some of the researchers, the salt cedar was introduced
in the United States as an ornamental plant that was used in the Western
states to help control erosion and since has taken over the banks of the
Pecos River. It has also spread to other rivers across Texas, and officials
are hoping if the Pecos River eradication project is a success, that similar
efforts can begin in other parts of the state.
The salt cedars have been treated with a herbicide called Arsenal, developed
and manufactured by the BASF Corporation. The first trees were sprayed
in September 1999, with additional areas sprayed each of the past two Septembers.
Texas A&M Extension Range Specialist Charles Hart said that over
the three-year span of treatment there have been a few problems with the
He explained that at first there was not a good way to treat the salt
cedars because the placement of the trees along the river.
"We are dealing with such a narrow band of area," he said.
After several tries with crop dusting and double flying the herbicide,
Hart said that the use of a helicopter has worked and has enabled them
to "get more consistent control" of the treatments.
Donnie Dippel, assistant commissioner for pesticide programs under the
Texas Department of Agriculture, said that Red Bluff Water Power Control
District money was used to treat the salt cedars for the first two years
but now, in the third year of treatment, the state has designated $1 million
for the project.
Only $220,000 of the $1 million has been used for the treatment leaving
$780,000 to be used next year, according to Dippel, which he hopes would
be enough to treat the remaining amount of the Pecos River.
"We hope to go down to the Rio Grande River," he said.
Hart and other researchers involved in the project continued to give
presentations on the amount of research that has been done and is currently
being done to determine the effects of the salt cedar and how the destruction
on over 120 river miles has changed the Pecos River.
Hart also explained how the state keeps track of the water flow from
Red Bluff Lake, through seven water districts, to Girvin, a small town
southwest of McCamey.
He said that they keep track of what is released from Red Bluff and
delivered to each water district and what ends up in Girvin as well as
the amount of rainfall that is received.
Hart said that the extensive tracking of the water is to help them try
to get an estimate of how much water the salt cedars absorb.
Salt cedars spread both through seeds and roots making them hard to
However, Hart is pleased at the success of the treatments so far, and
according to a BASF news release, 85 to 90 percent of the treated areas
are under control.
Hart explained that the he would be willing to continue the treatments
and maintenance along the river as long at the Red Bluff district is interested
in controlling the salt cedars.
No plans are being made right now to remove the dead salt cedars until
the natural vegetation has been able to grow back and stabilize the riverbanks.
"Right now the objective is to leave them there until the bank is stable,"
Engineer sought for sewer project by City Council
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City Council is planning
to advertise for engineering services for sewer improvements after approving
the proposal during their regular meeting this morning at City Hall.
City Manager Carlos Yerena informed the council that the city would
provide a list of criteria that the city would expect from the engineers.
Yerena said that the advertisement for services would begin before the
city's Economically Distressed Area Programs (EDAP) grant application is
approved so the city would not have to wait longer to advertise and start
"It's contingent on us receiving the grant award," he said.
City Utilities Director Octavio Garcia said that the plans include installing
a few new lift stations because of the elevation of the wells.
Yerena explained that the city would install three new lift stations,
seven manholes and construct some new sewer lines.
He said that the project would not exceed $310,000.
The city is planning to advertise for engineering services over the
next two weeks but Yerena explained that the engineer would not start until
the Texas Water Development Board approves the city's application.
Yerena said that he believes the state board should make the decision
either to approve or deny the application by December but feels that they
would approve it.
"They feel comfortable with it," he said. "Right now we anticipate to
know (the decision) by the end of the year."
The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance that would
set rules for on-site sewage facilities.
The ordinance allows the city to designate a person to enforce the health
codes involving septic tanks on property.
Yerena said that the city would designate Health Director Armando Gil
to inspect the on-site systems as well as give out permits for the septic
"This is a standard procedure," he said. "The ordinance gives us the
authorization to designate the city representative, in this case the health
director, to give out permits."
The council tabled discussion of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation
budget until the next meeting so that a PEDC representative could be present.
In other business, the council approved the second reading of the adoption
of the provision affecting the Texas Municipal Retirement System, which
changed the number of years of service before eligibility for retirement
from 25 years to 20 years.
The council also approved the juvenile court report, accounts payable
and minutes from the previous meeting.
Board given timetable for school rehab work
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- Schedules and cost estimates for renovations
to a number of campus projects were discussed and approved during the regular
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting held Tuesday evening.
