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Lake Granbury: Implementing a Watershed Protection Plan

A project that supported a Watershed Coordinator and public outreach programs in the Lake Granbury area.


Water quality has historically been a community concern at Lake Granbury in part because of man-made coves around the lake. These coves are shallow and experience minimal mixing with the main body of the reservoir. This potentially allows pollution problems in the coves to persist. There is also extensive use of on-site sewage facilities for water-front residences on the man-made coves of Lake Granbury. At the start of this project in 2011 there were an estimated 9,000 septic systems located around Lake Granbury. Bacteria and other pollutants from failing septic systems can contribute to nonpoint source pollution.

In 2008 the Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List reported that Lake Granbury did not meet state water quality standards for E. coli, but it has since met standards. These bacteria are naturally found in the intestines of humans, livestock, wildlife, and pets. Although they are not generally disease-causing, their presence in water indicate the potential presence of disease-causing microorganisms from fecal contamination. Therefore, higher levels of fecal bacteria in water mean a higher risk to humans of contracting diseases by ingesting contaminated water during swimming, wading, or kayaking — activities, called “contact recreation,” in the state’s standards for water quality.

In response, the Brazos River Authority (BRA) conducted a large-scale water quality monitoring initiative of the coves and canals. The data generated from this effort indicated that many canals on Lake Granbury had high fecal bacteria levels. In an effort to improve water quality, BRA and stakeholders developed the Lake Granbury Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) , which was accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.

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Project Description

This project, led by the Brazos River Authority, supported the salary of a Watershed Coordinator for Lake Granbury. The coordinator served as the primary contact for WPP implementation activities, facilitated stakeholder meetings, built awareness of efforts to improve water quality in the watershed, and sought funding to support ongoing implementation of the WPP. BRA and the watershed coordinator also implemented an educational program which covered proper septic system operation and maintenance, greywater, wildlife management, and home inspector training.

BRA monitored water quality at 16 sites in and around Lake Granbury and found that no sites exceeded the state water quality standards for bacteria during the project period. The full results can be found in the 2013 Basin Highlights Report for the Brazos River Basin , developed by BRA and the Clean Rivers Program. The project was completed in 2014.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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