Little Brazos River Bacteria Assessment

Elevated levels of fecal bacteria in Texas water bodies currently cause more than 50 percent of all water quality impairments in the state. These bacteria come from all warm-blooded animals and are found in all Texas water bodies regardless of their location or type. Because of these widespread bacteria impairments, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board established a joint task force to outline a methodology for effectively developing bacteria TMDLs to address these impairments and are now employing this process in several locations statewide.

In 2002, water quality data analysis determined that Campbells, Mud, Pin Oak, Spring and Walnut creeks - tributaries of the Little Brazos River (LBR) located in Robertson County - had bacteria concentrations that exceeded state water quality standards. These five creeks are now listed on the Texas Water Quality Inventory and ยง303(d) List for failing to meet their designated contact recreation uses. The creeks exhibit similar land cover and land use patterns and have similar water quality characteristics.

Through three partnered projects, 1) Assessment of Contact Recreation Use Impairments and Watershed Planning for Five Tributaries of the Little Brazos River, 2) Bacteria Source Tracking for Little Brazos River Tributaries Bacteria Assessment and 3) Modeling for Little Brazos River Tributaries Bacteria Assessment, project personnel are assessing water quality and sources and potential types of bacterial pollution in these watersheds along with the designated recreation uses. Findings from each project will be combined to formulate the final assessment for each of the LBR tributaries.

Read the project background and work plan for more information.

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