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Lampasas and Navasota Rivers: Evaluating Water Quality for Recreational Uses

A completed project of the TMDL Team to survey and assess bacteria impairments of the contact recreation use in three streams in east central Texas.

photo of the Lampasas River
Lampasas River
Photo courtesy of Texas AgriLife

Counties: Bell, Burnet, Hamilton, Lampasas, Limestone, Madison, Robertson
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Brazos
Segment: 1209J, 1209K, and 1217

On this page:

Overview and Status

In 2008, the TCEQ found that concentrations of bacteria exceeded the criteria to protect the safety of contact recreation in two tributaries of the Navasota River and a segment of the Lampasas River.

High concentrations of bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in a water body—activities called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality.

The Navasota and Lampasas Rivers are part of the larger Brazos River Basin. Three segments are included in this project:

  • Shepherd Creek, Segment, 1209J
  • Steele Creek Segment, 1209K
  • the Lampasas River Above Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Segment 1217

The TCEQ’s TMDL Program led an intensive sampling and analysis project for the three streams. Project personnel collected bacteria, flow, and field data for use in assessing the extent of bacteria loads in the segments and their impacts on water quality.

Project results were examined by the Surface Water Quality Monitoring Team. Segment 1217 was removed from the 303(d) list in 2010. The Standards Work Group reviewed the use and associated criteria for Segments 1209J and 1209K and recommended their standards be revised to secondary contact recreation 1. The EPA has approved this change for Shepherd Creek (1209J). An EPA decision is still pending for Steele Creek (1209K). See the analyses on the webpage Brazos River Recreational Use Attainability Analysis, Part 3. Contact the Standards Group at or 512-239-6682 for more information about the standards.

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Public Participation

The TCEQ coordinated participation activities in the Lampasas watershed with staff at the Texas AgriLife Blackland Research and Extension Center. Though no TMDLs were developed, the Research and Extension Center led area stakeholders in development of the Lampasas River Watershed Protection PlanExit the TCEQ.

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Lampasas and Navasota Rivers 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