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Oso Bay: Recreational Uses

This is a project to reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in Oso Bay. Stakeholders are developing an implementation plan (I-Plan) for the Oso Bay and Oso Creek watershed. Together with the total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), this will provide the road map for improving water quality.

County: Nueces
Parameter: Bacteria
Coastal Basins: Bays and Estuaries, Nueces–Rio Grande Coastal Basin
Segment: 2485

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Project Description and Goal

In 2002, water quality testing found that concentrations of bacteria are elevated in both the bay and the creek, which may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in them. High concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the water body—activities called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality. .

In response to these conditions, TCEQ developed a TMDL for Oso Bay. The goal of a TMDL is to determine the amount (or load) of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still sup-port its beneficial uses. The allowable load is then allocated among categories of sources within the watershed.

The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.

TCEQ and area stakeholders are completed a TMDL for bacteria in Oso Creek and have conducted a study to assess the oyster waters use of Oso Bay.

Watershed Description

Oso Bay is an enclosed, shallow body of water situated along the southern shore of Corpus Christi Bay, with a surface area of approximately seven square miles. The Oso Bay watershed drains an area of approximately 255 square miles and is located in the northern-most portion of the Nueces-Rio Grande Coastal Basin. The watershed is wholly contained within Nueces County. The bay exchanges saltwater with Corpus Christi Bay and receives fresh water from Oso Creek, a stream whose flow is dominated by discharges subject to permit. Ecologically, Oso Bay provides habitat for many plants and animals, and plays an influential role in water purification and storm protection.

Corpus Christi is the only major metropolitan area within the watershed’s boundaries. The only other large community within the watershed is Robstown. Economic activities in and around the bay include oil and gas refining and production, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. 

Get Involved

Staff from the Center for Coastal Studies  at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi are working with stakeholders to develop a plan for watershed improvement. Public meetings about this project are open to everyone.

Adopted TMDL

On August 22, 2007, the Commission adopted a TMDL for Oso Bay. On June 6, 2008, EPA approved the TMDL, at which time it became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

Reports and Other Documents

Documents are provided in PDF.

Contact the TMDL Program

Please email and mention Oso Bay in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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