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How is the flow of the river measured?

How is the flow of the river measured?

A rivers rate of flow is measured in terms of cubic feet per second (cfs) or how many cubic feet of water (volume) passes by a gaging location for a period of one second (one cubic foot of water is approximately 7.5-gallons). Gages are managed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at intervals along a watercourse to measure the rate of flow. You can find information on streamflow on the Brazos River and its tributaries flow by going to this link. 
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What is the Brazos River?

What is the Brazos River?

The Brazos River is the longest river contained entirely in Texas, with its watershed stretching from New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. The Brazos River draw lies approximately 50 miles west of the Texas-New Mexico border, beginning a watershed that stretches 1,050 miles and comprises 44,620 square miles, 42,000 of which are in Texas.The Brazos River proper is formed at the confluence of the upper forks of the river, the Salt and Double Mountain, in Stonewall County. The Clear Fork joins th...
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What is the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River?

Forming the Brazos’ main stem when it joins with the Salt Fork in Stonewall County, this stretch of river begins near the Llano Estacado in Lynn County. The Double Mountain Fork gets its name from a geological feature nearby in Stonewall County.The river here is typically shallow and meandering. The land it passes through is mainly farm and ranchland and has little development. The fork extends about 213 river miles from its headwaters to where it joins the main stem. This fork also passes...
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What is the Salt Fork of the Brazos River?

The Salt Fork of the Brazos River is one of three forks that meet to make up the main stem of the Brazos. The main stem begins when the Salt Fork joins the Double Mountain Fork near Aspermont in Stonewall County. The Salt Fork travels about 186 river miles from its beginning in Crosby County in West Texas, passing through Garza and Kent counties, to where it reaches the main stem.This segment of the Brazos River, which is usually intermittent and shallow, crosses geological formations exceedingl...
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What is the Clear Fork of the Brazos River?

The Clear Fork is one of the longest tributaries of the Brazos River. It originates as a draw in Scurry County and runs for about 307 river miles through  Fisher, Jones, Shackelford, Haskell, Stephens, and Throckmorton counties before joining the river’s main stem in Young County north of Possum Kingdom Lake.For a full-sized map, click here.
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Can I camp on a sandbar in the river?

The streambed of all navigable rivers in Texas is state-owned; therefore, camping, fishing and picnicking are legal there, including on the sandbars.When camping or picnicking along the river, it is important to stay alert for possible rapid increases in river levels and speed due to rainstorms or water being released from the upstream dam. Be sure to respect the adjoining private property along the river by not trespassing and by cleaning up and packing away any trash that you create.
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What is the USGS?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a federal scientific agency that works in biology, geography, geology and hydrology. USGS is the nation’s primary civilian mapping agency. The agency also monitors streams and other bodies of water across the country for flow and depth. Among its other activities, USGS also monitors earthquakes and volcanic activity.The USGS web site may be found by clicking here.
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What is a riparian area?

The term riparian area refers to the bank of a river. Riparian areas have one or both of the following characteristics: 1) distinctively different vegetative species than adjacent areas, and 2) species similar to adjacent areas but exhibiting more vigorous or robust growth forms. Riparian areas are usually transitional between wetland and upland.
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What is a lake's elevation?

The height above mean sea level that water in a reservoir has reached. Brazos River Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes are actually reservoirs, or parts of the Brazos River basin impounded by dams. (A free-flowing river is measured in stages, that is, by depth from the river bed to the surface.)
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What is a tributary?

A tributary is a small river or stream that merges or flows into a larger river or stream. A river is typically has several tributaries.Numerous tributaries feed into the Brazos River including the Clear, Salt and Double Mountain forks of the Brazos as well as the Navasota, Bosque, Nolan, and Little rivers and Yegua Creek. In addition, those tributaries each have several sub-tributaries, including numerous creeks as well as the Leon and San Gabriel Rivers, among others.
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What is an oxbow?

An oxbow is a severe bend in a river channel creating a “U” shape and leaving a very narrow strip of land between the two bends.  Many times, erosion will wear through this narrow strip and the course of the river changes leaving a “U” shaped or oxbow lake or a dry riverbed. 
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What is an off-channel reservoir?

An off-channel reservoir is a water supply lake built next to or near a river.  Off-channel reservoirs are considered by some to be environmentally friendly, lessening the impact on fish and other wildlife by avoiding the need to place a large dam directly on the main stem of the river.An example of an off-channel reservoir is the Brazos River Authority’s planned and permitted Allens Creek Reservoir, near Houston. For more information about Allens Creek, click here.
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What is a channel?

A channel is a watercourse or path taken by a river, creek or brook. It may be natural or man-made and includes a definite bed and banks that directs the flow of water.
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What is a wetland?

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present at or near the soil’s surface for most or all of the year. Wetlands provide a habitat for a variety of plants and animals and can serve as a natural water filter.Man-made wetlands have been developed to treat water coming from an outside source, such as a river, before it enters a water treatment program.
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What is a watershed? A subwatershed?

A watershed is the land area or topographic region that drains into a particular stream, river, or lake. This land feature can be identified by tracing a line on a map along the highest elevations between two areas.Large watersheds may contain hundreds or thousands of smaller subwatersheds that drain into the river or other waterbody. The Brazos River watershed encompasses more than 42,000 square miles and includes many smaller streams and rivers with their own smaller watersheds.
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What is the Brazos River basin?

The Brazos River basin covers a swath across Texas more than 600 miles long, beginning near the Texas-New Mexico Border and ending at the Gulf of Mexico in Brazoria County.The basin includes all or part of 70 Texas counties within 42,000 square miles and includes numerous smaller tributary rivers including the Double Mountain, Salt and Clear Forks, the Paluxy, Bosque, Nolan, Little, and Navasota Rivers and dozens of smaller rivers and tributaries.For a full-sized map, click here.
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The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

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