Colorado River (Texas)
Overview
 
The Colorado River is a river that runs through the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 state of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; it should not be confused with the much longer Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

 which flows from Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 into the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

.

The Colorado River is the 18th longest river in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the longest river with both its source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

 and mouth
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

 within Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; its drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 and some of its usually dry tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 extend into New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. The 862 miles (1,387.3 km) long river flows generally southeast from Dawson County through Marble Falls, Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, Bastrop
Bastrop, Texas
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there are 5340 people in Bastrop, organized into 2034 households and 1336 families. The population density is 734.8 people per square mile . There are 2,239 housing units at an average density of 308.1 per square mile...

, Smithville
Smithville, Texas
Smithville is a city in Bastrop County, Texas, United States, near the Colorado River. The population was 3,901 at the 2000 census. The population grew to an estimated 4,339 for 2004.-History:...

, La Grange
La Grange, Texas
La Grange is a city in Fayette County, Texas, near the Colorado River. The population was 4,478 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimated population was 4,645. But a 2010 census estimated that the city had a population of 4,923...

, Columbus
Columbus, Texas
Columbus is a city in Colorado County, Texas, United States, west of Houston along Interstate 10, on the Colorado River. In 1890, 2,199 people lived in Columbus, Texas; in 1900, there were 1,824 residents. The population was 3,916 as of the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Colorado County...

, Wharton
Wharton, Texas
Wharton is a city in Wharton County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,237 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wharton County and is located on the Colorado River of Texas just south of U.S...

, and Bay City
Bay City, Texas
Bay City is a city in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. The population was 18,667 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Matagorda County. The current mayor is Mark Bricker.-Geography:Bay City is located at...

 before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 at Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay is a large estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately northeast of Corpus Christi, southeast of San Antonio, southwest of Houston, and southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and...

.
The Colorado River originates south of Lubbock
Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically as the Llano Estacado, and the home of Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University...

, on the Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado , commonly known as the Staked Plains, is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas, including the South Plains and parts of the Texas Panhandle...

, near Lamesa
Lamesa, Texas
Lamesa is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of the economy is based on cattle ranching and cotton farming. The Preston E...

.
Encyclopedia
The Colorado River is a river that runs through the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 state of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; it should not be confused with the much longer Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

 which flows from Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 into the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

.

The Colorado River is the 18th longest river in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the longest river with both its source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

 and mouth
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

 within Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; its drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 and some of its usually dry tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 extend into New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. The 862 miles (1,387.3 km) long river flows generally southeast from Dawson County through Marble Falls, Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, Bastrop
Bastrop, Texas
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there are 5340 people in Bastrop, organized into 2034 households and 1336 families. The population density is 734.8 people per square mile . There are 2,239 housing units at an average density of 308.1 per square mile...

, Smithville
Smithville, Texas
Smithville is a city in Bastrop County, Texas, United States, near the Colorado River. The population was 3,901 at the 2000 census. The population grew to an estimated 4,339 for 2004.-History:...

, La Grange
La Grange, Texas
La Grange is a city in Fayette County, Texas, near the Colorado River. The population was 4,478 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimated population was 4,645. But a 2010 census estimated that the city had a population of 4,923...

, Columbus
Columbus, Texas
Columbus is a city in Colorado County, Texas, United States, west of Houston along Interstate 10, on the Colorado River. In 1890, 2,199 people lived in Columbus, Texas; in 1900, there were 1,824 residents. The population was 3,916 as of the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Colorado County...

, Wharton
Wharton, Texas
Wharton is a city in Wharton County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,237 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wharton County and is located on the Colorado River of Texas just south of U.S...

, and Bay City
Bay City, Texas
Bay City is a city in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. The population was 18,667 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Matagorda County. The current mayor is Mark Bricker.-Geography:Bay City is located at...

 before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 at Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay is a large estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately northeast of Corpus Christi, southeast of San Antonio, southwest of Houston, and southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and...

.

