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 Mapping Texas Streams: Water Quality and Ecological Significance

HARC staff worked with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to link ArcGIS data describing ecologically significant streams in Texas with data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) 2002 303(d) list of impaired waters to build an ArcIMS interactive mapping system for the metropolitan areas of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. TPWD's criteria for defining a stream as ecologically significant include biological function, hydrologic function, riparian conservation area, high water quality/exceptional aquatic life/high aesthetic value criteria and threatened or endangered species/unique community. The 303(d) gives a list of water bodies that do not meet certain water quality standards; parameters can include pH, dissolved oxygen, bacteria, dissolved solids or heavy metals. Linking these different parameters on a state-wide level quickly shows researchers, students and the public ecologically significant streams in the state that may be threatened.

In 2004, HARC expanded the interactive stream mapping application to include the 16 water planning regions in Texas. 2002 data from TPWD's assessment of ecologically significant streams were linked to the 2002 TCEQ 303 (d) list of impaired waters in Texas, giving a state-wide picture of the Texas stream data.

In 2006, HARC staff further expanded the interactive stream mapping application to include benthic data for Galveston Bay. The integration of biological data into spatial mapping applications aids researchers in habitat analysis. The data include information from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), including Taxonomic Serial Numbers (TSNs) and the associated data-specific ITIS URL. In 2010, the application was updated with the latest 303(d) list of impaired waters data.

HARC Significant Stream Mapping Project

Choose one of the following regions to view (mapping application opens in a new window) :


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