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Corpus Christi Beaches

This community project was started to reduce bacteria and protect recreational safety at beaches along Corpus Christi Bay. The total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for waters adjacent to Cole and Ropes Park beaches are adopted, and those for Poenisch Park beach are in development. Stakeholders and TCEQ are developing one implementation plan (I-Plan) for all three beach areas. Together, the adopted TMDLs and I-Plan in development are the road map to improving water quality.
photo of cole park

Cole Park, Corpus Christi
Photo by Jason Leifester

map of the Cole Park and Ropes Parks TMDL watersheds
map of the Poenisch Park TMDL watershed

County: Nueces
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Bays and Estuaries, Nueces River
Segment: 2481CB
Assessment Units (AUs): 2481CB_03, 2481CB_04, and 2481CB_06

On this page:

Background and Goals

High concentrations of bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in a water body — activities called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality.

Several public beach parks along Corpus Christi Bay are monitored as part of the Texas Beach Watch Program . Data assessed from this program indicated bacteria concentrations were higher than the criteria for protecting the contact recreation use at Cole Park, Ropes Park, and Poenisch Park beaches. These beaches correspond to Segments 2481CB_03, 2481CB_04, and 2481CB_06 of the Texas Bays and Estuaries Basin. When bacteria counts are greater than the criteria, Texas Beach Watch recommends that people be advised not swim in the area.

To address these concerns, TCEQ and stakeholders developed TMDLs for the waters adjacent to Cole Park and Rope Park beaches, and are developing a TMDL for waters adjacent to Poenisch Park. Stakeholders are also working with the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to develop one I-Plan to improve conditions at all three beaches.

Watershed Description

The beaches being assessed for this TMDL project are in Nueces County, in the City of Corpus Christi, adjacent to Ocean Drive.

Corpus Christi bays and estuaries are nursery grounds for fish and shellfish, and supply essential food and habitat for birds, fish, and other plants and animals. They are also home to ports, marinas, and commercial shipping activities. Corpus Christi beaches and estuaries are popular destinations for fishing, boating, swimming, sand-castle building, and birdwatching. 

Get Involved

In all its projects, the TCEQ seeks to gather opinions and information from people who represent government, permitted facilities, agriculture, business, environmental, and community and private interests in the watershed. The Center for Coastal Studies  at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is coordinating participation in these projects.

Throughout the project, the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces River Authority, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and all other stakeholders and communities that use and affect these public beaches will be engaged in developing a strategy to improve water quality.

The Harte Institute at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi is coordinating participation in these projects. Meetings about the project are open to everyone. Stay tuned to the Corpus Christi Regional Water Quality Implementation Plan website for notices of meetings and all meeting records.

Adopted TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park Beaches

On July 28, 2021, the Commission adopted the TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park beaches. EPA approved them on January 31, 2022, at which time they became an update to the Water Quality Management Plan for the State of Texas. Community stakeholders are working on an I-Plan that will improve conditions at all three beaches in the watershed. 


Cole and Ropes Park Beaches

Documents are provided in PDF.

  • Technical Support Document 
    for the TMDLs
  • Interim Monitoring Report, 2012 
    Summarizes the data collected from February through July 2012. All data was collected and analyzed by the Center for Coastal Studies at TAMU-CC.
  • Interim Monitoring Report, 2011 
    Summarizes the data collected from May through August 2011. All data was collected and analyzed by the Center for Coastal Studies at TAMU-CC.
  • Historical Data Review and Site Assessment 
    August 2011, Center for Coastal Studies
    Characterizes the Corpus Christi Bay watershed and summarizes data collected in the past. Describes the monitoring plan for collecting current data to support development of TMDLs for Cole Park and Ropes Park beaches.

Contact the TMDL Program

Please e-mail, and mention the Corpus Christi Beaches project in the subject, or call us at 512-239-6682.

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