Public invited to meeting on water quality of Neches River tributaries

Jack Creek

The Texas Water Resources Institute and others will host a meeting Nov. 22 in Lufkin related to area water quality impairments. (Texas Water Resources Institute photo)

The Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Angelina and Neches River Authority will host a meeting Nov. 22 in Lufkin for anyone interested in water quality impairments in Jack, Cedar, Hurricane and Biloxi creeks, tributaries of the Neches River below Lake Palestine.

The meeting will be at 10 a.m. at the Texas Forestry Association, 1903 Atkinson Drive.

Anna Gitter, research assistant for the institute, said specific segments of the four water bodies are currently unable to meet state water quality standards for contact recreation.

Portions of  Cedar Creek, Hurricane Creek and Biloxi Creek have been identified by the state as impaired for high concentrations of E. coli. A segment of Jack Creek has been identified as a concern for elevated concentrations of bacteria.

“E. coli is found in both human and animal waste and may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the streams,” Gitter said.

She said the meeting will initiate a stakeholder-driven process to develop a plan to restore and protect the local water resources.

“The planning process can result in a total maximum daily load, a watershed protection plan or both,” she said. “Regardless of the approach selected by stakeholders, the plan will be a road map for improving water quality and will outline the measures that will be used to reduce pollution.”

Gitter said current work in these watersheds is assessing the extent and potential causes of water quality issues to support future efforts to improve water quality.

“Input and guidance from local stakeholders are a key part of developing future solutions,” she said.

For more information on water quality standards, monitoring, total maximum daily loads and watershed protection plans, visit TCEQ’s website. For more information on the project, visit TWRI’s project page or contact Gitter at 979-458-5962 or anna.gitter@ag.tamu.edu.

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