Modeling bacterial load scenarios in a Texas coastal watershed to support decision-making for improving water quality

Stephanie Michelle Glenn, Ryan Bare, Bradley S. Neish


The planning for improved health of a stream can be optimized by assessing the watershed system as a whole; state and federal agencies have embraced this watershed approach for managing water quality (USEPA 2008). Using the watershed approach, bacteria loads in the Double Bayou watershed were modeled to identify critical loading areas and develop appropriate voluntary management measures as part of a watershed protection plan. The Spatially Explicit Load Enrichment Calculation Tool (SELECT) model was developed by the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Spatial Science Laboratory at Texas A&M University to estimate potential pollutant loadings from fecal indicator bacteria. For this study, SELECT modeling was performed to estimate bacterial loadings from the distribution of livestock, wildlife, a wastewater treatment facility, and on-site sewage facilities. Rankings of each contributing source were assessed for the entire watershed. The objective of this study was to analyze the success of using SELECT to evaluate bacteria loads in a rural coastal watershed; results showed SELECT was successful in the Double Bayou watershed in ranking categories of bacteria sources and revealing spatial load aggregations. This analysis guides discussion on the prioritization of management measures to improve water quality in the Double Bayou watershed.


bactera; bacterial load modeling; watersheds; water quality

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Copyright (c) 2017 Stephanie Michelle Glenn, Ryan Bare, Bradley S. Neish

Texas Water Journal

The Texas Water Journal is an online, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the timely consideration of Texas water resources management, research, and policy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates science, engineering, law, planning, and other disciplines. It also provides updates on key state legislation and policy changes by Texas administrative agencies. The journal is published by the Texas Water Journal, a nonprofit organization, in cooperation with the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife.

ISSN 2160-5319
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