Company seeks public comment in modeling Marathon Aquifer

MARATHON — A team with the Austin-based firm Daniel B. Stephens & Associates is working on building a conceptual model of the Marathon Aquifer, and they’re looking for public input in the process.

Today (Thursday, Dec. 3) and tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 4), the group is holding multiple forums at the Marathon High School Library to answer questions and inform the public on the project. Among those topics for those forums are information on the project schedule, the “basics of groundwater flow in the aquifer,”  and a “request [for] relevant scientific data,” according to a news release from the company.

Each presentation will start with a video and then will allow for a 30-minute question-and-answer session. Company staff will be available to answer questions at the meeting, and a representative for the Texas Water Development Board will also be attending remotely.

Due to statewide coronavirus restrictions, attendance for each forum is capped at a maximum of 10 people, and organizers are asking that “to the extent possible, only one representative from each interested family/property attend.” But at press time, there were still a number of slots available.

As of Tuesday, the group had one slot available for its forum Thursday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. Two additional slots are available for an event later that day, at 6 p.m.

On Friday, Dec. 4, one forum scheduled for 1 p.m. is already at-capacity. But the group also has another forum scheduled for 3 p.m., which at press time had five spots available.

Those interested in RSVPing for any of the forums can contact Danielle Gallo by email at dgallo@geo-logic.com or by phone at 432-244-8446. People who cannot attend the event can view it remotely at the TWDB YouTube channel. There will also be a summary of the events, including questions and answers, posted afterwards at https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/models/gam/mrtn/mrtn.asp.

Daniel B. Stephens & Associates also welcomes the public to reach out directly if they are interested in the project or have any questions. People can reach Stephanie Moore, a hydrologist on the project, by email at smoore@geo-logic.com or by phone at 512-651-6013.

People are also welcome to contact the Texas Water Development Board, which is also involved with this project. The TWDB’s main contact for this project is Jean Perez, who can be reached via email at jean.perez@twdb.texas.gov  or by phone at 512-936-0870.

In 2001, Texas lawmakers asked TWDB to obtain or develop “groundwater availability models” for all major and minor aquifers in Texas and to ramp up coordination with water conservation districts and other local water officials. Those rules paved the way for this project, with TWDB hiring Daniel B. Stephens & Associates to help.

Technically, the Marathon Aquifer is considered a “minor aquifer,” according to a news release from the company. This project aims to give the public and water planners a better sense of how the aquifer depletes and replenishes.


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