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You are here: Home / Water Quality / Total Maximum Daily Load Program / Oso Creek: A TMDL Project to Protect Recreational Use

Oso Creek: A TMDL Project to Protect Recreational Use

A current project to protect recreational uses of the creek by reducing concentrations of bacteria in the water. The stakeholders are investigating ways to improve water quality, including a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and its implementation plan (I-Plan).
photo of Oso Creek
Oso Creek


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County: Nueces
Parameter: Bacteria
Coastal Basins: Bays and Estuaries, Nueces–Rio Grande Coastal Basin
Segment: 2485A

Background and Goals

Since 2002, water quality testing has found that concentrations of bacteria are elevated Oso Creek, which may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in it. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people come in direct contact with the water. The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.

The Oso Creek watershed is wholly contained within Nueces County in the Nueces-Rio Grande Coastal Basin. The creek is about 28 miles long. It flows south-easterly from near the western edge of Corpus Christi over flat to rolling terrain, emptying into Oso Bay. Economic activities in the area include oil and gas refining and production, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.

Since 2003, the TCEQ, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and other agencies have conducted several studies of bacteria sources and quantities in the Oso Creek watershed. In 2013, based on results of those studies, the TCEQ began developing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the creek. A TMDL is like a budget for pollution—determining how much concentrations must be reduced to meet water quality standards. The Center for Water Supply Studies at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi will complete several technical tasks in support of TMDL development.

The TCEQ and area stakeholders are also assessing the oyster waters use of Oso Bay and have completed a TMDL for bacteria in Oso Bay.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and the The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation Exit the TCEQ will work with  communities, interest groups, and local organizations to distribute information about this project and involve stakeholders in developing a plan for watershed improvement. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Johnny Calderon Building Auditorium
710 E. Main Street
Robstown 78380

At this public meeting, stakeholders in the Oso Creek watershed will hear about and discuss the water quality issues that exist in Oso Creek.  The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation Exit the TCEQ is hosting this meeting to kick off the project to improve the creek.

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For More Information

Please send an e-mail to tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Oso Creek Bacteria project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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