Relationship of fecal indicator bacteria to demographic patterns and land use in Austin, Texas

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Porras, Abel
Richter, Aaron
Herrington, Chris

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City of Austin Watershed Protection Department


The City of Austin assessed the relationship of existing Escherichia coli fecal indicator bacterial data from non-storm influenced stream samples collected during the 2006-2012 Environmental Integrity Index (EII) sampling campaigns with associated demographic and land use data. The three analytical methods were used including a geostatistical analysis, a multiple linear regression analysis and a Random Forest model. Geostatistical analysis suggests higher density of median non-storm E. coli in the urban core and northern (or more developed) portions of the eastern watersheds relative to the western watersheds. By multiple linear regression analysis, flood detention structural controls were inversely related to bacteria counts while impervious cover in the riparian zone, transportation land use, industrial land use, presence of treated wastewater discharges and household density were directly related to bacteria counts. Different explanatory variables emerge in multiple linear regression models when sampling reaches are separated into east, west and urban groupings.


This report shares fecal bacteria collected from several Austin creeks in 2013, including Waller Creek.

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