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Halls Bayou and Willow Bayou: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A project to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety in Halls Bayou. The stakeholders and 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 Halls Bayou
Halls Bayou
Photo Courtesy of the
Houston-Galveston Area Council

Counties: Brazoria, Galveston
Parameter: Bacteria
Basins: Bays and Estuaries, San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal
Segments: 2432B, 2432C
Assessment Units (AUs): 2432B_01, 2432C_01

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Background and Goals

Halls Bayou Tidal (Segment 2432C, AU 2432C_01) is tributary of Chocolate Bay (Segment 2432), an embayment of West Galveston Bay. A tidal stream, Halls Bayou is 19.6 miles long and begins approximately six miles south-east of Alvin in Brazoria, with intermittent headwaters. The segment flows southeasterly past Halls Bayou Camp, briefly enters Galveston County, and then runs parallel to the Galveston County line into Halls Lake, through the Narrows, and into Chocolate Bay.

Willow Bayou (Segment 2432B) is a major freshwater tributary to Halls Bayou. The intermittent headwaters for Willow Bayou arise three miles southwest of Hitchcock in western Galveston County. The stream flows southwest to its mouth on Halls Bayou at the Brazoria County line.

Since 2012, high concentrations of certain fecal bacteria have been identified in Halls Bayou, and since 2014, in Willow Bayou. Fecal bacteria are found in both human and animal waste. 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, TCEQ and stakeholders are developing TMDLs for bacteria in the bayous. Stakeholders will also develop one I-Plan to reduce bacteria in Halls and Willow bayous, Chocolate Bayou, and Mustang Bayou, all of which are in the larger watershed of Chocolate Bay.

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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.

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Contact the TMDL Program

Please email us at, and mention the Halls 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