Urban Development in Non-MS4 Municipalities
Any time it rains in the coastal zone, the water flows into ditches, down storm drains, into stream and rivers, and eventually ends up in the rivers, bays and estuaries of the Gulf. Unfortunately, it is not only water that flows into the Gulf, but everything that this water collected along the way. That includes eroded soil, styrofoam cups, spilled oil, fertilizers from our lawns, pesticides from our farms and gardens, as well as sewage residue from home septic systems. The quality and quantity of this storm water runoff is determined both by natural geologic formations and by man-made features such as parking lots and ditches.
The Texas Coastal Zone is an important ecological area, however state water quality planning programs have identified water quality impairments in approximately 300 water bodies in Texas coastal counties. Storm water runoff from urban areas and roadways has been shown to contribute to many of these water quality impairments.
Storm water can be intercepted and filtered before it reaches a body of water. Vegetative filter strips, detention and retention ponds, dense vegetation and bioswales can all reduce the amount of water that finds its way to the bays and estuaries. We rely on these features to help reduce the volume of water that runs off during a heavy rain and to help filter the water that does make it to the rivers, bays, estuaries, or the Gulf of Mexico.
Through a grant with the Texas General Land Office, our goal is to facilitate the management, control, and reduction of non-point source (NPS) pollution originating from urban development in the Texas coastal zone. To help reduce NPS pollution stemming from small urban areas in the coastal zone, we have produced a technical guidance manual that will assist municipalities in the implementation of practices that are geared towards improving storm water quantity and quality. This document, as well as additional resources for homeowners and municipalities, is available for download in our Documents section.