Oso Bay: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses
Coastal Basins: Bays and Estuaries, Nueces–Rio Grande Coastal Basin
Overview and Goals
Oso Bay is an enclosed, shallow body of water situated along the southern shore of Corpus Christi Bay, with a surface area of approximately seven square miles. The bay exchanges saltwater with Corpus Christi Bay and receives fresh water from Oso Creek, a stream whose flow is dominated by discharges subject to permit. Ecologically, Oso Bay provides habitat for many plants and animals, and plays an influential role in water purification and storm protection.
In 2002, water quality testing found that concentrations of bacteria are elevated in both the bay and the creek, which may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in them. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people come in direct contact with the water. The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations to within acceptable risk levels for contact recreation.
Staff from the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation are working with communities, interest groups, and local organizations to distribute information about the Oso Bay and Creek projects and involve stakeholders in developing a plan for watershed improvement. All public meetings about this project are open to anyone interested. Meeting records are on the Foundation's website.
TMDL for Oso Bay
On August 22, 2007, the commission adopted a TMDL for Oso Bay. On June 6, 2008, the EPA approved the TMDL, at which time it became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.
- One TMDL for Bacteria in Oso Bay, Segment Number 2485
- Response to Public Comment on the TMDL for Bacteria in Oso Bay
The following documents are provided to show the history of project development from 2005 through the present. Since the watershed changes over time, the older documents describe past, not current, conditions.
The TCEQ and area stakeholders are also working on TMDLs for bacteria in Oso Creek, which when implemented, will also affect conditions in the bay. A sampling project is also underway to assess the oyster waters use of Oso Bay.
Public Participation in TMDL Development
A committee called the Oso Bay Watershed Advisory Group was established to advise the TCEQ on this project. The last planned meeting of the Advisory Group was in June 2008.
Records of the group's membership and meetings are provided below in PDF .
Documents are provided in PDF .
- Monitoring Report, 2013 and 2014
- Oso Creek and Oso Bay Bacteria TMDL Model Report - 2006
- Oso Creek and Oso Bay Bacteria TMDL Model Report - 2005
- Map Showing Model Bacteria Loading and Land Use
- Water Quality and Biological Characterization of Oso Creek and Oso Bay, Corpus Christi, Texas
Please send an e-mail to email@example.com, and mention the Oso Bay Bacteria project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.