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You are here: Home / Water Quality / Total Maximum Daily Load Program / Dickinson Bayou: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

Dickinson Bayou: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to protect recreational uses through a TMDL to reduce bacteria. The TMDL is adopted and the I-Plan is approved. Together, the TMDL and I-Plan are the road map to improved water quality.
Dickinson Bayou at FM 517
Dickinson Bayou at FM 517

County: Galveston
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal
Segments: 1103, 1103A, 1103B, 1103C, 1103D, 1103E, 1104

Background and Goals

High concentrations of bacteria measured in Dickinson Bayou Tidal, Segment 1103, and four of its tributaries might pose a health risk for people who swim or wade in the bayou. Bacteria from human and animal waste may indicate the presence of disease-causing microorganisms that may cause illness. Swimming and other forms of recreation in which people come into direct contact with the water are referred to as contact recreation in the state's standards for the quality of streams, lakes, and bays.

The TMDL project will characterize the sources of bacteria in the watershed of the bayou and develop a plan to improve water quality. The goal of the TMDL is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.

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Approved Implementation Plan

The commission approved this stakeholder-developed plan on January 15, 2014.

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Adopted Total Maximum Daily Loads

On February 8, 2012, the commission adopted:

On June 6, 2012, the EPA approved the TMDLs, at which time they became part of the state’s Water Quality Management Plan. Learn more about the Water Quality Management Plan.

Revisions to TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed. Revisions to the load allocations in TMDLs are made via the state’s Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP), which is updated quarterly.

The WQMP provides projected effluent limits for use in planning and permitting activities under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES). The TCEQ reviews all applications for new and amended permits for conformance with applicable portions of the WQMP, including adopted TMDLs.

Revisions are made to TMDLs in one of two ways:

  • Updates are made to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or revised wasteload allocations, permits that have been canceled or have expired, or changed facility names.
  • Addenda are created to add load allocations for assessment units that are impaired by the same pollutant or condition, within the same watershed as in the original TMDL report.

Both updates and addenda are provided in the same units of measure used in the original TMDL.


Additional TMDLs for Dickinson Bayou have been added by addendum.


Revisions to the TMDL are documented in the approved WQMP updates listed below.

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Get Involved

Stakeholders in the watershed have formed the Dickinson Bayou Watershed Partnership Exit the TCEQ to implement activities that improve water quality in Dickinson Bayou. Meeting information and records Exit the TCEQ are available on the Partnership’s website Exit the TCEQ. The TCEQ is working with this existing forum to participate with the public in developing and implementing the TMDL project. Other partners include the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, and the Texas Cooperative Extension.

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Meeting Records, TCEQ-Led Meetings

Meeting records are provided in PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and reference the Dickinson Bayou Bacteria TMDL in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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