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Influence of the Waugh Street Bat Colony on Indicator Bacteria Levels in Buffalo Bayou


To determine the influence of the Waugh Street Bridge bat colony on indicator bacteria levels within Buffalo Bayou. Primary objective is to conduct a critical review of existing site data and pertinent published literature and conduct a focused field study on the ambient levels of indicator bacteria above and below the bat colony. A secondary objective is to determine the percentage contribution of indicator bacteria attributable to bats. A combination of cultivation-based and molecular methods will be used to identify and enumerate indicator bacteria in the guano (cells/gram feces) and in Buffalo Bayou.

Study Area

Waugh Street Bridge & Buffalo Bayou, Houston

Project Period

2008 – 2009

Project Description

The project objective is to determine if the Waugh Street bat colony is affecting bacteria levels in Buffalo Bayou. Our primary approach included upstream and downstream sampling in the vicinity of the colony. During each quarterly sampling period we collected samples in the late afternoon of the first day and at sunrise of the following day at each site. Water quality and bacteriological sampling was conducted using standard methods described in the TCEQ Surface Water Quality Monitoring and Clean Rivers Program guidance manuals (TCEQ 2003). Bacteria samples were collected mid-stream with the use of a telescoping sampler. Samples were returned to the laboratory for analysis of E. coli bacteria using the IDEXX Colilert® defined substrate method that has been approved for use in Texas by the TCEQ and EPA and is described in TCEQ (2003).


Guillen, G., Brinkmeyer, R., Wrast, J. 2010. Influence of the Waugh Street bat colony on indicator bacteria levels in Buffalo Bayou. EIH Technical Report 10-016:48.

Project Sponsors


  • Environmental Institute of Houston

    Phone: 281-283-3950

    North Office Annex
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 540
    Houston, TX 77058-1002