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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

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 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.

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. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people come in direct contact with the water. The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.

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

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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.

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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.

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Reports and Other Documents

Documents are provided in PDF.

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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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Communities Working Together