Plum Creek Watershed Partnership

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Plum Creek Watershed Partnership
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Founded: 2006
State: Texas
Counties: Caldwell, Hays, Travis

Plum Creek Geography

Plum Creek rises in Hays County north of Kyle and runs south through Caldwell County, passing Lockhart and Luling, and eventually joins the San Marcos River at their confluence at the Caldwell-Gonzales County line. The main stem of Plum Creek is a 52 river mile segment with a drainage area of approximately 397 mi². Major tributaries to Plum Creek in the watershed include: Brushy Creek, Clear Fork of Plum Creek, West Fork of Plum Creek, Elm Creek, Dry Creek, Porter Creek, Tenney Creek and Salt Branch. Since long before the watershed resembled what it does today, Plum Creek has been an important part of the local landscape. Abundant freshwater springs flowing into Plum Creek around present day Lockhart have attracted people for hundreds of years. Plum Creek continues to play a critical role in the area, and the largest cities in the watershed are found very close to the stream and its tributaries. Water from the Plum Creek Watershed can be used for drinking water, irrigating both agricultural crops and lawns, watering livestock, and recreational purposes.

Water Quality

After high nutrient levels (both nitrogen and phosphorus) were found in Plum Creek in 1998, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also became concerned about E. coli bacteria in 2002. By 2004, parts of Plum Creek in both urban and rural areas were classified as having contact recreation impaired by E. coli. Nutrient levels also have remained high and pose a threat to stream health. According to the Draft 2008 Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List, Plum Creek (Segment 1810) continues to exhibit elevated nutrient levels and is impaired by elevated bacteria concentrations.

Watershed Partnership Formation

These water quality issues, in conjunction with land use across the watershed, increasing urban development, oil and gas production and potential for agricultural nonpoint source pollution, were considered when Plum Creek was selected for the watershed planning process. To focus on cleaning up water in the stream, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service partnered with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to assemble a group of local citizens, city and county officials, and regional and state agencies. The resulting Plum Creek Watershed Partnership began to identify the causes of water pollution and develop strategies to increase awareness and improve conditions in Plum Creek. These strategies were used to create the Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan, which details ways to work toward cleaning up the stream now and protecting it from pollution in the future.

External Links