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Dickinson Bayou: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to protect recreational uses by reducing bacteria. The total maximum daily load (TMDL) is adopted and the implementation plan (I-Plan) is approved. Together, the TMDL and I-Plan are the road map to improved water quality.
Dickinson Bayou at FM 517
Dickinson Bayou at FM 517

County: Galveston
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal
Segments: 1103, 1103A, 1103B, 1103C, 1103D, 1103E, 1104

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High concentrations of bacteria measured in Dickinson Bayou Tidal, Segment 1103, and four of its tributaries might pose a health risk for people who swim or wade in the bayou. Bacteria from human and animal waste may indicate the presence of disease-causing microorganisms that may cause illness. Swimming and other forms of recreation in which people come into direct contact with the water are referred to as contact recreation in the state's standards for the quality of streams, lakes, and bays.

The TMDL project characterized the sources of bacteria in the watershed of the bayou and stakeholders developed a plan to improve water quality. The goal of the TMDL is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.

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Get Involved

Stakeholders in the watershed formed the Dickinson Bayou Watershed PartnershipExit the TCEQ to implement activities that improve water quality in Dickinson Bayou. The TCEQ worked with this existing forum to participate with the public in developing the TMDLs and I-Plan. Other partners include the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, and the Texas Cooperative Extension. Contact us about ways to get involved by e-mail at or by phone at 512-239-6682 and mention the Dickinson Bayou TMDL project.

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Approved Implementation Plan

The commission approved this stakeholder-developed I-Plan on January 15, 2014.

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Adopted Total Maximum Daily Loads

On February 8, 2012, the commission adopted these TMDLs. On June 6, 2012, the EPA approved the TMDLs, at which time they became part of the state’s Water Quality Management Plan. Learn more about the Water Quality Management Plan.

  • Eight Total Maximum Daily Loads Adobe Acrobat PDF Document for Indicator Bacteria in Dickinson Bayou and Three Tidal Tributaries
    Segments: 1103, 1103A, 1103B, 1103C, and 1104; Assessment Units: 1103_02, 1103_03, 1103_04, 1103A_01, 1103B_01, 1103C_01, 1104_01, and 1104_02

Revisions to TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed. Revisions to the load allocations in TMDLs are made via the state’s Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP), which is updated quarterly.

The WQMP provides projected effluent limits for use in planning and permitting activities under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES). The TCEQ reviews all applications for new and amended permits for conformance with applicable portions of the WQMP, including adopted TMDLs.

Revisions are made to TMDLs in one of two ways:

  • Updates are made to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or revised wasteload allocations, permits that have been canceled or have expired, or changed facility names.
  • Addenda are created to add load allocations for assessment units that are impaired by the same pollutant or condition, within the same watershed as in the original TMDL report.

Both updates and addenda are provided in the same units of measure used in the original TMDL.


Additional TMDLs for Dickinson Bayou have been added by addendum.


Revisions to the TMDL are documented in the approved WQMP updates listed below.

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Dickinson Bayou Bacteria TMDL 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