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Tres Palacios Creek: Implementing a Watershed Protection Plan

Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is implementing stormwater education and outreach management measures.


Tres Palacios Creek is the primary source of freshwater for Tres Palacios Bay, which opens into Matagorda Bay. Since 2006, the tidal segment of Tres Palacios Creek (1501) has not met state water quality standards for bacteria or dissolved oxygen. These bacteria are naturally found in the intestines of humans, livestock, wildlife, and pets. Although they do not generally cause disease, 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 2016, Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, and TCEQ worked with stakeholders to develop the Tres Palacios Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) to improve water quality. The WPP was accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2018. TWRI is implementing WPP management measures under three projects.

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Project Description

Under the first project, from 2017 to 2023, TWRI is implementing agricultural best management practices (BMPs) and education programs for agricultural producers. Under the second project, from 2018 to 2023, TWRI is leading local efforts to expand septic system inspection, repair, and replacements.

In the newest project, from 2019 - 2022, TWRI is educating watershed residents about stormwater runoff and pet waste pollution by developing, installing, and maintaining water quality education signage and pet waste stations at Legacy Park in El Campo. The public can participate in training programs and stakeholder meetings, and can stay informed via newsletters, website content, and other materials distributed by TWRI.

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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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