Questions or Comments: tmdl@tceq.state.tx.us
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Corpus Christi Beaches: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety at beaches along Corpus Christi Bay. The total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for waters adjacent to Cole and Ropes Park beaches are adopted, and those for Poenisch Park beach are in development. Stakeholders and TCEQ are developing one implementation plan (I-Plan) for all three beach areas. The TMDLs and I-plan, together, will provide the road map for improving water quality.
photo of Cole Park in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Jason Leifester, TCEQ;

Cole Park, Corpus Christi
Photo by Jason Leifester

County: Nueces
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Bays and Estuaries, Nueces River
Segment: 2481CB
Assessment Units (AUs): 2481CB_03, 2481CB_04, and 2481CB_06

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Background and Goals

Corpus Christi bays and estuaries are nursery grounds for fish and shellfish, and supply essential food and habitat for birds, fish, and other plants and animals. They are also home to ports, marinas, and commercial shipping activities. Corpus Christi beaches and estuaries are popular destinations for fishing, boating, swimming, sand-castle building, and birdwatching.

The goal of these projects is to reduce bacteria levels in order to protect people who swim at the beaches. Swimming and other types of water recreation are referred to as "contact recreation" in the state's standards for water quality.

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.

Several public beach parks along Corpus Christi Bay are monitored as part of the Texas Beach Watch ProgramExit the TCEQ. Data assessed from this program indicated bacteria concentrations were higher than the criteria for protecting the contact recreation use at Cole Park, Ropes Park, and Poenisch Park beaches. These beaches correspond to Segments 2481CB_03, 2481CB_04, and 2481CB_06 of the Texas Bays and Estuaries Basin. When bacteria counts are greater than the criteria, Texas Beach Watch recommends that people be advised not swim in the area.

To address these concerns, TCEQ and stakeholders have completed TMDLs for the waters adjacent to Cole Park and Rope Park beaches, and are developing a TMDL for waters adjacent to Poenisch Park Beach. Stakeholders are also working with the A&M Center for Coastal Studies to develop one I-Plan to improve conditions at all three beaches. 

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Get Involved

In all its projects, the TCEQ seeks to gather opinions and information from people who represent government, permitted facilities, agriculture, business, environmental, and community and private interests in the watershed.

Throughout the project, the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces River Authority, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and all other stakeholders and communities that use and affect these public beaches will be engaged in developing a strategy to improve water quality.

The Center for Coastal StudiesExit the TCEQ at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi is coordinating participation in these projects.

Meetings about the project are open to everyone. Stay tuned to the Center for Coastal StudiesExit the TCEQ website for notices of meetings and all meeting records.

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Adopted TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park Beaches

On July 28, 2021, the Commission adopted the TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park beaches. TCEQ will next submit the TMDLs to EPA Region VI for approval. If approved, the TMDLs will become an update to the Water Quality Management Plan for the State of Texas. Community stakeholders are working on an I-Plan that will improve conditions at all three beaches in the watershed. 

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Reports

Cole and Ropes Park Beaches

Documents are provided in PDF.

  • Technical Support Document Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    for the TMDLs
  • Interim Monitoring Report, 2012 Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Summarizes the data collected from February through July, 2012. All data was collected and analyzed by the Center for Coastal Studies at TAMU-CC.
  • Interim Monitoring Report, 2011 Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Summarizes the data collected from May through August, 2011. All data was collected and analyzed by the Center for Coastal Studies at TAMU-CC.
  • Historical Data Review and Site Assessment Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    August 2011, Center for Coastal Studies
    Characterizes the Corpus Christi Bay watershed and summarizes data collected in the past. Describes the monitoring plan for collecting current data to support development of TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park beaches.

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Photo Gallery

Storm Drain Marking Team July 2014

City of Corpus Christi staff and the Surfrider Foundation Texas Coastal Bend Chapter (18 total volunteers) at an inlet stenciling event. Volunteers affixed "No Dumping" medallions to 68 inlets and placed 520 educational door hangers on homes, apartments and condominiums in the area bounded by Ocean, Santa Fe, Robert and Doddridge streets in Corpus Christi—one of the drainage basins to Corpus Christi Bay. See more about activities to reduce pollution from stormwater on the city's Facebook site.

Contact the TMDL Program

Please e-mail us at tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Corpus Christi Beaches project in the subject. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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