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Greater Trinity Region: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

The goal of this project is reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in waterways of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The stakeholders and the TCEQ developed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and an implementation plan, which together are the road map to improving water quality. The TCEQ has adopted the TMDLs and approved the Implementation Plan.
fishing at Lower West Oakland LakeTrinity River Segment 0841 at Collins Streetheron on the Trinity River

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Watershed Counties: Dallas, Tarrant
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Trinity
Segments:  0805, 0822A, 0822B, 0841, 0841B, 0841C, 0841E, 0841F, 0841G, 0841H, 0841J, 0841K, 0841L, 0841M, 0841N, 0841R, 0841T, 0841U, 0841V

Greater Trinity Project Navigation


Bacteria concentrations are occasionally elevated in portions of the Trinity River that flow through Dallas and Tarrant counties. High bacteria concentrations might pose a risk to people who swim or wade in natural waters. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people are likely to swallow natural waters.

Watershed Description

The watersheds for the Greater Trinity River I-Plan encompass an area of 406 square miles. The human population is 1.33 million as of 2013, with a population density of approximately 3,232 people per square mile. The Implementation Plan implements TMDLs for:

  • Upper Trinity River (Segment 0805, upper end)
  • Elm Fork Trinity River tributaries of Grapevine Creek and Cottonwood Branch (Segments 0822A and 0822B)
  • Lower West Fork Trinity River (Segment 0841) and 11 of its tributaries
  • Tributaries of Mountain Creek Lake (Segments 0841F, 0841K, 0841N, and 0841V), added in 2015


The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations and protect recreational safety by implementing total maximum daily loads. A TMDL is like a budget for pollutants—it estimates the amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive from categories of sources and still support its designated uses.

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Get Involved

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Exit the TCEQ is working with stakeholders to implement bacteria TMDLs throughout their region.

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Arlington Conservation Council
City of Arlington
City of Bedford
City of Cockrell Hill
City of Coppell
City of Dallas
City of Euless
City of Fort Worth
City of Grand Prairie
City of Grapevine
City of Irving
City of Keller
City of Kennedale
City of North Richland Hills
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Dallas County Utility & Reclamation District
Dallas Downriver Club
Dallas Regional Chamber
Dalworth Soil and Water Conservation District
DFW International Airport
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club
North Texas Tollway Authority
Park Cities Municipal Utility District (MUD)
Southwest Paddler
Tarrant County
Tarrant Regional Water District
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
Trinity River Authority (TRA)
Trinity River Environmental Education Society (TREES)

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Status and Activities

Cities in the watersheds began addressing bacteria levels in the impaired waterways prior to TCEQ approval of the Implementation Plan in December 2013. Highlights from 2015 include:

  • Created the Water Quality BMP Library as a resource for regional stakeholders. The Library contains over 100 resources and will continue to be updated with new resources.

  • The Bacteria TMDL Coordination Committee voted to add 4 impaired segments for watersheds upstream of Mountain Creek Lake to the Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan now covers a total of 21 segments.

  • Supported Doo the Right Thing Pet Calendar with over 100 individuals taking a pet waste pledge to help reduce bacteria-laden runoff reaching local waterways.

  • Partnered with AgriLife Stephenville to address bacterial impairments in basin 0805 and other impaired segments of the upper Trinity River Basin. The first year of this effort increased education and outreach to raise stakeholders' water quality awareness.

  • Developed an Implementation Plan strategies matrix for prioritizing strategies for FY2016.

More details about the stakeholders' activities are available on the NCTCOG website Exit the TCEQ.

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Contact Us

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Greater Trinity River plan in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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