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Commission approves TMDL and implementation plan for Tres Palacios Creek segment

Jan. 26, 2018 - A plan approved by commissioners this week is designed to reduce bacteria in Tres Palacios Creek, which flows into Matagorda Bay.

Swimmers and boaters near Matagorda Bay will be better protected from contact with bacteria because of a plan approved this week by TCEQ commissioners.

They also approved the total maximum daily load for this segment. The TMDL acts as a sort of budget, defining the amount of a particular pollutant that a water body can receive and still comply with water quality standards.

The portion of Tres Palacios Creek, known to state water scientists as segment 1501, in Matagorda and Wharton Counties, flows into Matagorda Bay via Tres Palacios Bay and is influenced by tidal action. For the past 12 years, researchers have observed high levels of bacteria in the creek.

With the approval of the implementation plan, the TCEQ now has a deliberate and detailed strategy for reducing the segment’s bacteria content.

Much of this bacteria comes from animal waste. The plan includes various measures designed to reduce the waste-caused bacteria, including reduction of carcass dumping, reduction of the number of feral hogs in the area, development of pet waste programs, and replacement of infrastructure.

Using an adaptive management approach, state officials will be periodically assessing these measures for efficiency and effectiveness.