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Upper Trinity River Watersheds: Protecting Recreational Uses

The goal of this current project is to make recreation safer by reducing bacteria levels in waterways of the greater Trinity River watershed.
map of Upper Trinity River watersheds

Trinity River Watersheds
Click the map for a larger version

Map by Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research


High bacteria concentrations can indicate that there could be a health risk to people who swim or wade in natural waters—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.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is working on behalf of the TCEQ with local stakeholders to facilitate information exchange regarding ongoing and planned watershed-based strategies that will reduce bacterial pollution and improve water quality in area waterways.

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Get Involved

The NCTCOG is coordinating public participation in improving the greater Trinity River watershed. The Upper Trinity River Basin Coordinating Committee has been formed to advise about decisions for this basin-wide approach. Meetings about the project are open to everyone.

The Coordinating Committee will work with the Total Maximum Daily Load Coordination Committee for the Greater Trinity, which is overseeing implementation of several Trinity River TMDLs already being implemented in the Upper Trinity watershed.

Watch for meeting announcements here and on the NCTCOG website Exit the TCEQ.

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About the Watershed

The upper portions of the Trinity River that are the subject of this study are in the North Central Plains region. In the center of the watershed is one of the largest urban areas in Texas by both geography and population—the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the rapidly growing urban and suburban communities around it. Land use in the project watersheds is primarily a mix of residential and commercial.

This watershed encompasses 8,500 square miles. Moving west to east, it passes through the drier hills of the West Texas plains to the more gentle terrain and moister climate of east-central Texas. The Upper Trinity River (Segment 0805) is fed by four major tributaries: the Clear Fork, West Fork, Elm Fork, and East Fork Trinity rivers. 

Location: North Central Texas

Counties: Dallas and Tarrant, Archer, Clay, Montague, Cooke, Grayson, Fannin, Young, Jack, Wise, Denton, Collin, Hunt, Parker, Rockwall, Kaufman, Van Zandt, Johnson, Ellis, and Navarro.

Basin: Trinity River (Basin 08)

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Waterways of Focus

Activities will focus on waterways where bacteria concentrations exceed standards, with an eye toward broader solutions for the entire watershed.

  • Marine Creek (Segment 0806D)
  • Sycamore Creek (Segment 0806E) – TMDL
  • Ash Creek (Segment 0809B)
  • West Fork Trinity River Below Bridgeport Reservoir (Segment 0810)
  • Big Sandy Creek (Segment 0810A)
  • Martin Branch (Segment 0810C)
  • Rowlett Creek (Segment 0820B)
  • Wilson Creek (Segment 0821C)
  • East Fork Trinity River above Lake Lavon (Segment 0821D)
  • Village Creek (Segment 0828A)
  • Walnut Creek (Segment 0838C)
  • Cottonwood Creek (Segment 0841F)
  • Fish Creek (Segment 0841K)
  • Kirby Creek Segment 0841N)
  • Crockett Branch (Segment 0841V)

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Contact Us

Please e-mail us at tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Upper Trinity Watersheds 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