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Carancahua Bay: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Carancahua Bay. 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. The TMDL is adopted and the I-Plan is approved.
photo of Carancahua Bay
Carancahua Bay
Photo Courtesy of the Texas Institute for
Applied Environmental Research

Counties: Calhoun, Jackson
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: Bays and Estuaries
Segment: 2456
Assessment Unit (AU): 2456_02

On this page:

Background and Goals

Carancahua Bay (Segment 2456) is located along the Texas Gulf Coast midway between the cities of Palacios and Port Lavaca. The bay is adjacent to the northern part of Matagorda Bay and includes parts of Calhoun and Jackson counties.

Since 2006, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in the upper half of the bay (AU 2456_02). The presence of these bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the bay—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, the TCEQ is developing a TMDL and an I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Carancahua Bay.

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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 websiteExit the TCEQ

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Community stakeholders worked together to create the I-Plan. The Commission approved the stakeholders' plan on August 26, 2020.

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Community stakeholders worked with the TCEQ to develop the TMDL. On August 26, 2020, the Commission adopted the TMDL for bacteria in Carancahua Bay. Upon approval by the EPA, the TMDL will become part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

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Technical Support Document Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

For More Information

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Carancahua Bay 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