TR-542 Texas Bacterial Source Tracking Program (FY20-FY21)

Authors: Lucas Gregory, Brian Hux, Terry J. Gentry, Anna Gitter, Carlos Monserrat, and Kristina D. Mena

The 2020 Texas Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality identified 338 waterbodies as being impaired due to excessive bacteria in Texas. To identify bacterial sources and help address these impairments, Texas established the Bacterial Source Tracking (BST) Program in 2006. To support the maintenance, expansion, and use of the Texas BST Library and other BST tools, the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health El Paso Campus Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (UTH SPH), and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences (SCSC) collaborated with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to: continue personnel support and operation and maintenance of analytical infrastructure at public BST laboratories; continue delivery of information and materials that give an overview of BST activities in Texas to date and describe the use, capabilities, and applicability of BST and the services provided by the State-supported analytical labs to local, state, and national stakeholder audiences; expand the Texas Escherichia coli (E. coli) BST Library through known source sample collection in the Leon River watersheds; support BST efforts in the Leon River watersheds; evaluate and refine the Texas E. coli BST Library by assessing geographic and temporal stability, composition, average rates of correct classification, diversity of source isolates of the updated library, and working to develop/refine source-specific bacteria markers for library independent BST; provide statistical characterization of the Texas E. coli BST Library and integration of BST results and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to evaluate the human health significance; and provide outreach regarding.