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Bacterial Source Tracking Projects

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Assessment of Bacterial Sources Impacting Lake Waco and Belton Lake

Project Goals/Objectives: The objective of this project was to develop publicly available and comprehensively characterized genetic fingerprint and antibiotic resistance libraries of unique E. coli bacteria isolates for determining the animal or human NPS contamination of surface water. These BST libraries were applied to classify E. coli isolated from ambient water samples from Lake Waco and Lake Belton and their main tributaries, the Bosque and Leon Rivers, to identify the likely sources of bacterial contamination.

Assessment of Contact Recreation Use Impairments and Watershed Planning for Big Cypress Creek and Tributaries

Project Goals and Objectives:  Big Cypress Creek (and its tributaries) are located in the Cypress Creek Basin. The headwaters of Big Cypress Creek originate in southeast Hopkins County. From there, Big Cypress Creek flows east into Lake Cypress Springs and then into Lake Bob Sandlin in Franklin County. After leaving Lake Bob Sandlin, Big Cypress Creek, which forms the county line between Titus and Camp Counties, flows southeast to Lake O' the Pines and then finally to Caddo Lake before entering Louisiana.

Assessment of Water Quality and Watershed Planning for the Leona River

Project Goals/Objectives:  Provide stakeholders and agencies with sufficient information to address bacteria impairments on the Leona River through verification of use attainment, revision of water quality standards, or development of a WPP or TMDL.   

Project Location:  Leona River (Segment ID 2109) (Leona River Watershed includes Frio, Uvalde, and Zavala Counties)

Project Costs: $861,714

Project Websites:

Bacteria Growth, Persistence, and Source Assessment in Rural Texas Landscapes and Streams

Project Goals and Objectives: Building upon results from TSSWCB Project 07-06 and further focusing on addressing informational needs identified in the “Bacteria TMDL Task Force Report,” this project will focus on two primary tasks: 1) evaluating the predominant water quality parameters affecting instream bacterial fate and 2) evaluating and quantifying contributing E. coli loading to designated LU/LC types. These specific tasks were selected as those that will provide the most valuable information to watershed managers and practitioners who are faced with accurately predicting and planning to manage E. coli loading in Texas Watersheds. This will be supported by education and outreach efforts that deliver project results to personnel at local, regional, state and national levels.

Bacterial Source Tracking for Little Brazos River Tributaries Bacteria Assessment

Project Goals/Objectives: To assess contact recreation use impairments and support watershed planning for five tributaries of the Little Brazos River by conducting bacterial source tracking (BST)

Project Location: Robertson County, Little Brazos River Tributaries (Campbells Creek-Segment 1242I, Mud Creek-Segment 1242K, Pin Oak Creek-Segment 1242L, Spring Creek-Segment 1242M, Walnut Creek-Segment 1242O)

Bacterial Source Tracking to Support Adaptive Management of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan

Project Description: The Arroyo Colorado currently has low dissolved oxygen levels within the tidal segment, not meeting the aquatic life use designated by the State of Texas and described in the Water Quality Standards. This has been the case for every 303(d) list prepared by the state since 1996. In addition, bacteria has always been a parameter of concern and as of 2006, the Arroyo became impaired due to high bacteria levels. There are many challenges associated with restoring water quality in the Arroyo Colorado Watershed.

Bacterial Source Tracking to Support the Development and Implementation of WPPs for the Lampasas and Leon Rivers

Project Goals/Objectives: This project will collect water samples ans stream flow data at 15 sites in the Leon River and 15 sites in the Lampasas River watersheds over a 12 month periord for bacterial source tracking (BST). The water samples will assess and identify different sources contributing to the bacterial loading of each waterbody. The results will assist stakeholders through on-going watershed protection planning processes.  

Buck Creek Water Quality Sampling / Assessment Project

Buck Creek (Segment 0207A) was listed as an impaired waterbody on the 2002 and 2004 Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List because it did not meet bacterial water quality standards.

