Ecologically Significant River and Stream Segments
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Figure 12. Map Location of Brazos River
Adapted from Texas Map. Gulf Publishing, 1998
Figure 13. (a) The Brazos River north of State Highway 35 and (b) the diamondback terrapin
The Brazos River is one of two major rivers in Texas that empties into the Gulf of Mexico through an undredged mouth. This results in a deltaic environment that provides excellent habitat for shorebirds. Extensive bottomland hardwood forests that line the banks of the Brazos and associated marshes provide habitat for a wide variety of bird species throughout the year including numerous heron and egret species, barred owls, purple gallinules, least bitterns, and prothonotary warblers. Other inhabitants include American alligators, bobcats, white-tailed deer, raccoons, gray foxes, and feral hogs. The river itself provides habitat for gar, catfish, crappie, and freshwater drum among other fish species. The ecologically significant segment is from the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico in Brazoria County upstream to FM 529 in Austin/Waller County. This is part of TNRCC stream segments 1201 and 1202.
(1) Hydrological Function- performs valuable hydrologic functions relating to flood attenuation, water quality, and groundwater recharge of the Chicot Aquifer.20
(2) Riparian Conservation Area- fringed by Brazos Bend State Park and Stephen F. Austin State Park and is part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.
(3) Threatened or Endangered Species/Unique Communities- significant due to presence of rare live oak-water oak-pecan bottomlands1 and Diamondback terrapin.13