Feral swine creating water quality problems on major waterway

Feral swine creating water quality problems on major waterway

Water quality drops in creek that exchanges water with Corpus Christi Bay

Author: Logan Hawkes

Published: October 22, 2018

Water quality levels in Oso Creek are constantly at risk of high levels of bacteria, primarily because the seven-mile waterway serves as a major runoff during heavy rains and other flooding events.

But according to water quality and state wildlife officials, excessive numbers of feral swine along both Oso and Petronila Creeks in western Nueces County means E.coli contamination is on the rise in area waterways, potentially affecting the quality of life for the 500,000 residents of Nueces County who depend on the Lower Nueces River Watershed for clean drinking water.

While E.coli levels are greater in the two creeks than in the larger flow of the Nueces River, officials say every body of water on the Texas coast is being affected by the large and growing number of feral swine that add to the problem.

"When it comes to feral swine contaminating waterways, it's a two-edged sword really. In dry weather, the pigs will wallow on the banks of rivers and creeks and defecate fecal matter in the soil which works its way into the water, but when it is incredibly wet, as it has been in recent weeks, it doesn't matter much where they wallow because the runoff will carry the contaminants across the watershed and it ends up in the waterways," said JR Cantu, Farm Demonstration assistant at the Nueces County Extension office in Robstown.

Cantu has been charged with overseeing the county's new feral hog trap loan-out program for county landowners, a program designed to decrease feral swine numbers. The new traps are the latest invention in the war against feral swine, a battle that in spite of some success has so far failed to turn the tide of growing population numbers.

Check out the rest of the story from the Southwest Farm Press

© 2018 The Southwest Farm Press

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