Crisis in Texas Rivers
Rivers Need Your Help!
the past few years, Texas has seen a dramatic increase in the number
of off-road vehicles being used capriciously in our rivers.
You may have seen events like this when you've gone to the river.
spotted in many of our rivers including the ever popular Frio,
Nueces, Guadalupe, Canadian, and Llano rivers as well as many creeks
such as Spring Creek in the Houston
Because of this threat to Texas' rivers and watercourses, legislation
has been introduced in the Texas Legislature to prevent this river
destruction. House Bill 305 and Senate
Bill 155 are the key to protecting
our rivers from this assault.
Why This Bill?
Make no mistake. While the off-road vehicle groups are saying this
is about river access, this is truly about the destruction of the
rivers and the protection thereof. This is about the protection of
limited natural resources owned by all Texans for future generations
to come. In fact, we continue to promote access to the rivers for
activities that are sustainable and will result in continued enjoyment
by future generations.
Senate Bill 155 and House Bill 305 will simply ban motor vehicles
from state streambeds with limited exceptions. Susan Combs, our Commissioner
of Agriculture has been instrumental in their creation and most environmental
and agriculture groups support them. However, ORV recreation groups
with national affiliations are mounting a large campaign to defeat
these bills "to navigate" (interpreted as drive) in Texas
rivers. Please realize unless we are successful every streambed over
30 ft in width in Texas can be "wheeled". This amounts
million delicate riparian acres. We have read of ORV events that boast 3,000
participants in the Canadian River. There are events in the West that claim 50,000
participants on a holiday weekend. The situation on the Nueces and Llano can
get much worse. We must stop this activity in our rivers this session!
More than 30 states already
have laws on the books that prohibit this type of activity. Numerous
citations of studies demonstrate that off-road vehicular activity
is particularly destructive to natural settings of all types
including river beds. And in one study, the results indicated that
will result in 90% or more of the vegetation being lost.
In Texas, there is currently no one in charge of enforcing the protection
of our publicly-owned rivers and streams.This bill
will put that caretaking into the hands of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
already tasked with the caretaking of public lands. Enforcement will
be by any law enforcement agency.
Principles of HB 305 and SB 155
- Provide for public safety
- Protect fish, wildlife, water quality, and other natural resources
- Protect public access points
- Protect private property rights
- Provide enforcement and fines
What Laws Currently Apply?
We're currently researching the details and will post it soon?
But we'll keep you updated. From a Texas perspective, it's a grey
one has been willing to assume the responsibility. This is why
it's in the legislature right now.
- House Representatives
- Texas Officials
- Katharine Armstrong, Chairman, Texas Parks and Wildlife
Combs, Agriculture Commissioner
- Conservation Organizations
If you wish to endorse this bill or have been left off this list,
please let us know!
"This is about river destruction and not about
"Everyone has a right to enjoy the
state Capitol's lawn in Austin, but no one has the right
to drive their truck on this lawn and cut donuts on it." The
cost of allowing such vehicular 'access' at treasured Texas
sites - be they state monuments or rivers - is too great
and must be restricted for the sake of future generations."