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Caney Creek Tidal and Linnville Bayou: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Caney Creek and Linnville Bayou. The stakeholders and TCEQ have developed a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and are working on an implementation plan (I-Plan), which together will be the road map for improving water quality. The TMDLs are adopted.
photo of Caney Creek
Caney Creek Tidal

Counties: Matagorda, Brazoria, Wharton
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: Brazos–Colorado Coastal
Segments: 1304, 1304A
Assessment Units (AUs): 1304_01, 1304A_01

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Background and Goals

The Caney Creek watershed lies in southeast Texas near the Houston–Galveston area and includes the cities of Wharton, Boling-Iago, and Van Vleck. The watershed includes portions of Matagorda, Brazoria, and Wharton counties. Caney Creek flows southeastward before emptying into the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) near the northeast end of East Matagorda Bay.

High concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in certain AUs of Caney Creek Tidal (Segment 1304, AU 1304_01) and Linnville Bayou (Segment 1304A, AU 1304A_01). The presence of these bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the creek or bayou—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 TMDLs and an I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Caney Creek Tidal and Linnville Bayou.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Houston–Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) 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. Meeting information is posted on H-GAC's Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin webpageExit the TCEQ. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested. Watch for meeting announcements here and on H-GAC's project webpage.

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Adopted TMDLs

The Commission adopted these TMDL on August 11, 2021. If approved by EPA, the TMDLs will become an update to the state's Water Quality Management Plan.


Contact the TMDL Program

Please email us at, and mention the Caney Creek 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