Course

The Colorado River originates south of Lubbock
Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically as the Llano Estacado, and the home of Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University...

, on the Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado , commonly known as the Staked Plains, is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas, including the South Plains and parts of the Texas Panhandle...

, near Lamesa
Lamesa, Texas
Lamesa is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of the economy is based on cattle ranching and cotton farming. The Preston E...

. It flows generally southeast, out of the Llano Estacado and through the Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas featuring tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located...

, through several reservoirs including Lake J.B. Thomas, E.V. Spence Reservoir
E.V. Spence Reservoir
E.V. Spence Reservoir is an artificial lake located west of the town of Robert Lee, Texas. The reservoir was impounded by the creation of Robert Lee Dam in 1969, with the support of the Upper Colorado River Authority, to provide a reliable water supply for Robert Lee and the surrounding...

, and Lake O.H. Ivie. The river flows through several more reservoirs before reaching Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, including Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake
Inks Lake
Inks Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1938 by the construction of Inks Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Located near Burnet, Texas, the lake serves to provide flood control in tandem with Lake Buchanan...

, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, commonly referred to as Lake LBJ, and Lake Travis
Lake Travis
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority...

. The Llano River
Llano River
The Llano River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 105 mi long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains part of the Edwards Plateau in Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin....

 joins the Colorado at Lake LBJ, near Kingsland
Kingsland, Texas
Kingsland is a census-designated place in Llano County, Texas, United States. The population was 4,584 at the 2000 census. Texas Ranch to Market Road 1431 runs through the community.-Geography:...

. The Pedernales River
Pedernales River
The Pedernales River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains an area of the Edwards Plateau, flowing west to east across the Texas Hill Country west of Austin...

 joins the Colorado at Lake Travis near Briarcliff
Briarcliff, Texas
Briarcliff is a village in Travis County, Texas, United States. The population was 895 at the 2000 census; it was 845 in the 2005 census estimate.-Geography:Briarcliff is located at , ....

. After passing through Austin, the Colorado River continues flowing southeast until emptying into Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay is a large estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately northeast of Corpus Christi, southeast of San Antonio, southwest of Houston, and southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and...

 on the Gulf of Mexico, near Matagorda
Matagorda, Texas
Matagorda is an unincorporated community in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. It had a population of approximately 710 in 2000. Matagorda is at the end of State Highway 60 and beginning of Farm to Market Road 2031, which runs over the Intracoastal Waterway and south to the Gulf of Mexico...

.

History

The Colorado River, which means "colored red", was frequently confused by Spanish explorers with the Brazos River
Brazos River
The Brazos River, called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers , is the longest river in Texas and the 11th longest river in the United States at from its source at the head of Blackwater Draw, Curry County, New Mexico to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico with a drainage...

 to the north. It is this confusion as well as an alleged mapping error that is believed to have led to its misnaming.

The upper Colorado River was controlled by Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

s from the early 18th century to the late 19th century. In 1757, Spanish Texas attempted to establish an outlying mission on the San Saba River
San Saba River
The San Saba River is a river in the U.S. state of Texas. It is an undeveloped and scenic waterway located on the northern boundary of the Edwards Plateau.-Course:...

, near its confluence with the Colorado River. Nearly defenseless and viewed by the Comanche as a territorial invasion, the mission was sacked in 1758 by about 2,000 Comanches and their allies. The Comanche were not effectively challenged on the upper Colorado River for nearly a century.

River modifications

The river is an important source of water for farming, cities, and electrical power production. Major man-made reservoirs on the river include Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake
Inks Lake
Inks Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1938 by the construction of Inks Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Located near Burnet, Texas, the lake serves to provide flood control in tandem with Lake Buchanan...

, Lake LBJ
Lake LBJ
Lake Lyndon B. Johnson is a reservoir on the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1950 by the construction of Granite Shoals Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The Colorado River and the Llano River meet in the northern portion of the...

