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Armand Bayou: Evaluating Water Quality for Aquatic Life

A completed project to assess dissolved oxygen and support of aquatic life in Armand Bayou.

County: Harris
Parameter: Dissolved oxygen
Coastal Basin: San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal
Segment: 1113

Background and Goals

Armand Bayou is a tidal tributary of Clear Lake, located in the San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal Basin. Armand Bayou is rich in plant and animal life and attracts canoeists, kayakers, fishermen, and birdwatchers daily. There are several parks and other recreational areas along Armand Bayou, including Bay Area Park and Armand Bayou Nature Center.

Since monitoring began during the 1970s, water quality testing has indicated that concentrations of dissolved oxygen in Armand Bayou were sometimes less than optimal for the support of fish and other aquatic life. Oxygen, which dissolves in water, is essential for the survival of aquatic life.

While the amount of dissolved oxygen in water fluctuates naturally, various human activities can cause unusually or chronically low dissolved-oxygen levels which may harm fish and other aquatic organisms. Over the past 50 years, land-surface subsidence has dramatically altered regional drainage gradients and the depth and width of Armand Bayou.

The project evaluated the effects of low dissolved oxygen on aquatic life to determine the actions necessary to improve water quality in the lake.

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Public Participation

An ad hoc stakeholder group was formed during the project under the auspices of the Texas Sea Grant of Texas A&M University. This group continues to meet intermittently to identify ways to protect Armand Bayou. For more information about this group, contact Michi Vojta at Texas Sea Grant, 281/335-3170 or Or visit the website Exit the TCEQ for the Coastal Watershed Program of the Texas Sea Grant.

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Project Status and Implementation

Analyses of the data collected for the project revealed that concentrations of dissolved oxygen are often relatively low during hot weather, but also found no indication of aquatic-life impairment or limitation related to the dissolved-oxygen regime. The data set has several unconventional aspects that are related to unique hydraulic characteristics of the Armand Bayou system.

A TMDL allocation related to dissolved oxygen is not deemed appropriate at this time, since available data do not indicate impairment of the aquatic life community, nor identify a pollutant that needs to be controlled. Additional data are needed to provide satisfactory understanding of the causes and effects of the Armand Bayou dissolved-oxygen regime.

The TCEQ will continue working to develop protocols suitable for evaluating dissolved oxygen and aquatic life conditions in tidal streams, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Armand Bayou dissolved oxygen project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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