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Greater Trinity Region: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

The goal of this project is reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in waterways of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The stakeholders and the TCEQ developed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and an implementation plan (I-Plan), which together are the road map to improving water quality. The TCEQ has adopted the TMDLs and approved the Implementation Plan.

fishing at Lower West Oakland LakeTrinity River Segment 0841 at Collins Streetheron on the Trinity River

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Watershed Counties: Dallas, Tarrant
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Trinity
Segments:  0805, 0806E, 0822A, 0822B, 0841, 0841B, 0841C, 0841E, 0841F, 0841G, 0841H, 0841J, 0841K, 0841L, 0841M, 0841N, 0841R, 0841T, 0841U, 0841V

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Bacteria concentrations are occasionally elevated in portions of the Trinity River that flow through Dallas and Tarrant counties. High bacteria concentrations might pose a risk to people who swim or wade in natural waters. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people are likely to swallow natural waters.

Watershed Description

The watersheds for the Greater Trinity River I-Plan encompass an area of 406 square miles. The human population is 1.33 million as of 2013, with a population density of approximately 3,232 people per square mile. The I-Plan implements TMDLs for:


The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations and protect recreational safety by implementing total maximum daily loads. A TMDL is like a budget for pollutants—it estimates the amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive from categories of sources and still support its designated uses.

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Get Involved

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)Exit the TCEQ is working with stakeholders to implement bacteria TMDLs throughout their region.

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Status and Activities

Cities in the watershed continue to address bacteria levels in the impaired waterways covered by the Implementation Plan. Highlights from 2019 include:

  • Drafted and distributed the annual TMDL Questionnaire to TMDL stakeholders regarding I-Plan efforts.
  • Facilitated and coordinated a workshop on Septic System Basic Maintenance for Homeowners on July 25, 2019. A total of 7 attendees participated in the workshop.
  • Facilitated and coordinated the Feral Hog Forum on August 13, 2019 with presentations from Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute. A total of 23 attendees participated in the workshop.
  • Facilitated and coordinated the Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP) webinar on November 12, 2019 with a presentation from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. A total of 33 attendees participated in the webinar.
  • Completed the Great Trinity River Region TMDL Annual Program Summary. This summary included major activities completed and information on current projects.
  • Facilitated and coordinated two Upper Trinity River Basin Coordinating Committee meetings with the goal of facilitating communication on current activities and efforts of watershed coordinators in the NCTCOG region.
  • Created the Avian Feeding Educational Materials, including signage, brochures, fact sheets, and a social media toolkit.
  • Supported the Doo the Right Thing Campaign by creating a social media toolkit to encourage residents to take the pledge to eliminate pet waste from yards and other areas, helping to reduce bacteria levels in stormwater runoff. In 2019, 187 individuals took the Doo the Right Thing pledge.
  • Created a brochure for homeowners for “Taking Care of Your On-Site Sewage Facility.”
  • Completed the update to the Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan to include Sycamore Creek.
  • Facilitated meetings with the TMDL Stormwater, Wastewater, and Monitoring Technical Subcommittees to plan and coordinate bacteria reducing projects.
  • Facilitated the TMDL Coordination Committee meeting to give program updates, discuss upcoming projects, and gain approval for the updated TMDL I-Plan to incorporate Sycamore Creek.
  • Supported the Egret Rookery Workshop held on October 23, 2019 and included presentations from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, USDA Wildlife Services, City of The Colony, and City of Allen.
  • Estelle Creek, Rush Creek and Village Creek all met water quality standards in the 2018 Texas Integrated Report!

More details about the stakeholders' activities are available on the NCTCOG websiteExit the TCEQ and in the Greater Trinity River Region TMDL Annual Program SummaryExit the TCEQ Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

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Arlington Conservation Council
City of Arlington
City of Bedford
City of Cockrell Hill
City of Coppell
City of Dallas
City of Euless
City of Fort Worth
City of Grand Prairie
City of Grapevine
City of Irving
City of Keller
City of Kennedale
City of North Richland Hills
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Dallas County Utility & Reclamation District
Dallas Downriver Club
Dallas Regional Chamber
Dalworth Soil and Water Conservation District
DFW International Airport
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club
North Texas Tollway Authority
Park Cities Municipal Utility District (MUD)
Southwest Paddler
Tarrant County
Tarrant Regional Water District
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
Trinity River Authority (TRA)
Trinity River Environmental Education Society (TREES)

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Greater Trinity River plan 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