The Upper Cibolo Creek (UCC) Watershed originates in the hills west of Boerne and ends at the confluence of Upper Cibolo and Balcones Creeks near the Kendall and Comal County line. The watershed has a drainage area of 77 square miles and contains just over 23 miles of UCC (Segment 1908). The watershed is characterized as mostly rural with light ranch and recreational use, but changes in land use due to development and suburbanization are expected to negatively impact water quality.
The UCC Watershed Partnership (Partnership) was formed in 2010 to take a proactive step in protecting and restoring water quality conditions within UCC. The Partnership was responsible for developing a non-regulatory watershed protection plan (PDF) (WPP) to promote awareness and initiate action in reducing nonpoint sources of pollution within the watershed. Stakeholders in the Partnership consist of local residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, local government, state and federal agencies, or anyone with a vested interest in the watershed.
In September 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved the UCC WPP. The Partnership’s focus has now shifted towards guiding the implementation of management strategies outlined in the document.
History of Water Quality Impairments
UCC has a history of elevated bacteria levels that often exceed state standards established for safe contact recreation. Beginning in 1999, UCC (Segments 1908) was listed on the Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List of impaired water bodies for depressed dissolved oxygen (DO) and elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria. From 2000-2004, UCC was only listed for depressed DO and from 2006-2010 UCC was listed only for bacteria. The 2012 Draft 303(d) List once again indicates bacteria impairments in the upstream reaches of UCC. Screening level data collected during these assessments have also indicated concerns for elevated nutrient levels, primary orthophosphorus.
Low Impact Development
In cooperation with the San Antonio River Authority the City of Boerne has created a Boerne Edition of the San Antonio River Basin Low Impact Development Technical Guidance Manual (PDF). The LID manual is another local resource that can be used to help improve surface water quality conditions throughout the watershed.
Although the planning phase is complete, the real work towards improving environmental conditions within the watershed is just getting started! Please use the UCC WPP as a resource to learn how you or your organization can reduce the amount of pollutants that are applied to our landscapes and eventually enter our local waterways. If you would like to get involved or for more information, please email Ryan Bass by calling 830-248-1538.