Lake Brazos is being lowered by a foot to allow heavy equipment and a barge to remove a buildup of both surface-level and submerged timber and other debris from the Lake Brazos Dam.
While the lowering of the water level probably won’t be noticeable to tourists or others who don’t frequent the river, it brings back unpleasant memories of the days when the old low-water dam would regularly fail and require a near-complete draining of Lake Brazos, leaving little more than a trickling channel and cracked mud flats – truly an eyesore to riverfront businesses and their customers.
Granted, the Waco Police detectives probably solve fewer cold cases now that the water remains at a fairly steady depth. Back when the river was drained dry through downtown, numerous stolen items, weapons and even automobiles that panicked criminals had dumped into the river were regularly discovered sitting at the bottom after a draining.
A clean and healthy river is important to Waco not only for obvious conservation and ecological reasons, but it’s also a significant asset for the area’s business and tourism. Saturday’s Keep Waco Beautiful Brazos River Cleanup succeeded in ridding the river of a disturbing amount of unsightly and unhealthy trash.
The fishing community is often the first to get blame for litter found in and along waterways, but a lot of what comes out of these cleanups is non-fishing related garbage that makes its way from people in town who throw trash from their car windows, as well as other improperly disposed-of waste in the city. All those creeks, ditches, gutters and gullies in town eventually wash that garbage into a river or lake.
Granted there’s also plenty of trash on the shorelines and near the boat ramps that’s fishermen clearly leave behind. There’s zero likelihood that Aunt Gertie left that big wad of fishing line and a 12-pack of empty Old Milwaukee Light cans behind after a night on the riverbank spent crafting beaded Christmas ornaments.
Nope, it was left by anglers who don’t care about messing in their nests, and that mindset has to change. Nobody wants to come across your left-behind garbage. Packing out a trash bag of empty cans, pretzel bags and bait containers can’t be too tough for somebody who can haul in a 20 pound catfish without a strain.
Central Texas anti-litter campaign activist Bruce Huff, whose Group W Bench organization joined the cleanup Saturday aboard the Waco River Safari tour boat, has supported stronger penalties for littering that includes community service in the area of trash cleanup. Waco representative Doc Anderson authored the bill that is receiving bipartisan support in the Texas Legislature. The bill would allow judges to sentence convicted litterers to up to 60 hours of picking up debris or working in a recycling facility. Governor Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.
Among the items collected by Group W Bench Saturday morning were broken and bent pieces of furniture, barbecue grills, and a vacuum cleaner.
Don’t mess with Texas. Take your trash when you leave.
Waco Fly Fishing Club to discuss fishing from stand-up paddleboard
The Waco Fly Fishing Club’s July meeting will take place Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Lake Waco Wetlands, located at 1752 Eichelberger Crossing in Waco.
Featured speaker Hunter Harlow will discuss fly fishing from a stand-up paddleboard. Organizers say he’ll be bringing a board and paddle along for those who want a hands-on demonstration and tryout of the technique.
A fly-tying and “tall tales session” will run from 6-7, followed by Harlow’s presentation.