Monte Hunter, with Hunter Corral Associates, Inc. provided a chart for
board members on the planning session, when proposals would be due and
when construction was set to begin on each of the projects. The timetable
was set after voters opted to keep the district's $1.50 tax rate in last
month's state-mandated tax rollback election.
"This chart shows when actual construction time will be and gives you
a general idea of how the project will be approached," said Hunter.
The projects involved are the Bessie Haynes and Crockett Middle School
HVAC/renovation project, Pecos High School tennis court renovation and
Pecos High School building renovations, Pecos Kindergarten carpet project
and Lamar AEP school roofing
The Bessie Haynes asbestos removal will be done over winter holiday
break, according to Hunter. "We'll take the asbestos out and put the new
ceiling in over Christmas vacation," said Hunter.
Bessie Haynes and Crockett Middle School will also be getting a new
air conditioning system during that time as well.
"We want to consolidate these two to get a better price," said Hunter.
Hunter told board members that carpet replacement at the Pecos Kindergarten
would follow the same schedule.
Asbestos removal will be done at the Pecos High School auditorium during
the Christmas break and roofing repairs will be made in January, with a
new air conditioning being a part of the project.
Tennis court repairs at the high school are scheduled for December and
January, with the Lamar roofing project set for February.
Hunter also provided the group with an update on the district's CATE
Building, which is currently nearing completion.
"The inside is finished and it's ready to be moved into," said Hunter.
Hunter said he would do a walk-through and do a punch-list of items
that still need to be re-done or completed to the computer technology building
on South Eddy Street.
"It's coming along great and on schedule," he said.
In other action Tuesday, board members approved a Reading Academy for
students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
"This year they've incorporated math into the classes," said PBT-ISD
Superintendent Don Love.
Reading/math academy will be held during the Fall and Spring semester
for a total of 21 instructional days per semester.
Dates will be: for the Fall semester, Oct. 15-Dec. 6 and for the Spring
semester, Jan. 14-March 5.
The academy is held three days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Selection of students to participate in the program: lower quartile
of each group per grade level and teacher recommendation.
An early release date for March 28, 2002 was approved by the board.
Pecos will be hosting the annual UIL meet during that week.
Board members also approved the disposal or trade-in of a golf cart
that is no longer necessary for the operation of the school district.
Big bucks bus passenger ends up with stop in jail
By ROSIE FLORES\
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- One man carrying a large sum of money
was not very lucky Tuesday after he was arrested in Midland and over $100,000
in cash was confiscated.
Officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and the Midland County
Sheriff's Department while working on bus interdiction arrested the man
and seized the $108,020 he allegedly was carrying.
Saul Morales, 29, who was traveling on an Americano bus, was arrested
on money laundering charges, a first-degree felony. He was traveling from
Fort Worth to El Paso.
"He was carrying the money on his body," said Trans Pecos Drug Task
Force Lieutenant Larry Arredondo.
Arredondo said that the Texas Attorney General Office's money laundering
department is going to help with the continuing investigation.
"The investigation will continue and there could possibly be more arrests,"
"The officers of the task force have been doing bus investigations and
have been very successful in arresting people for crimes committed whether
narcotics or money laundering cases," said Arredondo. "This is money that
is used for criminal activity or is connected to a crime."
Teddy bears sought by services for NYC residents
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- Victim Services in Reeves County are seeking
Teddy Bear donations between now and next Monday to assist the victims
of New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
The Teddy Bears will be given to the school children and adults as well.
"The Teddy Bear is an object outside of one's self that reminds one
of being cared for, soothed, matured and it is kind of tie, an emotional
blood bank," said Susie Saenz, with the Victims Services office.
Needed are new Teddy Bears, not used, small (24 inches of less) and
each one should include a personal note for the victim who gets it.
The Teddy Bears are to be taken to the Adult Probation Office, 700-A
Daggett and the deadline is Monday, Oct. 15.
For more information contact Saenz at 915-447-6600.
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 11, 2001 -- High Wednesday 90. Low this morning 50.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. South winds 5 to 15
mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 80. West winds 10 to 20 mph, then
turning cooler in the afternoon with temperatures falling to around 70.
Winds shifting north and increasing 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.
Friday night: Decreasing winds. Otherwise mostly clear. Lows 4 to 50. Saturday:
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s. Sunday: Partly cloudy and turning
colder. Lows 50 to 55. Highs in the 60s.
Valeria Vela Sanchez
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise