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Arroyo Colorado: Improving the McAllen Stormwater Facilities

Texas A&M University at Kingsville installed and monitored improvements at three regional stormwater detention facilities (RSDFs) in the City of McAllen.

Background

Map of the Arroyo Colorado watershed.

The Arroyo Colorado flows through Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and into the Laguna Madre. Prior to the start of this project in 2009, the tidal segment of the Arroyo Colorado (2201) did not meet state water quality standards low dissolved oxygen levels, which is important to the health of aquatic life. Historically, the Arroyo has also had concerns for high nutrient levels. Water quality may be further affected by rapid urban growth which places increased pressure on public lands to accommodate rainwater runoff and associated pollutants from developing properties.

The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership developed the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) in 2007 to address low dissolved oxygen and updated it in 2017. The WPP identifies low impact development (LID) as a key management measure for reducing stormwater runoff volume and pollutants entering the waterways.

LID is a comprehensive approach that incorporates or mimics natural processes (e.g., filtration, sedimentation, evapotranspiration) into site planning, design, or redevelopment with the goal of managing surface water runoff volume and reducing pollution as close to the source as possible. Examples include rain gardens, porous pavement, green roofs, and rainwater harvesting for later use. For more information, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Low Impact DevelopmentExit the TCEQ webpage.

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Project Description

In 2009, Texas A&M University–Kingsville implemented part of the WPP by installing and monitoring several enhancement features at three regional stormwater detention facilities (RSDFs) in McAllen including wetlands, biofilters, and a microscreen filter. These features were designed to function under the intense heat and drought conditions common to the area. Texas A&M University–Kingsville completed the project in 2013. These improvements demonstrate a promising approach to adding effective water quality treatment to the flood control functions of RSDFs in the Arroyo Colorado Watershed.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at nps@tceq.texas.gov.

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