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Colorado River (Texas)

 
Length: 862 miles (1,387 kilometers)

The Colorado River is a river that runs through the U.S. state of Texas.

The Colorado River is the 18th longest river in the United States[4] and the longest river with both its source and mouth within Texas; its drainage basin and some of its usually dry tributaries extend into New Mexico. The 862-mile long river flows generally southeast from Dawson County through Marble Falls, Austin, Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange, Columbus, Wharton, and Bay City before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay.

The Colorado River originates south of Lubbock, on the Llano Estacado, near Lamesa. It flows generally southeast, out of the Llano Estacado and through the Texas Hill Country, through several reservoirs including Lake J.B. Thomas, E.V. Spence Reservoir, and Lake O.H. Ivie. The river flows through several more reservoirs before reaching Austin, including Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, commonly referred to as Lake LBJ and Lake Travis. The Llano River joins the Colorado at Lake LBJ, near Kingsland. The Pedernales River joins the Colorado at Lake Travis near Briarcliff. After passing through Austin, the Colorado River continues flowing southeast until emptying into Matagorda Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, near Matagorda.

The Colorado River, which means "colored" or "ruddy", was frequently confused by Spanish explorers with the Brazos River to the north. The European discoverer of these two neighboring rivers called the present Colorado the Brazos de Dios, and the present Brazos the Colorado, and the names later became interchanged.

The upper Colorado River was controlled by Comanches 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, 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.

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, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Collectively, these lakes are known as the Highland Lakes. 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, the Upper Colorado River Authority, and the Lower Colorado River Authority. There are 11 major reservoirs along the Colorado River.

The Colorado River is joined by five significant tributaries which are the Concho River, Pecan Bayou, Llano River, San Saba River and Pedernales River.

COLORADO RIVER (TEXAS) LAKES
Lake J B Thomas Dam is a dam located just 15.7 miles from Snyder, in Scurry County, in the state of Texas, United States, near Knapp, TX. ...
    Full Pool: 2,258.0 MSL     Area: 7,820 Acres

NOTICE: Due to low water levels, public boat ramps on this lake are closed. See access facilities page for more details. LOCATION On Champion Creek in Mitchell County, seven miles south of Colorado City on Texas 208 RESERVOIR CONTROLLING AUTHORITY City of Colorado City 180 W. 3rd Colorado City, Texas 79512 (325) 728-5331...
    Full Pool: 2,083.0 MSL     Area: 1,577 Acres


*********** NOTICE ************* Due to drought conditions, there are no public boat ramps available on this lake. Fish populations have been severely damaged by a golden alga bloom. *...
    Full Pool: 2,070.2 MSL     Area: 1,655 Acres

Hords Creek Reservoir is located on Hords Creek in Coleman County, Texas. The lake was impounded in 1948 with a surface area of 510 acres and a maximum depth of 39 feet. The dam and lake are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake offers many recreational opportunities including camping, picnicing, fishing, and boating. There are ...
    Full Pool: 1,900.0 MSL     Area: 510 Acres


*** Notice *******************
  • Due to drought conditions, there are no public boat ramps available on this lake.
  • Fish populations have been severely damaged by chronic     Full Pool: 1,898.0      Area: 14,950 Acres

LOCATION On Jim Ned Creek in Coleman County, 45 miles southeast of Abilene and about 13 miles north of Coleman. RESERVOIR CONTROLLING AUTHORITY City of Coleman PO Box 592 Coleman, Texas (325) 625-4116 PUBLIC ACCESS There are     Full Pool: 1,718.0 MSL     Area: 2,000 Acres

    NOTES:
  1. Ballinger Municipal Lake and old Ballinger Lake are connected through a channel between the two reservoirs.
  2. Lake Ballinger is also known as Moonen Lake
  3. Due to low water levels, public boat ramps on this lake are closed. Canoes and other small boats may launch from the bank. This information is current as of May, 2014. ...
    Full Pool: 1,668.0 MSL     Area: 591 Acres


