Arroyo Colorado

Lower Laguna Madre/Brownsville Ship Channel Watershed

Project Overview

Funding Source

Funding provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as part of a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant.

Problem/Need Statement

The Brownsville-Resaca Watershed is located south of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed and north of the Rio Grande Watershed; and contributes approximately 25 percent of the freshwater flow into the Lower Laguna Madre Bay in Cameron County, Texas. The Brownsville-Resaca Watershed includes several TCEQ classified segments: the Lower Laguna Madre, (Segment 2491_03), the Lower Laguna Madre (Segment 2491_01), the Brownsville Ship Channel (Segment 2494), Port Isabel Fishing Harbor (Segment 2494A), the Lower Laguna Madre (Segment 2491A), and South Bay (Segment 2493). This watershed includes the City of Brownsville and numerous townships in the surrounding area. The human population of this watershed is approximately 350,000 people.

Limited data has been collected to assess the watershed's impairments, concerns, and determining the contributing sources for these impairments. There is a lack of water quality data collection regarding the Resacas (ancient distributary channels of the Rio Grande River).

General Project Description

Information and partnerships from this project will provide the foundation for future development of a watershed-based plan. One goal of this project is to identify existing data and data gaps to characterize the hydrologic, land use, and water quality circumstances in the watershed. This characterization is needed to help identify a path forward in selecting an analytical method for estimating pollutant loads. The ultimate goal of this project is also to engage, educate, and solicit input from stakeholders on what they believe the goals, objectives, and indicators should be for addressing the water quality impairments and concerns.

Watershed characterization will start conducted by collecting existing data from various sources, identifying the causes of water quality impairments and issues, identifying of sources of pollution, quantifying pollutant loadings from these sources, and developing an inventory of the data from the watershed. This data will be analyzed to identify indicator parameters that can be used to assess current conditions and measure progress toward meeting water quality goals. A conceptual model will be developed to show the linkage between the water quality problems and sources of impairments. This analysis will include a spatial and temporal exploration of water quality problems and source(s) of pollution in the watershed. Overall, identification and analysis of existing data will assist in determining data gaps and what data needs to be collected. Contingent upon the results of the analysis, water quality monitoring will be conducted in an effort to minimize data gaps that exist. Additionally, new data collected under this project and a subsequent project will drive the selection of the analytical method that will be used for estimating pollutant loads which will be identified through this project. A report providing descriptions for all of the above will be developed and included in the Final Report.

Stakeholders will be engaged to provide the local input needed to identify goals, objectives, and indicators that will help in the watershed planning process. The project team will identify and meet with key individuals to inform them of the water quality issues and solicit their input on the most appropriate methods for proceeding. Public stakeholder meetings will be held in an effort to develop and refine goals that will meet the water quality standards; identify issues and concerns of the stakeholders; solicit input on major deliverables; and gain public acceptance of the project. Further, project information will be disseminated through public outreach and educational opportunities as well as through media sources, events, and a project website.

Characterization through this project will provide the analytical approaches that can be taken.

Public Participation Plan

Task 1: Project Administration

Objective: To effectively administer, coordinate, and monitor all work performed under this project including technical and financial supervision and preparation of status reports.

Task 2: Quality Assurance

Objective: To refine, document, and implement data quality objectives (DQOs) and quality assurance/control (QA/QC) activities tha.t ensure data of known and acceptable quality are generated by this project.

Task 3: Watershed Characterization - Data Evaluation

Objective: To collect data and information in order to identify the causes of water quality impairments and issues in the watershed and to identify the sources of pollution contributing to water quality  impairments and issues.

Task 4: Partnership Coordination

Objective: Identify and engage stakeholders in the evaluation of water quality conditions in the watershed and the planning needed to address identified issues.

Task 5: Final Report

Objective: Performing Party will produce a Final Report that summarizes all activities completed and conclusions reached during the project. The report must describe project activities, and identify and discuss the extent to which project goals and purposes have been achieved, and the amount of funds actually spent on the project. The report should emphasize successes, failures, lessons learned, and should include specific water quality data demonstrating water quality improvements if applicable. The Final Report must summarize all the Task Reports in either the text or as appendices.

View full Public Participation Plan


Past Meetings

May 24-27, 2017 Stormwater Conference

August 12, 2016

August 3, 2016

July 27, 2016

April 14, 2016

January 21, 2016

June 25, 2015

February 26, 2015


Project Personnel/Contact

Jaime Flores
Program Coordinator, TWRI