Brazos River

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Brazos River
Texas
Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake, Palo Pinto County, Texas.jpg
Brazos River downstream of Possum Kingdom Lake (Palo Pinto County, Texas)
CountryUnited States
StateTexas
SourceLlano Estacado
Source confluenceStonewall County, Texas
 - elevation453 m (1,486 ft)
 - coordinates33°16′07″N 100°0′37″W / 33.26861°N 100.01028°W / 33.26861; -100.01028 [1]
MouthGulf of Mexico
 - locationBrazoria County, Texas
 - elevation0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates28°52′33″N 95°22′42″W / 28.87583°N 95.37833°W / 28.87583; -95.37833 [1]
Length1,352 km (840 mi)
Basin116,000 km2 (44,788 sq mi)
Dischargefor Rosharon, TX
 - average237.5 m3/s (8,387 cu ft/s)
 - max2,390 m3/s (84,402 cu ft/s)
 - min0.76 m3/s (27 cu ft/s)
Brazos River Watershed
Website: Handbook of Texas: Brazos River
 
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"Brazos" redirects here. For the missile, see Brazo. For the community in California, see Brazos, California.
Coordinates: 28°52′33″N 95°22′42″W / 28.87583°N 95.37833°W / 28.87583; -95.37833
Brazos River
Texas
Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake, Palo Pinto County, Texas.jpg
Brazos River downstream of Possum Kingdom Lake (Palo Pinto County, Texas)
CountryUnited States
StateTexas
SourceLlano Estacado
Source confluenceStonewall County, Texas
 - elevation453 m (1,486 ft)
 - coordinates33°16′07″N 100°0′37″W / 33.26861°N 100.01028°W / 33.26861; -100.01028 [1]
MouthGulf of Mexico
 - locationBrazoria County, Texas
 - elevation0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates28°52′33″N 95°22′42″W / 28.87583°N 95.37833°W / 28.87583; -95.37833 [1]
Length1,352 km (840 mi)
Basin116,000 km2 (44,788 sq mi)
Dischargefor Rosharon, TX
 - average237.5 m3/s (8,387 cu ft/s)
 - max2,390 m3/s (84,402 cu ft/s)
 - min0.76 m3/s (27 cu ft/s)
Brazos River Watershed
Website: Handbook of Texas: Brazos River

The Brazos River(Listeni/ðəˈbræzəsˌrɪvər/), called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers (translated as "The River of the Arms of God") and the 11th longest river in the United States at 2,060 km (1,280 mi) from its headwater source at the head of Blackwater Draw, Curry County, New Mexico[2] to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico with a 116,000 km2 (45,000 sq mi) drainage basin.[3]

Geography[edit]

The Brazos proper begins at the confluence of the Salt Fork and Double Mountain Fork, two tributaries of the Upper Brazos that rise on the high plains of the Llano Estacado, flowing 840 mi (1,350 km) through the center of Texas. Another major tributary of the Upper Brazos is the Clear Fork Brazos River, which passes by Abilene and joins the main river near Graham. Important tributaries of the Lower Brazos include the Bosque River, Little River, Yegua Creek, Nolan River, and the Navasota River.

Initially running east towards Dallas-Fort Worth, the Brazos turns south, passing through Waco and the Baylor University campus, further south to near Calvert, Texas then past Bryan and College Station, then through Richmond, Texas in Fort Bend County, and into the Gulf of Mexico in the marshes just south of Freeport.[3]

The main stem of the Brazos is dammed in three places, all north of Waco, forming Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury, and Lake Whitney. Of these three, Granbury was the last to be completed, in 1969, and its proposed construction in the mid-1950s became the impetus for John Graves' book, Goodbye to a River. There is also a small municipal dam (Lake Brazos Dam) near the downstream city limit of Waco at the end of the Baylor campus, which raises the level of the river through the city to form a town lake. This impoundment of the Brazos through Waco is locally called Lake Brazos. There are nineteen major reservoirs along the Brazos.[4]

History[edit]

It is unclear when it was first named by European explorers, since it was often confused with the Colorado River not far to the south, but it was certainly seen by La Salle. Later Spanish accounts call it Los Brazos de Dios (the arms of God), for which name there were several different explanations, all involving it being the first water to be found by desperately thirsty parties.

Brazos River was the scene of a battle between the Texas Navy and Mexican Navy during the Texas Revolution. Texas Navy ship Independence was defeated by two Mexican vessels.

While the river was important for navigation before the American Civil War, it is primarily important today as a source of water for power and irrigation. The water is administered by the Brazos River Authority.

The river also features prominently in a number of prison songs, because at one time nearly every prison in Texas was near the Brazos.

The 2000 book, Sandbars and Sternwheelers: Steam Navigation on the Brazos by Pamela A. Puryear and Nath Winfield, Jr., with introduction by J. Milton Nance, examines the early vessels that attempted to sail on the Brazos.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

The Brazos was a critical factor in the John Ford Film The Searchers (1956) and the Alan LeMay Novel by the same name. Mose Harper identifies the location of the camp of Chief Scar who is holding the captive child Debbie, as Seven Fingers, which a group pof rangers identify as Seven Fingers of the Brazos.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Brazos River
  2. ^ Kammerer, J.C. (1987). Largest Rivers in the United States. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b Hendrickson, Kenneth E., Jr. (1999-02-15). "Brazos River". The Handbook of Texas Online. The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2006-07-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ "River Basin Map of Texas" (JPEG). Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin. 1996. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  5. ^ Sandbars and Sternwheelers: Steam Navigation on the Brazos. Texas A&M University Press, 2000, 168 pp., ISBN 1-58544-058-2. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 

External links[edit]