TWRI and a coalition of groups has been given the green light to draft a watershed protection plan for the Petronila and San Fernando Creek watershed. This watershed feeds the Baffin Bay of southeastern Texas.
The 2020 Texas Integrated Report and 303(d) List includes segments of Petronila and San Fernando creeks as impaired for elevated levels of enterococcus and E. coli, as well as a pH impairment. There are also several water quality concerns throughout the Baffin Bay watershed which include elevated levels of nitrates, chlorophyll-a and total phosphorus. The Nueces River Authority routinely monitors water quality in these creeks and these data are used by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to evaluate water quality compared to applicable water quality standards.
Through this project, the team will investigate water quality conditions by analyzing existing watershed data and collecting additional water quality data in strategic locations. Data will be synthesized and made available to stakeholders for use in deciding what will go into the watershed protection plan (WPP). Meetings will be hosted and discussions will be facilitated to convey water quality and watershed information to stakeholders and to solicit stakeholder guidance regarding WPP content. This information will enable the development of a WPP that includes voluntary management practices that are appropriate and effective for restoring the health of the watershed.
- Acquire, compile and evaluate existing data and related information
- Collect surface water quality and flow data to assess pollutant loading
- Establish needed pollutant load reductions to meet water quality standards
- Expand the Baffin Bay Stakeholder Group and facilitate the development of a WPP for Petronila and San Fernando creeks
- Develop a stakeholder-driven WPP that prioritizes strategies for the implementation of best management practices to restore and protect the water quality of the watershed as well as present a unified approach to seek and secure implementation funding and coordinate outreach and education efforts in the watershed.
Dr. Lucas Gregory currently serves as an assistant director and quality assurance officer for TWRI.
Clare Entwistle Escamilla, TWRI research specialist, provides leadership for various research and extension projects, working with university faculty, state, local and federal governments and stakeholders, to address statewide water related issues.