State Water Resources Research Institute Program (WRRI)

Details for Project ID 2009LA62B, 2009

Fecal Coliform TMDL Development for Holly Beach

Institute: Louisiana
Start Date: 2009-03-01 End Date: 2010-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $17,689 Total Non-Federal Funds: $39,377

Principal Investigators: Zhi-Qiang Deng

Abstract: The Federal Clean Water Act requires states under section 303(d) to list waters impaired for recreation (fishing, swimming) and further requires states under section 305(b) to report on the status of those waters. USEPA requires states to develop Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)studies on impaired waters for the pollutants causing impairment. Holly Beach is one of the two most attractive beaches in Louisiana, and is the best among the west Louisiana beaches. Use of this 3.5 mile beach is very high and thus the importance of Holly Beach to the local economy is high. Unknown sources of bacterial contamination frequently place the Cameron Parish beaches, especially Holly Beach, in the advisory category, significantly increasing beachgoers’ risk of bacterial infection and thus reducing the use of the beaches and adversely affecting local economic development. Beach water quality impairment is commonly caused by various bacterial sources distributed in watersheds. The best way to protect beach water quality and public health is thus to identify the sources causing beach contamination and to address those sources at watershed-scale since the majority of beach water quality is related to the quality of the rivers flowing into beaches. The primary goal of this research is thus to present an efficient and effective approach to bacterial source area tracking and to the development of fecal coliform TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for Holly Beach, Louisiana. To achieve the goal, the research is split into five specific objectives (tasks): (1) gathering and processing of water quality and remote sensing data, (2) mapping of watershed time of concentration of bacteria carrying runoff, (3) inverse tracking of priority source area of bacterial pollution, (4) Fisher information mapping of bacteria-impaired waterbodies, and (5) fecal coliform TMDL calculations for Holly Beach. The proposed strategy is to test and demonstrate the approach by tracking priority source area(s) of fecal indicator bacteria causing the contamination of Holly Beach within Cameron Parish, Louisiana through the combined application of watershed modeling tool (HSPF model) and remote sensing technology. Anticipated results from the project include (1) development of a novel bacterial source area tracking method, (2) identification of priority source area(s) of fecal indicator bacteria in the Calcasieu River Basin, Louisiana, (3) development of a remote sensing information system based on the Fisher information defined in terms of MODIS Aqua and Terra data, and (4) development of fecal coliform TMDL for Holly Beach. The proposed research has broader implications for coastal resources management and coastal watershed restoration. The novel bacterial source area tracking method can be generally applied to tracking priority bacterial source areas in coastal waters and coastal watersheds. The newly defined Fisher information allows us to link various band reflectance values together and form an integrated remote sensing information system for the natural system, greatly enhancing the application of remote sensing technology in water quality management and TMDL development. Although this study focuses on fecal coliform bacteria, the approach developed in this project can be applied to the development of TMDLs for other contaminants and nutrients. The results from this project will be transferred to the Beach Monitoring Program of LouisianaDepartment of Health and Hospitals and the NPS (nonpoint source) Program of Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.