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Welsh Reservoir

This completed project assessed the safety of fish consumption in Welsh Reservoir.

photo of welsh reservoir
Welsh Reservoir

County: Titus
Parameters: Selenium
River Basin: Cypress Creek
Segment: 0404D

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Background and Goals

In 1992, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued an advisory restricting the consumption of fish from Welsh Reservoir because selenium concentrations in the fish posed a risk to consumers. Selenium is a naturally occurring element that is widely but unevenly distributed in the earth’s crust. It is also an essential dietary element that prevents damage to tissues by oxygen. However, when consumed in amounts higher than the recommended daily allowance, selenium is toxic to humans and animals. In response to this condition, the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program initiated a project to determine whether the consumption of fish from the reservoir still posed a threat to human health.

TCEQ worked with DSHS to collect fish samples, conduct laboratory analyses, and characterize the risks to consumers from all contaminants found in fish tissue samples. TCEQ communicated the progress of this project through the Steering Committee of the Cypress Creek Basin Clean Rivers Program. The project was a collaborative effort involving TCEQ, DSHS, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the North East Texas Municipal Water District.

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Watershed Description

Welsh Reservoir is in the Cypress Creek Basin and impounds Swauano and Justiss Creeks. It is located 11 miles southeast of Mount Pleasant and is wholly contained within Titus County. The watershed is rural and is characterized by gently rolling wooded hills and broad, frequently flooded, densely vegetated stream bottoms. Post oak savannah is prominent in the western portion of the basin, while pineywoods are prevalent in the eastern portion.

The 1,465-acre reservoir was constructed in 1976 to serve as a cooling pond for a steam-electric power plant. Welsh Reservoir is a popular recreational area for boating and scuba diving. Fishing for sunfish, trophy bass, catfish, and crappie also lures large numbers of people to the reservoir each year.

Learn more about water quality standards, monitoring, and TMDLs by reading Preserving and Improving Water Quality, available on our website or in print.

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After assessing all the data collected and characterizing the risks associated with all the contaminants found in fish tissue, DSHS concluded that consumption of fish from Welsh Reservoir no longer poses a threat to human health. The fish consumption advisory was rescinded on October 14, 2004, and the impairment “selenium in fish tissue” was removed from the state’s 303(d) list of impaired waters. The schedule of special monitoring and analysis of the reservoir fish is concluded.

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Contact the TMDL Program

Please email and reference the Welsh Reservoir in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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