The RUAA study was issued to determine the current recreational use of the creek. Findings of the RUAA had the capacity to influence a decision to lower contact recreation standards, potentially interfering with efforts to improve water quality in the creek. The RUAA found that Lower Cibolo Creek is frequently used for primary contact recreation activities such as swimming. Based on these findings, the TCEQ recommends that contact recreation standards should not be changed.
During the summer of 2008, San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and the TCEQ cohosted a public meeting in the Wilson County community of Kosciusko to inform Lower Cibolo Creek property owners that the RUAA was underway. Over 200 nearby residents attended the meeting, making clear their desire for recreation standards to remain intact. Following the public meeting, citizens and local elected officials continued to argue for preservation of contact recreation standards on the creek.
“The TCEQ’s decision is a victory for the health of Lower Cibolo Creek, but now the real work begins to bring bacteria levels within range for healthy swimming and other primary contact recreation activities,” says John Flieller, SARA board member representing Wilson County.
Currently, Lower Cibolo Creek is listed on the 2010 Texas Clean Water Act Section 303 (d) List of Impaired Water Bodies due to elevated bacteria levels. SARA is working hard to improve water quality through routine water quality monitoring and intensive monitoring to identify bacterial “hot spots” along the creek. These monitoring activities indicate that bacteria in the Lower Cibolo is caused by many small sources flowing into the creek during rain events, rather than one or two large polluters. This type of pollution, also known as non-point source pollution, is difficult to manage because it originates from properties across the watershed.
SARA will help the community achieve the goal of lowering bacteria in the creek. The agency will be providing educational programs and technical support to help property owners achieve reduced bacteria levels in Cibolo Creek over the coming months. For more information about these efforts, visit www.sara-tx.org.