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

Oso Bay: A TMDL Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in the bay. The TMDL is adopted. Stakeholders will develop an implementation plan, which together with the TMDL will provide the road map for improving water quality.
photo of Oso Bay
Oso Bay

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

Background and Goals

Oso Bay is an enclosed, shallow body of water situated along the southern shore of Corpus Christi Bay, with a surface area of approximately seven square miles. The bay exchanges saltwater with Corpus Christi Bay and receives fresh water from Oso Creek, a stream whose flow is dominated by discharges subject to permit. Ecologically, Oso Bay provides habitat for many plants and animals, and plays an influential role in water purification and storm protection.

In 2002, water quality testing found that concentrations of bacteria are elevated in both the bay and the creek, which may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in them. 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 TCEQ and area stakeholders are also working on TMDLs for bacteria in Oso Creek and a bacteria sampling project is being conducted to assess the oyster waters use of Oso Bay.

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TMDL for Oso Bay

On August 22, 2007, the commission adopted a TMDL for Oso Bay. On June 6, 2008, the EPA approved the TMDL, at which time it became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Center for Coastal Studies Exit the TCEQ at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation Exit the TCEQ are working with communities, interest groups, and local organizations to distribute information about the Oso Bay and Creek projects and involve stakeholders in developing a plan for watershed improvement. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested. Meeting records Exit the TCEQ are on the Foundation's website.

Public Participation in TMDL Development

A committee called the Oso Bay Watershed Advisory Group was established to advise the TCEQ on this project. The last planned meeting of the Advisory Group was in June 2008.

Records of the group's membership and meetings are provided below in PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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Project Documents

Documents are provided in PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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Contact Us

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Oso Bay Bacteria project 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