The Lampasas River above Stillhouse Hollow Lake is on the 2006 303(d) List for elevated bacteria levels. Water quality monitoring data also indicate nutrient enrichment in isolated areas within the watershed. The State of Texas requires water quality in the Lampasas River be suitable for contact recreation, a healthy aquatic ecosystem, fish consumption and general use.
During periods of rainfall, bacteria (E. coli) originating from birds and mammals, livestock, inadequately treated sewage, and/or failing septic systems may be washed into the Lampasas River and its tributaries and have the potential to contribute to elevated bacteria densities; consequently, impairing recreational use of the waterbody. E. coli may remain in the streams at levels exceeding established criteria, measured well after a rain event has occurred. These organisms are normally found in wastes of warm-blooded animals and are generally not harmful to human health, but may indicate the presence of pathogens.
The Water Sciences Team from Texas A&M AgriLife Research at Blackland Research and Extension Center (BREC) along with collaborators from Texas A&M University's Spatial Sciences Lab and Texas AgriLife Extension Service are addressing the Lampasas River water quality issues through a coordinated effort to facilitate and encourage public education, awareness, and involvement of water quality issues and conduct a science-based analysis of the watershed.
BREC will foster the development of a Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan (WPP), which is a coordinated framework for implementing prioritized and integrated water quality protection and restoration strategies driven by environmental objectives. Through the WPP process, stakeholders will holistically address all of the sources and causes of impairments and threats to both surface and ground water resources within the watershed. The WPP, with the support of stakeholders, will assure the long-term health of the watershed with strategies for protecting unimpaired waters and restoring impaired waters.