Tres Palacios Creek watershed is part of the larger Matagorda Bay watershed along the Texas Gulf Coast. The tidal portion of the creek, which primarily occupies part of Matagorda and Wharton counties, is currently designated by the state as impaired because of elevated bacteria concentrations periodically found there.
Due to this water quality impairment, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) worked with Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and local stakeholders to develop a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the watershed. A TMDL is a scientifically determined “budget” that defines how much of a particular pollutant a water body can handle and still meet water quality standards. The TMDL is also a document that describes this budget and allocates the pollutant load.
TWRI along with local stakeholders are developing a watershed-based strategy to reduce bacterial pollution and improve water quality in the Tres Palacios Creek. Together they are developing a watershed protection plan (WPP) and a TMDL implementation-plan (I-Plan).
The WPP will
- identify potential sources of water quality impairments and concerns,
- identify feasible voluntary management measures to reduce pollutant loads reaching the Tres Palacios,
- develop milestones and a schedule for implementation, and
- develop measurable progress indicators.
The I-Plan, being developed concurrently with the WPP, will describe how the TMDL will be achieved and is specific to the bacteria impairment identified in the TMDL.