Watershed Protection Plans for Nonpoint Source Water Pollution
The TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) support the development and implementation of watershed protection plans (WPPs) that prevent or manage nonpoint source pollution. WPPs are developed through local stakeholder groups, usually with funding and technical assistance from the TCEQ and/or the TSSWCB, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A significant portion of Texas’ federal funding for managing nonpoint source pollution is dedicated to the development and implementation of WPPs and TMDL Implementation Plans.
See Texas Watershed Protection Plans for a list of watershed protection plans completed or in progress in Texas, indicating which ones have been accepted by EPA.
The Texas Watershed Planning Map (large PDF file - 20 MB) displays the watersheds in Texas for which WPPs have been developed or are being developed. A statewide map numbers these watersheds and color-codes them according to whether their development is principally supported by TCEQ, TSSWCB, or independently. The watershed names are listed by number below the map. This interactive statewide map allows you to select a watershed and link to a detailed map showing watershed boundary, major roads, cities, and the waterways within the watershed. Water bodies that are listed as impaired in the 2010 Texas 303(d) list are displayed in red.
All Watershed Protection Plans (WPPs) funded with CWA Section 319(h) grant funds will be required to meet EPA’s Nine Elements for Watershed-based Plans (WBPs). Before committing to the development of a WPP it is important to ensure sufficient data are available to characterize pollutant sources and address any obvious sources of pollution through means other than a WPP. Preferably, this determination is made before submitting an application. After this preliminary analysis, the TCEQ NPS Program recommends following these three major steps:
- (If necessary) Watershed Characterization – Monitoring (Data Collection)
- Watershed Characterization – Modeling or other method to estimate pollutant loads
- WPP Development
The approach taken to develop a WPP should be informed by stakeholder input. Outcomes of a given step often influence what activities are to occur in future steps. Each step generally takes about two years, though they may be shortened or lengthened depending on the nature of the work. Multiple steps may be combined into one application, and streamlined projects are preferred. However, applications are also evaluated based on whether timelines are realistic. Additional information on watershed planning projects can be found on the TCEQ WPP Webpage. TCEQ funding of one step does not obligate the agency to fund additional steps of WPP development for that watershed. EPA’s Nine Elements for WBPs are found in Appendix C of the Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories issued in April 2013.
Guidelines and requirements for developing WPPs are available in the current version of Region 6 EPA Review Guide for Watershed-Based Plans, and additional guidance is available in the U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Web page and in EPA's Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (PDF).
Contact the NPS Program by e-mail at email@example.com, or call 512-239-6682.