, Lake Marble Falls
Lake Marble Falls
Lake Marble Falls is a reservoir on the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1951 by the construction of Max Starcke Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Originally named Marble Falls Dam, the dam was renamed in 1962 for Max Starcke, the...

, Lake Travis
Lake Travis
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority...

, Lake Austin
Lake Austin
Lake Austin is a reservoir on the Colorado River in Austin, Texas in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1939 by the construction of Tom Miller Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority....

, and Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Collectively, these lakes are known as the Highland Lakes
Texas Highland Lakes
The Texas Highland Lakes is a chain of seven reservoirs in Central Texas formed by several dams on the Colorado River. This portion of the river winds southeast from its headwaters near the border of Texas and New Mexico to Matagorda Bay and the Gulf of Mexico...

. In addition to power plants operating on each of the major lakes, waters of the Colorado are used for cooling the South Texas Nuclear Project, near Bay City. The Colorado River Municipal Water District owns and operates three reservoirs upstream of the Highland Lakes, Lake J. B. Thomas near Snyder, E. V. Spence Reservoir near Robert Lee, and O. H. Ivie Reservoir near Ballinger.

Flood control and use of the Colorado River is managed by two agencies established by the Texas Legislature
Texas Legislature
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The Legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin...

, the Upper Colorado River Authority
Upper Colorado River Authority
The Upper Colorado River Authority or UCRA was created in 1935 by the Texas Legislature as a quasi-governmental entity to manage the Colorado River as a water resource in Tom Green County and Coke County, Texas. The authority has since been extended to include Schleicher County and Concho County...

, and the Lower Colorado River Authority
Lower Colorado River Authority
The Lower Colorado River Authority or LCRA is a nonprofit public utility that was created in November 1934 by the Texas Legislature. LCRA's mission is to protect people, property and the environment by providing public services for more than one million people in Central and Southeast Texas...

. There are 11 major reservoirs along the Colorado River.

The Colorado River also has made many geographic landmarks such as Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool is a historic, man-made swimming pool in Austin, Texas. Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas and features a bathhouse built during the Depression era by the Works Progress Administration...

 in Austin, Texas.

See also

  • List of crossings of the Colorado River
  • Colorado Bend State Park
    Colorado Bend State Park
    Colorado Bend State Park is a Texas state park in the Hill Country region. It was purchased in 1984 and opened to public in 1987. It is representative of the karst features typically seen in the Hill Country, with many sinkholes, caves, and springs....

  • Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
    Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
    Balcones Canyonlands is a National Wildlife Refuge located in the Texas Hill Country to the northwest of Austin, Texas. The Refuge was formed in 1992 to conserve habitat for two endangered songbirds including the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo and to preserve Texas Hill Country...

  • Texas Hill Country
    Texas Hill Country
    The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas featuring tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located...

  • Llano River
    Llano River
    The Llano River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 105 mi long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains part of the Edwards Plateau in Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin....

  • Barton Creek
    Barton Creek
    Barton Creek is a tributary that feeds the Colorado River as it flows through the Texas Hill Country. The creek passes through some of the more scenic areas in Greater Austin and forms a greenbelt that is the habitat for many indigenous species of flora and fauna, including at least seven...

  • Guadalupe River
    Guadalupe River (Texas)
    The Guadalupe River runs from Kerr County, Texas to San Antonio Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The river is a popular destination for rafters and canoers. Larger cities along the river include New Braunfels, Kerrville, Seguin, Gonzales, Cuero, and Victoria...

  • Pedernales River
    Pedernales River
    The Pedernales River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains an area of the Edwards Plateau, flowing west to east across the Texas Hill Country west of Austin...

  • Brazos River
    Brazos River
    The Brazos River, called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers , is the longest river in Texas and the 11th longest river in the United States at from its source at the head of Blackwater Draw, Curry County, New Mexico to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico with a drainage...

  • Matagorda Bay
    Matagorda Bay
    Matagorda Bay is a large estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately northeast of Corpus Christi, southeast of San Antonio, southwest of Houston, and southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and...

  • List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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