WACO— Thanks to the efforts of several partners, the half mile long log jam that has clogged a portion of the Leon River near Mother Neff State Park has been cleared.
During flooding events, the Texas 236 Highway bridge crossing the Leon River near Mother Neff State Parkbecame a stopping point for large trees, contributing to more flooding and damage. Several park facilities have been impacted as a result, including damage to three major day-use sites and 20 tent campsites that remain closed. Of the approximately 400 acres that create Mother Neff, about 80 acres were impacted by flooding.
A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) park, Mother Neff’s first planners worked toward protecting the park’s buildings from floodwaters by building riverside campgrounds as high above water as possible. Despite these efforts, severe flooding has closed the park several times over the years resulting in the need for major repairs.
Years of extreme drought followed by major flooding caused a log jam to clog portions of the Leon River at the park. The floods over the past two years caused the log jam to almost triple in size after trees from the riverbank began to fall into the river, as well as debris coming from upstream.
“The original project required that 1000 feet of woody debris in the Leon River be removed,” said Mother Neff State Park superintendent Melissa Chadwick. “After work begun in May, it was evident the debris upstream needed to be cleared as well if the park was to have any chance to recover from flooding anytime the watershed received a couple inches of rain.”
Chadwick said the project was extended and an additional half mile of debris was removed using specialized equipment at the end of July.
Partners for this project include the park’s neighboring landowners, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Coryell County officials, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Forest Service, Moir Watershed Services and community volunteers.
“This project could not have gone smoother and we are tremendously thankful for our supportive neighbors, an amazing contracting team and finally some cooperation from Mother Nature,” said Chadwick.
With the clearing of the log jam, the park is looking forward to repairing portions of the original part of the park – including the renovation of the CCC rock tabernacle, lift station repairs and new restrooms – in the next two years. TxDOT is also beginning the process of constructing a new bridge on Texas 236 Highway.
For more information about Mother Neff State Park, visit the TPWD website.