13 Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Hooked on Rivers

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Myron J. Hess

I LOVE being outdoors. Those rare times when I am able to step back from the frenzied pace of everyday life and feel in rhythm with nature give me an incredible sense of peace, of calmness. And, if you throw in a flowing river or stream, I can get close to achieving a state of nirvana. The love of nature came early. The appreciation of the special role of flowing streams developed a bit later.

As the youngest of seven children growing up in Cooke County in rural North Texas near the Oklahoma border at a time when TV watching was still an occasional event and computer games were science fiction material, I spent the bulk of my early childhood outside. When my siblings were home, I followed them around as much as they would let me. When they had all started school and I was still at home, the yard became my preschool and kindergarten classroom. Fortunately for me, farmyards can be incredibly interesting places: chickens and ducks to observe, ground squirrels and lizards to stalk, insects and toads to catch, and bird and mouse nests to discover. I think my dad was relieved to see me start school so he didn’t have to spend so much of his time answering my questions about what I had found or seen, and he could get back to farming full time.

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Falling in Love With Bottomlands Waters and Forests of East Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Janice Bezanson

I FELL in love with East Texas bottomland forests while trying to protect them. for most people it’s the other way around: they love them first, so they want to keep them from being cut down, paved over, turned into pasture, or flooded by reservoirs. But I got involved in conservation issues as an activist first. The late Ned fritz, legendary for recruiting people to do things they didn’t know they wanted to do, coaxed my husband and me into representing Texas Conservation Alliance, then called the Texas Committee on Natural Resources, in permit hearings against a proposed reservoir on Little Cypress Creek in the Cypress Creek Basin in northeast Texas. This boondoggle project wasn’t needed for water supply and would have flooded 14,000 acres of wonderful forest wildlife habitat.

A glance at history suggests that I’m not the only one who loves bottomlands. People have always lived close to rivers, seeking the basics of life—water, food, transportation, and shelter—from the river and the fertile land it nurtures. Rivers are the essence of the southeastern United States—land formed by the ebb and flow of ancient beaches and shaped by abundant rainfall, rivers, and the passage of time. Small ephemeral streams bubbling up from drift sands become creeks that converge and gather in ever-increasing volume. They become winding rivers that spill across wide floodplains and spawn diverse bottomland forests. These rivers and their “bottoms” capture the imagination of poets and musicians and the hearts of settlers who revel in their beauty and mystery and abundant life.

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Leaving a Water Legacy for Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ann Thomas Hamilton

THE color of the water was like fresh-brewed orange pekoe tea—clear dark amber. The river was originally named Lumbee, from an Indian word meaning “black water.” Upon submerging my wiry little white body into the slow-moving current, my skin instantly took on a brown tone—the same color as that of the Lumbee Indians who long ago inhabited North Carolina’s Inner Banks region. One of my fondest childhood memories was of swimming in the river with my sister and cousins during warm summer days when we visited our grandparents in Lumberton in eastern North Carolina. Lumberton, the town where my mother was born, was founded in 1789 and named after the river. I truly believe my love affair with the mystery of naturally flowing water came from those sublime summers in that river some sixty years ago.

Because Lumberton was near the Carolina coast, the family would also visit a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Of course, this historic site did not mean much to a little girl who loved the water. I just leaped into the Atlantic Ocean with great abandon without any understanding that the water from the Lumber River on the Inner Banks permeated downstream through the rich coastal marshes and wetlands before becoming a part of this vast ocean on the Outer Banks. It was the crashing waves, the sand, the salt filling my nostrils, eyes, and mouth that captured me as I floated tirelessly day after day in the invigorating surf.

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The Bays and Estuaries of Texas An Ephemeral Treasure?

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ben F. Vaughan III

CHARLES KRUVAND’S coastal photographs in The Living Waters of Texas are works of art, but even they are inadequate to portray the riches all Texans have inherited through the public ownership of the bays and estuaries along our Texas coast. My fond hope here is to explain how the health of Texas bays and estuaries and their freshwater inflows are so precious to me, to the fifty thousand Texas members of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and to everyone. So important indeed are these resources that we dedicate ourselves unstintingly to their continued maintenance and future enhancement.

Our interest and our dedication may have stemmed from our personal experiences. Perhaps it started with the toe in the water, a gull’s cry, a whelk’s moan, a perch’s nibble, or a chandelier-like spray before the bow of a boat running into a southeast breeze. Such indelible impressions are memory makers not easily forfeited to the political expediency demanded by the shortcomings of human imagination.

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Appendix Selected List of Conservation Organizations Interested in Texas Water Issues

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

The Bayou Preservation Association (BPA) is a citizens’ group whose mission is to “protect and restore the richness and diversity of our waterways.” BPA facilitates collaborative projects and public awareness about the region’s streams and bayous in order to foster watershed management, conservation, and recreation along Houston’s defining natural resource.

Website: www.bayoupreservation.org

Phone: 713-529-6443

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 131563

Houston, TX 77219-1563

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of Texas’ marine resources. Founded more than a quarter of a century ago, CCA Texas (then GCCA) has been instrumental in banning gill nets in state waters, establishing redfish and speckled trout as gamefish, building two of the largest red drum hatcheries in the world, and working to ensure that adequate fresh water reaches Texas’ bays and estuaries.

Website: www.ccatexas.org

Phone: 713-626-4222 or 1-800-626-4222

Mailing Address:

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