O.H. Ivie Reservoir is located on the Colorado and Concho Rivers in Concho, Coleman, and Runnels counties, 55 miles east of San Angelo. RESERVOIR CONTROLLING AUTHORITY Colorado River Municipal Water District PO Box 869 Big Spring, Texas 79721-0869 (432) 267-6341 ...
    Full Pool: 1,551.5 MSL     Area: 19,200 Acres      Printed O.H. Ivie Reservoir Map

Brownwood Lake is located on Pecan Bayou and Jim Ned Creek, 70 miles southeast of Abilene and about 10 miles north of the city of Brownwood. Activities include picnicking, camping, hiking, boating, water skiing, fishing, nature study, swimming, and bird watching. Brownwood State Park offers a variety of recreational and educational opportunities...
    Full Pool: 1,425.0      Area: 6,490 Acres

NOTICE: Due to extremely low water level, the public boat ramp is not usable at this time. Buffalo Creek Reservoir is a 1,577-acre impoundment located on the North Fork of Buffalo Creek in the Red River Basin approximately 20 miles west of Wichita Falls. At full pool, it has a primarily rocky shoreline. The water can be turbid ...
    Full Pool: 1,049.0 MSL     Area: 1,576 Acres

Lake Buchanan was formed by the construction of the Buchanan Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The lake provides water supply for the region and hydroelectric power. Buchanan Dam was completed in 1939. Lake Buchanan was the first of the Texas Highland Lakes to be formed, it is also the largest. The lake is named for Representative James...
    Full Pool: 1,020.5 MSL     Area: 23,060 Acres      Printed Lake Buchanan Map

Inks Lake is located on the Colorado River in Burnet County, west of the town of Burnet. RESERVOIR CONTROLLING AUTHORITY Lower Colorado River Authority 3700 Lake Austin Blvd. Austin, Texas 78703 (512) 473-3200 or (800) 776-5272 PUBLIC ACCESS Pu...
    Full Pool: 886.9 MSL     Area: 837 Acres      Printed Inks Lake Map

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson is located 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. The dam was renamed Wirtz Dam in 1952 for Alvin J. ...
    Full Pool: 825.0 MSL     Area: 6,534 Acres      Printed Lake Lyndon B. Johnson Map

Lake Marble Falls is located on the Colorado River in Burnet and Llano Counties, near the town of Marble Falls. Lake LBJ is just upstream; Lake Travis is just downstream. RESERVOIR CONTROLLING AUTHORITY Lower Colorado River Authority 3700 Lake Austin Blvd. Austin, Texas 78703 (512) 473-3200 or 1(800) 776-5272

    Full Pool: 737.0 MSL     Area: 611 Acres

This lake is in the middle of the Highland Lake Chain. It offers 65 miles of clear, rather infertile water with 270 miles of shoreline. Limestone bluffs drop into water as deep as 190 feet, making this one of the deepest lakes in Texas. Rocky points provide the main fish habitat....
    Full Pool: 681.0 MSL     Area: 18,930 Acres      Printed Lake Travis Map

Lake Austin is located on the Colorado River in Austin, Texas. The reservoir was formed in 1939 by the construction of Tom Miller Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Lake Austin is one of the seven Highland Lakes created by the Lower Colorado River Authority. It is used for electrical power generation, flood control, and recreation. Lake Aus...
    Full Pool: 492.8 MSL     Area: 1,830 Acres

Lady Bird Lake, an artificial lake on the Colorado River, stretches more than five miles through the south side of Austin in Travis County (centered at 30°15' N, 97°43' W). Named Town Lake, it was formed in 1960 by the construction of Longhorn Dam and is owned and operated by the city of Austin in cooperation with the     Full Pool: 428.0 MSL     Area: 416 Acres


********** NOTICE ********** To combat the spread of invasive zebra mussels, boaters and anglers in Fay...
    Full Pool: 390.0 MSL     Area: 2,400 Acres      Printed Fayette County Lake Map

Big Lake is an intermittent dry lake located southwest of the city of Big Lake, Texas....
        Area: 26,800 Acres