An Analysis of Texas Waterways
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A Report on the Physical Characteristics of Rivers, Streams, and Bayous in Texas
Seasonal and Restrictive Waterways of Central Texas
This section contains an analysis of those sections of rivers and streams in Central Texas which have been found to contain an insufficient flow of water for recreational use, or for various reasons could not be classified as a major waterway, and would be restricted to seasonal usage. It has been determined that these waterway contain the basic characteristics indigenous to all waterway in the central portion of the State. However, their suitability for floating and or scenic attributes have been severely limited in some manner. It is with the realization that these waterways have potential for recreational use on a regional or local basis that this information is being provided.
Bee and Refugio Counties
The Aransas River contains adequate water for recreational use from a county road crossing east of Skidmore in Bee County to the public boat ramp on FM 629 in Refugio County. The stream generally is about 100 feet wide and meanders through typical coastal prairie land.
The stretch of Arroyo Colorado from FM 106 in Rio Hondo to Arroyo City near Laguna Madre is suitable for recreational use. The area of the Arroyo is typical of extreme South Texas brushlands. Very little current is in evidence on the Arroyo Colorado.
Barton Creek rises in western Travis County and flows eastward for about 35 miles to become a tributary of the Colorado River. Barton Creek is normally an intermittent stream. However, during periods of heavy rainfall it is considered one of the finest waterways for white water in Texas. When on a rise, this creek is dangerous to all but experienced white water recreationists. At normal water levels, Barton Creek is not suitable for recreational use. Favorable conditions for use during high water periods exist from a road off FM 2244 near Westlake Hills to Zilker Park in Austin. Points of reference are as follows: County road off US 290 - near Travis-Hays County line, Highway 71 crossing - 5 miles west of Austin city limits, Road off FM 2244 near Westlake Hills - two miles west of Austin city limits, West Loop extension of Ben White Blvd. - just west of Austin city limits, Zilker Park - on Bee Caves Road within Austin city limits.
Kendall, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Wilson and Karnes Counties
Cibolo Creek is a scenic, picturesque stream flowing 96 miles through Kendall, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Wilson, and Karnes Counties. The creek is often dry in parts, but suitable for recreational use during periods of consistent rainy weather. Baldcypress trees line the stream as it winds to its junction with the San Antonio River. There are two unique vegetative and geologic areas on the creek near Boerne. Cascade Cavern is 3.5 miles southeast, and Honey Comb Rock is 2.5 miles southeast to Boerne. The average flow of water in Cibolo Creek is approximately 30 cubic feet per second (CFS), which is insufficient to support normal waterway recreational activities.
Coleto Creek is a beautiful sandy creek which flows into the Guadalupe River. During periods of abundant rainfall, the section between FM 622 and US 77 is suitable for recreational use.
Flowing through the city of New Braunfels in the Comal River known as the shortest river (2 and one-half miles) in Texas. This highly utilized waterway has been found to be suitable for most types of recreational usage almost year round since there is always an adequate water supply from the hill country springs located within the city.
Garcitas Creek is suitable for recreational use from FM 616 near La Salle to Lavaca Bay. This is a six-mile stretch of still water. There are no roads at the mouth of the creek.
Palo Pinto County
Keechi Creek is a tributary of the Brazos River, joining the Brazos about 5 miles northwest of Mineral Wells. The section from SH 254 to SH 377 is suitable for recreational use during periods of heavy rainfall. This creek flows through the rough, rugged country of the Palo Pinto Mountains.
Onion Creek is a scenic creek, flowing from southwestern Travis County into the Colorado River. From IH 35 crossing south of Austin to SH 71 crossing near Del Valle; Onion Creek is suitable for recreational use provided above normal water conditions exist. There are a number of easy rapids on the stretch, along with McKinney Falls. The area around the creek is typical of the Hill Country and contains many limestone formations and cedar covered hills.
Palo Pinto Creek
Palo Pinto County
Palo Pinto Creek flows through the rough, rugged country of the Palo Pinto Mountains to join with the Brazos River near the town of Brazos. A section suitable for recreational use is located between SH 108 crossing and Palo Pinto Reservoir, and also below the reservoir dam to FM 129 south of Brazos. The upper section provides favorable conditions for recreational use practically year round; however, the section below the dam depends upon water being released from the dam before it is feasible.
Coleman and Brown Counties
Rising in Callahan County, Pecan Bayou flows southeast to join the Colorado River in Mills County. Its total length is approximately 100 miles. Pecan Bayou is the farthest west "bayou" in the United States. During periods of abundant rainfall, portions of the bayou are suitable for recreational use. However, dry periods result in shallow waters, particularly along the upper section. A good section for recreational use exists in Coleman and Brown Counties between SH 206 near Burkett and FM 2559 above Lake Brownwood. The bayou is primitive and natural, containing several deep holes and many shallow places. Camping is available on Lake Brownwood at Brownwood State Park.
Bandera and Uvalde Counties
Rising in western Bandera County, the Sabinal River flows generally south through Uvalde County where it joins the Frio River. Its total length is approximately 58 miles. The Sabinal, along its upper course, flows through extremely scenic portions of the Hill Country, including picturesque Sabinal Canyon. However, it issues from the Edwards Plateau in Uvalde County and flows into the semi-arid lands of South Texas. Here the Sabinal flows underground at normal water levels. During periods of abundant rainfall, the upper Sabinal has excellent potential for recreational use. Under normal conditions, however, the river has an insufficient flow to support extensive use. The average flow of water in the vicinity of Utopia is 40 cubic feet per second (CFS), which is too shallow for extensive waterway recreational activities. Further downstream, the average flow is only 22 CFS. Points of reference are as follows: FM 187 between Vanderpool and Utopia (numerous crossings), FM 1050 west of Utopia, two crossings of FM 183 south of Utopia, SH 127 crossing north of town of Sabinal and US 90 crossing just west of Sabinal.
Salado Creek is a clear, spring-fed stream that flows into the Lampasas River in Bell County. The creek passes through the cross timbers and rolling prairies of east central Texas, and many springs, mineral outcrops, unusual geological formations, Indian camps, and historic sites are found. A good section for recreational use is located between FM 2843 and FM 1123. This section is scenic and contains some excellent white water during periods of rainfall. Salado Creek must be on a rise before extensive recreational use is possible.
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