WACO - A half mile log jam that clogged a portion of the Leon River near Mother Neff State Park is now cleared, and the park is looking to restore the area for future use.
During flood events, the Texas 236 Highway bridge crossing near the Leon River became a stopping point for large trees, contributing to more flooding and damage, officials said.
Parks and Wildlife officials said over the past two years, floods 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.
Several park facilities in the area were impacted as a result including damage to three major day-use sites and 20 tent campsites that remained closed.
Eighty out of 400 acres of Mother Neff park were impacted by flooding.
A Civilian Conservation Corps par, Mother Neff’s first planners worked toward protecting the park’s building 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.
Melissa Chadwick, Mother Neff State Park superintendent said the original project required that 1000 feet of woody debris in the Leon River be moved.
“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 a half mile of debris was removed using specialized equipment at the end of July.
Natural Resource Conservation Service, Coryell County officials, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TxDOT, Texas Forest Service, Moir Watershed Services, community volunteers, and the park’s neighboring landowners partnered for the project.
“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,” Chadwick said.
In the next two years, 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. TxDOT is also beginning the process of constructing a new bridge on Texas 236 Highway.
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