Texas Bacterial Source Tracking Program

Bacterial source tracking (BST) is a valuable tool that can identify, and also rule-out, significant sources of E. coli pollution in a watershed. Using DNA fingerprints and bacterial markers, fecal pollution sources are identified by comparing E. coli DNA to those in a statewide library of known sources. Identifying and assessing sources of these bacteria is critical to properly determining risk to water recreation, developing effective watershed restoration strategies such as watershed protection plans (WPPs) and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), and efficiently targeting management measures.

Bacterial source tracking can:
  • Identify primary sources of E. coli
  • Illustrate the relative abundance of E. coli from identified sources
  • Determine the presence or absence of major watershed sources
  • Inform watershed management decisions
  • Allow resources to be used wisely and focused where pollutant reductions are needed most
Our BST program can provide:
  • Timely results
  • Thorough quality assurance and control standards
  • Easy to understand presentation and interpretation of results

Lucas Gregory

Dr. Lucas Gregory currently serves as an assistant director and quality assurance officer for TWRI.

Terry Gentry
Texas AgriLife Research, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences


      Funding provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board through State Nonpoint Source Grant Program.