Bastrop Bayou

Bastrop Bayou is a medium-sized coastal water body located in the coastal plain of southeastern Brazoria County. The area draining into the bayou and its tributaries is primarily rural, with some small urban centers and suburban development. The Bastrop Bayou Watershed also contains numerous coastal marsh areas vital to migrating waterfowl, including portions of the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. The bayou has both tidal (1105) and above-tidal (1106) segments, and three tributaries (Flores, Austin and Brushy bayous), none of which are currently listed on the State of Texas' list of impaired waterways (303d list).

While the watershed is currently sparsely populated outside of Angleton and Lake Jackson, its two urban centers, population projections for the Upper Gulf Coast region of Texas indicate it will share in the robust growth of the greater Houston area. Local stakeholders' concerns over the impacts of future growth and existing water quality issues led to the completion of a Risk Assessment study by H-GAC and GBEP in 2004. Based on the outcome of the study, in conjunction with strong community support, H-GAC applied for a non-point source pollution reduction grant from the TCEQ and additional funding from GBEP. This funding allowed H-GAC to facilitate local stakeholders' development of a WPP.

The WPP process began in 2006 and involved a locally-led evaluation of the causes and sources of bacteria, the primary pollutant of concern, in the Watershed. Stakeholders identified agriculture (Cattle ranching), urban runoff (including domestic pets), and failing OSSF as the primary sources of concern. H-GAC projected the future impact of bacteria from these sources, adjusted for future growth, using a series of computer models. Based on the reductions necessary to keep the water bodies below the State's water quality standard for contact recreation, the stakeholders selected recommended strategies and program elements, including cattle management practices (stream fencing, alternative water supplies), urban runoff practices (development of wet-bottom detention facilities, low impact development techniques), pet waste management practices (pet waste stations), and a comprehensive education program. Trash and litter were also a concern for stakeholders, and additional elements were added to the WPP, including trash reduction events and removal of abandoned boats. The WPP was completed in December of 2010 and submitted to the TCEQ.

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