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Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program

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Role of the TSSWCB

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) is a member of Texas' Coastal Coordination Advisory Committee, which administers the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. The TSSWCB manages the agricultural and silvicultural portions of this program.

Overview of the Program

The Texas Coastal Management Program was approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on January 10, 1997. The Texas Coastal Management Program is administered by the Texas Coastal Coordination Council and staff of the Texas General Land Office.

Irrigation Ditch

Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments requires each state with an approved Coastal Management Program to develop a federally approvable program to control coastal nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. The program must be submitted within 30 months of Coastal Management Program approval.

As a result, the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program (PDF, 5.66 MB) was submitted in December 1998 by the Coastal Coordination Council. The Coastal Management Program recognizes the TSSWCB and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as holding primary responsibility over the development and implementation of the NPS program. Other supporting agencies involved include the Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Transportation, and the Railroad Commission of Texas.

On July 3, 2003, NOAA granted Conditional Approval to the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. Texas has five years to meet the five remaining conditions to gain full approval of the program:

  1. New Development and Site Development (areas not covered by Phase II Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System stormwater program)
  2. Watershed Protection and Existing Development.
  3. New and Operating Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems (OSDS)
  4. Roads, Highways, and Bridges (not under TxDOT jurisdiction)
  5. Hydromodification

Read NOAA's Conditional Approval Findings (PDF, 215 kB) for the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program.

Texas proposes to implement its Coastal NPS Pollution Control Program through a group of networked programs that would combine geographical and categorical approaches to addressing NPS pollution. The geographical approach is addressed through Texas' basin management cycle, which provides a framework for coordinating, developing, and implementing water quality management programs throughout the state. Key water quality activities such as monitoring, assessment, data management, permitting and reporting are coordinated on a basin-wide scale.

The categorical approach is addressed through the State's NPS Management Program, and through the TCEQ's Water Quality Management Program, Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Program, Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program, and the Water Pollution Control and Abatement Program.

Irrigation Ditch

These programs encompass all categories of NPS pollution listed in the federal guidance for the development of coastal NPS pollution control programs. Many of the programs rely on non-regulatory measures for implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and reduction of NPS pollution. Non-regulatory measures are used first. If initial voluntary measures do not work, backup enforcement authorities are employed. Together, these programs have pollution control measures that are equal to or more stringent than the measures described in §6217(g).

In addition to working within the programs listed above, the Coastal NPS Program will coordinate with numerous other programs, such as the Galveston Bay Estuary Program and the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, to ensure wide participation and input into the Coastal NPS Program.

The Coastal NPS Program will be implemented over three five-year periods. The first five-year implementation plan is for fiscal years 2001-2005. The second period will be for fiscal years 2006-2010, and the third period will be for 2011-2015.

Federal Grant Program for the Coastal Zone

Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended in 1990, created a grant program that encouraged states to propose Coastal Management Program changes in nine potential enhancement areas.

Texas' first Section 309 Assessment and Strategies Report was submitted to NOAA on March 2, 1998. In the first three years of implementation, Texas focused on three of the nine priority enhancement areas: protecting wetlands, improved pubic access to the shoreline, and addressing cumulative and secondary impacts to natural resources from NPS pollution.

A fourth enhancement area, coastal hazards, was ranked as a medium priority. While coastal hazards pose great threats to the coastal zone, Texas is pursuing avenues to address this issue outside the §309 program. Texas intends to continue its emphasis on the same three priorities and complete its initial objectives in these areas during the next three years.

For More Information, contact:

For additional information or questions, contact Brian Koch, Regional Watershed Coordinator, at 979-532-9496 or bkoch [at]

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