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Meeting to focus on Mokelumne River

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Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:08 am, Wed May 9, 2012.

Lodi residents can learn about the health of the Mokelumne River and the city's groundwater supply at a meeting Thursday night.

At the meeting, the Storm Drain Detectives, a group of Lodi High School students, will present the 2011-12 Mokelumne River water quality data they collected twice monthly between September 2011 and this month at five local river sites.

The group of 70 students have been working with the Public Works Department in four groups to gather the data. The students will explain the data, and also show how stormwater runoff from the last year has affected the river.

The detectives program was initiated in 2001 using funds from a State Water Resources Control Board fine levied against the White Slough wastewater treatment plant. The Storm Drain Detectives program meets the state board's requirements for public education and involvement, said Kathy Grant, the Watershed Education Coordinator for Public Works.

"I hope that people will get educated, that they will learn from their own children about the impact on the river this year alone," Grant said. "I hope that people can learn about how to be better stewards in their own homes, and that they can create a landscape that uses water wisely."

During the meeting, there will also be a raffle for water conservation prizes.

For the first time, the public will also be able to pick up "The Lower Mokelumne River Watershed User's Guide," a self-assessment tool to help homeowners figure out how they may be wasting water, and what they can do to improve conservation.

The meeting will close with a presentation by keynote speaker Kerrie Reid, a UC Cooperative Extension horticulture adviser, whose presentation entitled "Good Gardening in Lodi — River Friendly Practices" will provide information on how homeowners can make riverand water-wise choices in their gardens.

Grant said the city of Lodi uses an average of 220 gallons per person, per day. This is higher than the state average of 190 gallons.

"We are overdrafting by the state average. We hope to show that you can create a beautiful landscape without wasting water," Grant said. "If people get rid of at least some of their grass, and go to drought-tolerant plants, then we can cut our water bills, and conserve at the same time."

The three-hour meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Lodi Public Library, 201 W. Locust St., during the monthly Lake Nature Area Docents' meeting.

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