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Arenosa Creek

This is a project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Arenosa Creek. The stakeholders and TCEQ developed a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and implementation plan (I-Plan), which together provide the road map for improving water quality in the creek. The TMDL is adopted and the I-Plan is approved.
photo of Arenosa Creek
Arenosa Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Texas Water
Resources Institute
map of the Arenosa Creek watershed

Counties: Victoria, Jackson, Lavaca
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: Bays and Estuaries
Segment: 2453C
Assessment Unit (AU): 2453C_01

On this page:

Background and Goal

Since 2010, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in Arenosa creek. The presence of these bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the creek—activities referred to as “contact recreation”—in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.

The goal of this project is to improve water quality in order to protect recreational uses. Toward that goal, TCEQ and stakeholders are developing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and an implementation plan (I-Plan) to reduce bacteria in the creek.

Stakeholders are also working with TWRI to develop a watershed protection plan (WPP) for the larger Garcitas Creek watershed, of which Arenosa Creek is a tributary. The tidal portion of Garcitas Creek has been identified as having low dissolved oxygen concentrations.

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Watershed Description

Arenosa Creek (Segment 2453C) is located on the Texas Gulf Coast and lies primarily between the cities of Victoria and Edna. The segment includes only one AU, 2453C_01. The city of Inez is partially within the watershed.

The headwaters of Arenosa Creek begin in Victoria County at J2 Ranch Road. The creek flows approximately 33 miles southeasterly until it meets Garcitas Creek. The drainage area of the watershed is about 172 square miles and falls mostly in Victoria County (52%) and Jackson County (45%); Lavaca County includes about 3% of the watershed.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) have been working with communities, interest groups, and local organizations to distribute information about this project and involve stakeholders in developing the I-Plan for watershed improvement. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested. Watch for meeting announcements here and on the TWRI website .

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Approved I-Plan

Stakeholders created the I-Plan with support from TWRI and TCEQ. The Commission approved the I-Plan on August 11, 2021.

Status of Activities

TCEQ provides opportunities for stakeholders to report on progress and changes in the watershed. Tracking of implementation progress allows stakeholders to evaluate actions taken, identify actions that may not be working, and make any changes as necessary.

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Adopted TMDL

The Commission adopted the TMDL on August 11, 2021. EPA approved the TMDL on February 2, 2022, at which time it became an update to the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

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TWRI staff completed a technical report in 2018 that compiled and analyzed all available bacteria data and considered sources of the bacteria and their relative contributions.

Technical Support Document, AS-203, October 2020

Contact the TMDL Program

Please email, and mention Arenosa Creek 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