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Watershed Protection Plans for Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

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

What is a Watershed Protection Plan?

Watershed Protection Plans (WPPs) are community-developed documents that identify potential sources of waterbody impairment throughout a watershed and provide a framework for implementation strategies to reduce pollution and improve overall water quality in Texas streams and rivers. TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB)Exit the TCEQ support the development and implementation of WPPs that prevent or manage nonpoint source pollution, and in most cases provide funding and technical assistance. 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.

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Developing Watershed Protection Plans

All WPPs funded with CWA Section 319(h) grant funds are required to meet EPA’s Nine Elements for Watershed-based PlansExit the TCEQ (WBPs). Before committing to the development of a WPP it is important to ensure sufficient data are available to characterize pollutant sources. Preferably, this determination is made before applying for 319(h) funding. After this preliminary analysis, the TCEQ NPS Program recommends following these major steps:

  • Watershed Characterization – Monitoring if additional data collection is necessary
  • WPP Development

The approach taken to develop a WPP should be informed by stakeholder input. Development of a WPP generally takes about three years, depending on the nature of the work required. Multiple steps may be combined into one funding application, and streamlined projects are preferred. TCEQ funding of one step does not obligate the agency to fund additional steps of WPP development for that watershed.

Additional guidance is available on 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.

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Interactive Map of WPPs

Learn more about WPPs using this interactive mapExit the TCEQ that has links to partner webpages, pictures of best management practices, and much more. Visualize watershed characteristics such as landcover, stream impairments, and wastewater outfalls to evaluate WPP development potential.

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For More Information

Contact the NPS Program by e-mail at, or call 512-239-6682.

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