Nueces River Authority

By: Kenneth E. Hendrickson Jr.

Type: General Entry

Published: May 1, 1995

The Nueces River Authority was established by the Texas legislature in 1935. Its service area includes all or parts of twenty-two counties, virtually the entire drainage area of the Nueces River, except for that in Webb County. This area of 17,796 square miles extends from Rocksprings on the Edwards Plateau southeast to Nueces Bay at Corpus Christi, west to Brackettville, and to within a few miles of the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. The NRA is governed by a twenty-one-member board of directors appointed by the governor. The board meets about five times per year, whenever the president determines there is sufficient business. Meetings are usually held in San Antonio or Corpus Christi. NRA headquarters are in Uvalde, and the staff consists of an executive director and an administrative assistant. Between 1935 and 1946 the NRA was inactive. In 1946 the United States Bureau of Reclamation proposed six reservoirs and two flood-control projects in the Nueces basin. The NRA was to have been a cosponsor of these projects, but because of insufficient funding they were never built. In 1958 the NRA, under the direction of commissioner Dolph Briscoe, Jr., prepared a master plan for the Nueces basin using its own consulting engineers. The plan comprised many of the same projects as the earlier one and was approved by the state, but, again due to insufficient funding, little was accomplished. In 1974 Congress authorized the construction of one project from the earlier plans. The Bureau of Reclamation contributed 20 percent of the cost of building the Choke Canyon reservoir on the Frio River, a tributary of the Nueces, and the NRA and the city of Corpus Christi cosponsored the project. The reservoir covers 26,000 acres in Live Oak and McMullen counties and extends upstream for thirty-four miles. (see CHOKE CANYON STATE PARK.) The NRA also holds bond sales to fund pollution control and industrial development. Its community-assistance programs provide such services as feasibility studies, design assistance, grant application assistance, land financing, right-of-way acquisition, and construction assistance. It also assists with project operations, maintenance, and administration. The NRA monitors water quality in the Nueces Basin and gathers information on legislation affecting water-rights projects.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Nueces River Project (1975). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kenneth E. Hendrickson Jr., “Nueces River Authority,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995