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Big Creek: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Big Creek. The stakeholders and the TCEQ are considering developing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and implementation plan (I-Plan), which together will be the road map for improving water quality.

photo of Big Creek
Big Creek
Photo Courtesy of the
Houston-Galveston Area Council

Counties: Fort Bend
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: Brazos River
Segment: 1202J
Assessment Unit (AU): 1202J_01

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Background and Goals

Big Creek (Segment 1202J) is a tributary to the Brazos River in Fort Bend County. The segment has two AUs, 1202J_01 and 1202J_02. Only AU 1202J_01 has an impaired contact recreation use, but there is a concern about bacteria concentrations in AU 1202J_02. The project watershed drains approximately 222 square miles of mixed urban, agricultural, and undeveloped rural land uses. The primary urban centers in the watershed are portions of the cities of Richmond and Rosenberg, and there are several smaller communities.

Since 2002, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in the 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 considering developing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) and an implementation plan (I-Plan) to reduce bacteria in Big Creek.

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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 plans for watershed improvement. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested. Watch for meeting announcements here and on the H-GAC's Big Creek webpageExit the TCEQ.

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For More Information

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Big 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