John Graves riverway protection bill moves forward

The Brazos in Palo Pinto County. Photo by Kathryn Jones

The Brazos in Palo Pinto County.

Photo by Kathryn Jones

By Kathryn Jones


A bill to extend the John Graves Scenic Riverway designation to the Brazos River through Hood and Somervell counties is moving forward in the Texas Legislature.

The bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. It expects to hold a hearing next Tuesday, April 16, or the following Tuesday, April 23.

The exact date of the hearing will be known at least five days in advance. The Glen Rose Current will update this story when the hearing date and time are set.

Ed Lowe, president of the non-profit advocacy group Friends of the Brazos, said the organization is “getting close” to seeing House Bill 1519 finally passed. The bill was authored by State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, who represents Somervell County.

Extending the riverway designation from Palo Pinto and Parker counties into Hood and Somervell would honor Glen Rose resident John Graves and his classic book Goodbye to a River, Lowe said. The book described a canoe trip Graves made more than 60 years ago to see the river one more time before it was dammed and its character changed forever.

The bill also would offer protection from mining operations and recognize the river as a resource deserving protection and restoration for future generations.

The original legislation to create the riverway designation in Palo Pinto and Parker counties passed the Texas House and Senate in 2005. It offered protection from rock mining operations that were dumping mining waste directly into the Brazos or its tributaries in Palo Pinto and Parker Counties.

Lowe said that Iris Broyles, a staff member of Friends of the Brazos, in 2011 consulted with county commissioners in Parker and Palo Pinto Counties “to determine if there had been any adverse impact on legitimate operators.

“They reported no negative economic impact on the rock/gravel mining industries in their counties in the six years since the bill was enacted,” Lowe said.

Despite that, Lowe said it’s likely that gravel and rock mining lobbyists will appear at the upcoming hearing to oppose the riverway extension.



One Response to John Graves riverway protection bill moves forward

  1. Suzanne Gentling Reply

    April 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    All our waterways here in Texas need this kind of focus and protection. I believe that Mr. Graves would approve.

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