Watershed Protection Planning
Watershed Protection Planning for the Dry Comal Creek & Comal River
The City of New Braunfels and its project partners are currently moving forward with the development of a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) to address bacteria concerns in the Dry Comal Creek and Comal River watersheds. Phase One of the Dry Comal Creek/ Comal River WPP kicked off in August 2015 and included efforts to characterize the watershed, assemble a working stakeholder group and define bacteria load reductions needed to meet applicable water quality standards for bacteria. Phase Two involves continued stakeholder involvement, identification of bacteria management measures, and development of a watershed protection plan. Partners on the Dry Comal Creek/ Comal River WPP include the City of New Braunfels, ARCADIS, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) , Edwards Aquifer Authority and Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA).
Historical data collected by GBRA as part of ongoing Clean Rivers Program sampling identified Dry Comal Creek (Segment 1811A) as impaired for E.coli bacteria. Segment 1811A was initially included on the 303(d) list in 2010. In 2011, the City of New Braunfels proactively initiated a bacteria monitoring program on Dry Comal Creek to supplement data collected as part of the Clean Rivers Program monitoring conducted by GBRA. The City of New Braunfels also initiated a supplemental bacteria monitoring program on the Comal River to address increasing bacteria levels in the Comal River watershed. A preliminary bacteria source tracking (BST) analysis was conducted in 2013 to help identify potential bacteria sources on the Dry Comal Creek and the Comal River. The preliminary BST analysis indicated significant contributions from wildlife. In 2014, GBRA added an additional monitoring location on the Comal River in Landa Park, upstream of the confluence with Dry Comal Creek, to help assess the impact of elevated Dry Comal Creek bacteria concentrations on the Comal River. The project team is utilizing all existing water quality data from the Dry Comal Creek and Comal River to support water quality modeling efforts and to help identify bacteria loading trends. Water quality data collected by the GBRA on the Dry Comal Creek and the Comal River as part of the Clean Rivers Program can be found on the GBRA website found at this link: GBRA Clean Rivers Program Water Quality Monitoring Locations and Data in Comal County.
- Draft Watershed Protection Plan
- Stakeholder and Work Group Meeting Documents
- WPP Project Infographic
The project team produced a draft WPP that was presented to the stakeholders at the meeting on June 22nd, 2017. The draft WPP was submitted to TCEQ for review on August 23, 2017. The working draft of the Dry Comal Creek and Comal River Watershed Protection Plan can be accessed by following the link below:
The project team received comments back from TCEQ on October 18, 2017. The comments and the project team's responses can be accessed by following the link below:
Next steps include final approval from TCEQ and then submission to EPA.
Overview of the Watersheds
Dry Comal Creek
Dry Comal Creek at Seguin Street, New Braunfels, TX. The stream segment
The Comal River begins in Landa Park in the heart of New Braunfels, TX as water from the Comal Springs discharges from the Edwards Aquifer along the Balcones Fault Zone. Average springflow from the Comal springs is more than 300 cubic feet per second! The Comal River is the shortest navigable river in Texas at 2 1/2 miles long. The river offers excellent water recreation opportunities and is also home to several endangered species.
The Dry Comal Creek/ Comal River WPP is one of the many watershed protection planning efforts occurring within the State of Texas. A listing of WPPs in Texas can be found via the following link: TCEQ Watershed Protection Planning Projects
Tips for Reducing Bacteria Loading:
Avoid feeding wildlife including deer, ducks, and geese. Feeding wildlife can lead to concentrated populations of animals which may result in increased bacteria content in our local waterways. Concentrated populations of wildlife can also result in the proliferation of harmful diseases among the animals. Feeding of wildlife is unhealthy for the wildlife themselves as decreases their ability to locate food on their own. Please view the information from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding the negative impacts of feeding ducks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCPAAmlNXxI
Pick-up after your pet! Pet waste can be a significant source of bacteria in our rivers and creeks.
Perform routine maintenance of your septic system! It is recommended that your septic system be inspected regularly and pumped every 3-5 years. Additional information regarding septic system maintenance can be found by following this link (TCEQ: Basics for Septic Systems)
If you have any questions regarding the Dry Comal Creek/ Comal River Watershed Protection Plan, please contact the City of New Braunfels Watershed Management Division at (830) 221.4020