Commissioners to vote on extending John Graves Scenic Riverway

Photo courtesy of Brazos River Conservation Coalition

Photo courtesy of Brazos River Conservation Coalition

By Kathryn Jones


Somervell County Commissioners on Monday will consider whether to extend the John Graves Scenic Riverway designation for the Brazos River through Somervell County.

A similar resolution failed to win approval several years ago due to opposition from companies that have quarry and sand operations near the Brazos.

The Brazos flows through the county for about 26 miles.

People use the Brazos for recreation, such as swimming and canoeing. However, rock and materials quarrying and mining operations “historically have had detrimental effects on the Brazos River,” according to the language of a resolution the commissioners will discuss at their Monday meeting.

“The potential of pollution from such mining and quarrying industries continue to threaten the Brazos River in Somervell County,” the resolution continues.

In 2005 the Texas Legislature designated 115 miles of the Brazos running through Parker and Palo Pinto counties as the John Graves Scenic Riverway. The designation honors Glen Rose resident John Graves’ book Goodbye to a River. The book is about a canoe trip Graves made in 1960 to see the Brazos before dams changed its character. It remains in print and is considered a Texas classic.

The nonprofit advocacy group Friends of the Brazos supported the legislation to extend the scenic riverway designation to Somervell County.

A Senate bill set up a 20-year pilot program to help protect the Brazos watershed from  quarry activities. It requires the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Brazos River Authority to “coordinate efforts to protect the water quality” of the Brazos and to conduct visual inspections of the scenic riverway.

The program also sets rules for quarry operation and requires the TCEQ to take and test water samples at least twice a year and report those results to the legislature. Read last year’s report here:  John Graves Scenic Riverway Report.

As of last year seven monitoring stations have been sampled in the scenic riverway.





One Response to Commissioners to vote on extending John Graves Scenic Riverway

  1. Suzanne Gentling Reply

    January 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Choosing to extend the John Graves Scenic Riverway here in Somervell County would not just expand a small bit of extra protection for our precious waterway but would also stand as encouragement to the many other communities in our great country that have their own ‘Brazos’ to protect.

    Not doing this would be an opportunity missed and somehow terribly irresponsible. After all, what good is more commerce, development and industry if it requires us to severe our soulful relationship to the land and our connection to it?

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