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Watershed Protection Plans for Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Describes plans the state uses to manage nonpoint source pollution by watershed

The TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB)Exit the TCEQ support the development and implementation of watershed protection plans (WPPs) that prevent or manage nonpoint source pollution. WPPs are developed through local stakeholder groups, usually with funding and technical assistance from the TCEQ and/or the TSSWCB, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A significant portion of Texas’ federal funding for managing nonpoint source pollution is dedicated to the development and implementation of WPPs and TMDL Implementation Plans.

List of Watershed Plans

See Texas Watershed Protection Plans for a list (updated monthly) of watershed protection plans completed or in progress in Texas, indicating which ones have been accepted by EPA.

Watershed Planning Map

The Texas Watershed Planning Map (large PDF file - 20 MB) displays the watersheds in Texas for which WPPs have been developed or are being developed. A statewide map numbers these watersheds and color-codes them according to whether their development is principally supported by TCEQ, TSSWCB, or independently. The watershed names are listed by number below the map. This interactive statewide map allows you to select a watershed and link to a detailed map showing watershed boundary, major roads, cities, and the waterways within the watershed. Water bodies that are listed as impaired in the 2010 Texas 303(d) list are displayed in red.

Developing Watershed Plans

All Watershed Protection Plans (WPPs) funded with CWA Section 319(h) grant funds will be required to meet EPA’s Nine Elements for Watershed-based Plans (WBPs). Before committing to the development of a WPP it is important to ensure sufficient data are available to characterize pollutant sources, and to determine whether there are obvious causes of the water quality impairment or concern which can be addressed without the rigorous analytical approach involved in a WPP. Preferably, this determination is made before submitting an application. After this preliminary analysis, the TCEQ NPS Program recommends following these three major steps:

  • (If necessary) Watershed Characterization – Monitoring (Additional Data Collection)
  • Watershed Characterization – Modeling or other method to estimate pollutant loads
  • WPP Development

The approach taken to develop a WPP should be informed by stakeholder input. Each of the above steps generally takes about two years, depending on the nature of the work required. Multiple steps may be combined into one application, and streamlined projects are preferred. However, applications are also evaluated based on whether timelines are realistic. TCEQ funding of one step does not obligate the agency to fund additional steps of WPP development for that watershed. The official definition of the EPA’s Nine Elements for WBPs is found in Appendix C of the current Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and TerritoriesExit the TCEQ issued in April 2013.

Guidelines and requirements for developing WPPs are available in the current version of Region 6 EPA Review Guide for Watershed-Based Plans, and additional guidance is available in the U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Web pageExit the TCEQ and in EPA's Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our WatersExit the TCEQ (PDF).

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For More Information

Contact the NPS Program by e-mail at nps@tceq.texas.gov, or call 512-239-6682.

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