Several waterways have been flagged in East Texas as being bacterially impaired (containing fecal indicator bacteria), including portions of the upper Neches River. Water quality is important to support healthy aquatic ecosystems as well as the well-being of inhabitants near or downstream of a water body. Many factors can contribute to the water quality of rivers, such as agriculture, recreational use, and urban and industrial growth. This study examined the water quality of specific branches in the Upper Neches River including the Neches River above Lake Palestine and Black Fork Creek. All sample sites were visited during the months of April, May, June, and July 2019. Water quality assessments were performed including tests of bacterial impairment, dissolved oxygen, and pH. Fish and macroinvertebrate assays were also completed. The data were used to calculate water quality indices (index of biotic integrity and index of benthic macroinvertebrate biotic integrity). Asian Clams, Corbicula fluminea, collected during the macroinvertebrate assays were used to obtain Escherichia coli DNA. The bacterial DNA was analyzed by multiplex PCR to determine the presences of virulence genes. 2 Bacterial contamination was detected at all sampling sites during each sampling event at levels averaging greater than the maximum allowed amount of 126 MPN/100 mL. The B-IBI and IBI results suggest impairment of steams not related to habitat degradation. The bacteria present in our Neches River study sites indicated the presence of strains within the pathovars enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), enterotoxogenic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, and Shigella species.

Date of publication

Fall 8-26-2021

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Lance R. Williams, Brent Bill, Riqing Yu, Marsha Williams


M - Biology

Included in

Biology Commons