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Chocolate Bayou: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Chocolate Bayou. The stakeholders and the TCEQ are developing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and an implementation plan (I-Plan), which together will be the road map for improving water quality.

photo of Chocolate Bayou
Chocolate Bayou
Photo Courtesy of the
Houston-Galveston Area Council

Counties: Brazoria, Fort Bend
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal
Segments: 1107, 1108
Assessment Units (AUs): 1107_01, 1108_01

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Background and Goals

Chocolate Bayou (Segments 1107 and 1108, AUs 1107_01 and 1108_01) is in southeast Texas near the Houston-Galveston area. The bayou travels southeastward in eastern Brazoria County before emptying into Chocolate Bay. Its watershed includes the cities of Manvel, Alvin, Arcola, and Village of Iowa Colony. Most of the watershed is within Brazoria County.

Since 2010, high concentrations of bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, have been observed in the bayou. The presence of these bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the 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, the TCEQ is developing TMDLs and an I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Chocolate Bayou.

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Get Involved

Staff from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) have been working with stakeholder 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. See meeting records in the "Get Involved" section of the H-GAC's webpage San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction ProjectExit the TCEQ.

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Technical Support Document Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

For More Information

Please send an e-mail to, and mention the Chocolate Bayou 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