The July 2011 issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine celebrates 10 years of examining the state’s most precious resource: water. Ever since the premiere in 2002, Texas Parks & Wildlife has devoted the entire July issue to this topic. During the early years of the series, each issue focused on one body of water: bays, rivers, springs, lakes, wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico. For this special 10th anniversary issue, we’ve assembled some of Texas’ best writers and water experts to discuss the progress made during the past decade. We also take a look at the future of water, including available clean drinking water, declining marshland and the after-effects of oil spills in the Gulf. Here are excerpts of the articles in the July issue. Or read the whole issue in a digital format.
By Carter P. Smith, TPWD Executive Director
My bookshelf is chock-full of writings relating to Texas water — shallow and deep, salty and fresh, inshore and offshore, surface and ground, flowing and dammed, droughts and downpours. As a collector of such things, I suspect I am not alone.
In a state where most of us are seemingly always one day closer to the next drought, water and weather are top of mind for Texans.
Protecting the source of our drinking water and investing in the quality of water in rivers, streams, creeks, aquifers, estuaries and reservoirs are values that Texans identify as major statewide priorities. These sentiments are shared by all sectors of the Texas populace, irrespective of social, political, economic or geographic considerations. Read More.
By Larry McKinney
Not everyone sees what I see in the Gulf. I was filled with dismay and frustration upon hearing a senior federal agency administrator — charged with managing our nation’s ocean waters — write off the Gulf before an audience of agency staffers. I have stood silently seething as a leader of a major conservation group stated that there was nothing worth saving in the Gulf, that it was a lost cause. I doubt any of them have ever visited the Gulf. If they had seen what I have seen, or been where I have been, they would certainly eat those words. Read More.
By Joe Nick Patoski
Spanish explorers described a head of water 4 to 6 feet high being pushed to the surface from far below. American Indians living in the area considered the place sacred. The name Jacob’s Well was supposedly inspired by a survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle for Texas’ independence from Mexico, who first saw it while looking for a place to build a mill along the Blanco River and declared it “like unto a well in biblical times.” Read More.
By Andrew Sansom
Pleasantly tired, we savored the afternoon’s run. The river flowing through the canyon was challenging enough but presented no serious danger to us in our canoes. In the campfire’s glow, we savored our anticipation of the day to come. The strong currents of this great river would take us through the challenging formation known as the Rockslide and ultimately out of Santa Elena into the Chihuahuan Desert sun. Read More.
By Wendee Holtcamp
It is so beautiful and wild that this could be Africa’s Okavanga Delta, only we’re a mere hundred miles east of Houston. Read More.
By Larry D. Hodge
“At the lake” is where many Texans live on weekends. We boat, swim, camp, paddle, fish, sail, party, bond, laze. We make memories that will last a lifetime. Lakes surprise us with 10-pound bass like the one I caught on Cooper Lake in March, or the serenity of a morning kayak paddle on Caddo Lake like the one my wife and I enjoyed last year.
Few living Texans can remember the time when the state was not blessed with a multitude of sparkling lakes. Yet it was not always so, and not so long ago. Read More.
By Carol Flake Chapman
One of the birds lifts its head in our direction, and there is no mistaking the distinctive reddish-capped head, the prominent beak, the long, curving neck, the stilty blue-black legs. Read More.
By Earl Nottingham
Photo: Colorado Bend State Park: Spring-fed waters from Gorman Creek cascade 60 feet down multiple tiers of fern-covered travertine slopes to form Gorman Falls. See More Photos.
More articles in the July 2011 issue: