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Oso Bay: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in the bay. Stakeholders are developing an implementation plan for the Oso Bay/Oso Creek watershed, which, together with the total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), will provide the road map for improving water quality.
photo of Oso Bay
Oso Bay

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

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Overview and Goals

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.

The 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 StudiesExit the TCEQ  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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Total Maximum Daily Load

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

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Project Documents

Documents are provided in PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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For More Information

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Oso Bay Bacteria project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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communities working together taking care of our rivers, lakes, and bays