The Brownsville Ship Channel and Port Isabel Fishing Harbor are included on the 2014 Texas Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality for elevated bacteria levels. In addition, the Brownsville Ship Channel and the Lower Laguna Madre, assessment unit 2491_03, have concerns for low dissolved oxygen. There is currently no bacteria impairment for the Lower Laguna Madre Assessment Unit 2491_03, but there is a lack of routine bacteria data. Limited data has been collected to assess the watershed’s impairments, concerns, and determining the contributing sources for these impairments. There is a lack of water quality data collection regarding the Resacas (ancient distributary channels of the Rio Grande River).
As a response to the findings cited above, the Lower Laguna Madre and Brownsville Ship Channel (LLMBSC) Watershed Partnership Steering Committee (WPSC) was formed in 2016 and the stakeholders, led by Cameron County, decided to develop a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) to address the bacteria impairments and other concerns within the watershed. Cameronc county and WPSC have appointed UTRGV civil engineering department to develop this Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) consistent with the EPA’s 9 Key Element Plan developed in conformance with the EPA Review Guide for Watershed-Based Plans, and Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Water.