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Jarbo Bayou: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Jarbo Bayou in Galveston County. The stakeholders and the TCEQ are developing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and an implementation plan, which together will be the road map for improving water quality.
photo of Jarbo Bayou

Jarbo Bayou

County: Galveston
Parameter: Bacteria
Coastal Basins: Bays and Estuaries
Segment: 2425A

Background and Goals

Jarbo Bayou, located in Galveston Bayou, is a tributary of Clear Lake. Since 2002, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in the bayou. The presence of these bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the bayou—activities referred to as “contact recreation” in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.

The goal of this project is to improve water quality to protect people who swim in the bayou. Toward that goal, the TCEQ and stakeholders are developing a TMDL and an I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Jarbo Bayou. A TMDL is like a budget—it determines the amount (or load) of bacteria that the bayou can receive and still support recreational safety. Its implementation plan outlines the things stakeholders will do to reduce pollutant loads and what parties will be responsible for those activities.

After careful deliberation, the Stakeholder Coordination Committee decided to petition to join the Bacteria Implementation Group (a well-established project in the nearby area) and is now taking steps toward that goal.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Houston–Galveston Area Council Exit the TCEQ have been working with stakeholder communities, interest groups, and local organizations to distribute information about this project. The H-GAC has also been supporting stakeholders in developing a plan for watershed improvement through multiple public meetings, forming a Coordination Committee to guide the decision-making process, and work group meetings to drive the technical aspects of the project.

Find out more about what it means to participate in TMDL projects.

Next Meeting

Joint meeting of the Coordination Committees for Jarbo Bayou and the East and West Forks San Jacinto River with the BIG Coordination and Policy Work Group.

March 30, 2015
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Houston-Galveston Area Council
Conference Room A, Second Floor
3555 Timmons Ln
Houston 77027

The focus for this meeting will be to discuss the request from stakeholders of the East and West Fork of the San Jacinto River TMDL and Jarbo Bayou TMDL to join their watersheds to the BIG for implementing their TMDLs.

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Photo Gallery

Stakeholder Meeting, December 12, 2013




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For More Information

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Jarbo Bayou bacteria project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

communities working together taking care of our rivers, lakes, and bays

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