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Oso Bay: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in the bay. Stakeholders are developing an implementation plan for the Oso Bay/Oso Creek watershed, which, together with the TMDLs, 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

Overview 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 have conducted a study to assess the oyster waters use of Oso Bay.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Center for Coastal Studies Exit the TCEQ at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi are working with stakeholders to develop a plan for watershed improvement. Public meetings about this project are open to everyone. Meeting records Exit the TCEQ are on the Center for Coastal Studies' website.

Updated Information Riparian Workshops in August

Stakeholders in the Oso Creek and Bay watershed have the opportunity to attend riparian workshops in August 2016. There are two workshops presented by the Nueces River Authority. The first is August 25 for those with an interest in urban areas. The second, on August 30, is for those interested in rural areas. Both workshops run from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., with a presentation in the morning and a field trip in the afternoon. See the workshop flyer Adobe Acrobat PDF Document for more information.

Updated Information Next Meetings

I-Plan Coordination Committee Meetings
July 28
August 25
6:00 p.m.
South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
8545 S. Staples Street
Corpus Christi 78413

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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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Project Documents

Documents are provided in PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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Contact Us

Please send an e-mail to tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, 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