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Big Creek

This is a project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Big Creek. The stakeholders and the TCEQ are 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
map of the Big Creek watershed

Counties: Fort Bend
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: Brazos River
Segment: 1202J
Assessment Unit (AU): 1202J_01, 1202J_02

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Background and Goal

Since 2002, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in the Big Creek in Fort Bend County. 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.

Bacteria are commonly found in the intestines of warm-blooded organisms such as humans, livestock, poultry, cats, and dogs. Bacteria from human and animal waste often indicate the presence of disease-causing microorganisms, which can pose a health threat to people who engage in contact recreation.

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 TMDL and an I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Big Creek.

Learn more about water quality standards, monitoring, and TMDLs by reading Preserving and Improving Water Quality, available on our website and in print.

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Watershed Description

Big Creek (Segment 1202J) is a tributary of the Brazos River in Fort Bend County. The segment has two AUs—1202J_01 and 1202J_02, both of which are listed as impaired in the 2022 Integrated Report on Surface Water Quality. 

The project watershed drains approximately 222 square miles of mixed urban, agricultural, and undeveloped rural land uses. The watershed includes portions of the cities of Richmond and Rosenberg, and there are several smaller communities.

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Get Involved

In all its projects, TCEQ gathers opinions and information from people who represent government, permitted facilities, agriculture, business, environmental, and community and private interests in the watershed. Stakeholders are a key part of developing solutions for Big Creek. They are advising TCEQ on the TMDL allocations and will develop the I-Plan.

NEWTMDL Public Comment Meeting

The public meeting for the draft TMDLs will be held at the George Memorial Library, Room 2A - Fort Bend County Libraries, 1001 Golfview Dr, Richmond, TX  77469, on February 26, 2024, at 6:00 p.m.

La reunion pública para los borradores de los TMDLs se llevará a cabo el día 26 de febrero de 2024 a las 6:00 p. m. en el salón 2A de la biblioteca George Memorial Library, – de las Bibliotecas del Condado de Fort Bend, ubicada en 1001 Golfview Dr, Richmond, TX 77469.

Comments can also be submitted online at

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Project Status

TCEQ and H-GAC began work on this project in 2018 as part of a larger regional assessment of water quality the Houston-Galveston area. H-GAC completed a watershed characterization report that was used by TCEQ and stakeholders to decide whether it was necessary to develop TMDLs for Big Creek. in 2023 H-GAC completed the technical support document and draft TMDLs, the latter of which are expected to be adopted by TCEQ in 2025.

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Contact the TMDL Program

Please email, 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