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Orange County

Background and Goals

Orange County Watershed
Orange County Watershed

Adams Bayou and Cow Bayou are located in southeast Texas. Their combined watersheds cover almost 250 square miles in the coastal area of the Sabine River Basin. The water flow in the bayous is intermittent, and periods of no flow are very common.

Water quality testing found that bacteria levels in the bayous and their tributaries may pose a health risk for swimmers. Low concentrations of dissolved oxygen (DO) in some areas of the creek indicate that conditions are not optimal for aquatic life.

The goals of the project are to: (1) reduce bacteria levels in the bayous to ensure that recreational use is safe, and (2) maintain concentrations of dissolved oxygen and pH in the bayous at levels that will sustain aquatic life.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is working with the Sabine River Authority to determine the measures necessary to improve water quality in the project watersheds.

Texas Stream Team (TST) staff and volunteers will provide significant resources to implement water quality monitoring, track program accomplishments, and conduct public education and outreach activities. Using the expertise of staff and volunteers, TST will play a substantive role in helping to make this project successful.

TCEQ Fact Sheet

TST Activities in Orange County

TST (then Texas Watch) conducted a training in the summer of 2007 at Lamar University in Beaumont. Twelve teachers attended this training with two identified as teaching in Orange, Texas. TST staff stayed a second day to attend a field trip at Shangri La. In the afternoon, staff conducted an extended phase three training based upon teacher request.

In October 2007, TST (then Texas Watch) held a water quality monitoring training. The indoor portion of the training was held at the Shangri La Education Center and the afternoon portion was held at Lions Club Park in Orange, Texas. Ten participants attended from Port Arthur ISD, Beaumont ISD, and other local middle and high schools. 

In November, 14 Orange environmental studies high school students were trained to monitor for E. coli in Orange. Monitoring equipment for E. coli was provided to the environmental studies group.

In February 2008, TST hosted a water quality training at the West Orange Community Center for Lamar University students, local teachers, and concerned community members.

Thanks to Shangri La and the City of West Orange for sponsoring activities in the watershed including water quality monitoring trainings and the Fall 2007 Regional Meeting. 

If you or your organization would like to sponsor future TST activities in Orange County, please contact us.

Local community members, students,teachers, community service, and environmental organizations are encouraged to begin water quality monitoring in Orange County. Please email if you would like to participate in a TST training.

A map of TST monitoring locations in the lower Sabine River Basin is available for download here.

A map of lower Sabine River Basin land use/land cover is available for download here.

A map of the lower Sabine River Basin in relation to Sea Rim State Park is available for download here.

Public Participation Group

An advisory group is established to advise TCEQ on this project. Advisory group meetings are open to all. Find out more about meetings and membership of the advisory group.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)s

The commission adopted these TMDLs on June 13, 2007. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the TMDLs on August 28, 2007, at which time they became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

Seventeen Total Maximum Daily Loads for Bacteria, Dissolved Oxygen, and pH in Adams Bayou, Cow Bayou, and Their Tributaries, Segments 0508, 0508A, 0508B, 0508C, 0511, 0511A, 0511B, 0511C, and 0511E.

Response to Public Comment on the TMDLs for Adams and Cow Bayous and Tributaries

Project Documents

Project documents are available as PDF files.

Project Overview

Historical Data Review

Sampling Plan

Quality Assurance Project Plan

For more Information

For information about the advisory committee, please call Earlene Lambeth at (512)239-3129. For technical information regarding the project, please call Ward Ling at (512)239-6238. Or email, and reference the Orange County project in the subject line.

To read Ward Ling's of TCEQ informative article on Orange County TMDL, click here.