Development of a Watershed Protection Plan for Attoyac Bayou

This project shall serve as a means for establishing and engaging a watershed stakeholder group to assist in the development and future implementation of a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) for the Attoyac Bayou watershed. This project will utilize portions of the “Three-Tier Approach for Bacteria TMDL Development” as recommended in the Bacteria TMDL Task Force Report submitted to TCEQ and TSSWCB.

Fate and Transport of E. coli in Rural Texas Landscapes and Streams

Project Goals/Objectives: The main objectives of this proposal are to identify, characterize, and quantify E. coli loads resulting from various sources in an impaired watershed, monitor survival, growth, re-growth, and die-off of E. coli under different environmental conditions, monitor re-suspension of E. coli in streams, and educate stakeholders by disseminating qualitative and quantitative information acquired in this monitoring and demonstration project.

Identify and Characterize NPS Bacteria Pollution to Support Implementation of Bacteria TMDLs in the Oso Bay Watershed

Project Goals/Objectives: To provide information on nonpoint sources of Enterococci in the upstream portions of Oso Creek to support development of the TMDL and targeting of implementation activities.

Instream Bacteria Influences from Bird and Bat Habitation of Bridges

Project Goals/Objectives: To develop and implement an experimental study design providing for the collection of environmental data to test the hypothesis that bridges containing significant numbers of roosting and nesting birds and bats increase ambient bacteria concentrations of streams under low flow conditions as compared to the situation where roosting and nesting is absent.

Project Location: Leon River below Proctor Lake and above Belton Lake, Lampasas River above Stillhouse Hollow Lake

Lone Star Healthy Streams

According to the draft 2004 Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List, 306 waterbodies are impaired in Texas with a total of 419 impairments. Of these, approximately half of the impairments are the result of excessive bacteria. Bacterial source tracking work completed in a number of these waterbodies (e.g., Peach Creek, Leon River) has identified a noticeable contribution from grazing cattle to the bacteria loading of these streams.

Monitoring and Educational Programs Focused on Bacteria and Nutrient Runoff on Dairy Operations in the Leon Watershed

Project Goals/Objectives: The overall objective of the project is to collect watershed specific data in an effort to quantify the major sources of E. coli bacteria on dairy operations. Information and data collected during the monitoring phase will be used in the development of an educational program focusing on best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the movement of E. coli bacteria and nutrients to surface waters.

Statewide Bacterial Source Tracking Program for FY2015

Project Background: According to the 2012 Texas Integrated Report, there 272 impairments due to excessive bacteria. One key to effectively abating these impairments is the identification and assessment of fecal pollution sources. Proper evaluation of these sources is needed to target best management practices and develop bacterial total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) or watershed protection plans (WPPs).

Statewide Bacterial Source Tracking Program FYs 13-14

Protection of water resources is one of the most significant environmental challenges of the new millennium. Nonpoint sources (NPS) of pollution, including agricultural activities, can greatly impact water quality. One key component in effectively implementing a NPS pollution abatement program is the identification and assessment of sources of fecal pollution. Proper evaluation of these sources is needed to target best management practices (BMPs) and develop bacterial total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) or watershed protection plans (WPPs). This information may also be useful to properly assess risk in contact recreation, as many waterborne pathogens causing human illness do not colonize nonhuman hosts. According to the 2010 Texas Integrated Report, there are over 300 impairments due to excessive bacteria.

Watershed Protection Plan Development for Buck Creek

The Red River Basin includes 29 classified segments and 11 major reservoirs covering 145,169 acres. Buck Creek, also known as Spiller Creek, is a small waterbody situated within the Red River Basin and is located within a subwatershed to the Lower Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River (Segment 0207). This stream segment is located within Ecoregion 27, Central Great Plains. Small streams within this region are typically characterized by widely varying flows and high levels of dissolved salts, generally originating from saltwater seeps and springs.

Watershed Protection Plan Development for the Navasota River below Lake Limestone

Project Goals/Objectives: 1) Characterize current bacteria loadings and sources for the watershed 2) Determine needed levels of loading reduction to restore the waterbody 3) Work with watershed stakeholders to select and prioritize management measures needed to restore the waterbody 4) Develop a watershed protection plan for the Navasota River below Lake Limestone