Most area fishermen and residents will remember that a few years ago, the mouth of the San Bernard River was almost completely sanded in. This is believed t be because the combination of closing off the original Brazos River mouth and jettying it to create the Freeport harbor and digging the outlet canal that is known as the “New” Brazos caused erosion of sand from beaches at Surfside to end up at the mouth of the San Bernard. Once the river’s outlet plugged, currents in the ICW began to show change, often “backing up” to the New Brazos outlet to the point that tugs and barges trying to get through the gates on the river often just could not make it against the current.

This was the mouth of the San Bernard River, completely closed before being dredged open.

Efforts lead by the group, “Friends of the River San Bernard”, and aided by Congressman Ron Paul, resulted in the Corps of Engineers deciding to dredge the river open again. This was as important to barge traffic and fishermen as it was to residents along the river itself. Without a natural outlet, the river backed up and became stagnant, and marine life suffered. Opening the mouth reversed this, but everyone knew it would be but a tempory “fix”.

Now, the river is beginning to silt in again. Small boats can still traverse the mouth to the Gulf, if they are knowledgeable and careful, but probably not for much longer. The only permanent solution would probably be to dynamite the Freeport jetties and close the outlet canal to redirect flow through the natural mouth of the Brazos, but that is not going to happen. Instead, those friends of the river will have to try to rescue it again, and they will need all our help to get the job done!

An aerial photo of the mouth of the San Bernard (provided by Friends of the River, San Bernard), showing that the mouth is once again silting in. The item circled in red is a shrimp boat wreck, the area behind the red dotted line a sand “delta” forming.



About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
This entry was posted in Conservation/The Environment. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. When Friends of the River San Bernard began – we were a great part of it because the main goal was to open the mouth of the San Bernard River – the agenda of that organization has since changed and the mouth is not getting the attention that the situation warants. We (Roy and Jan Edwards) felt like the river needed another round of awareness. So, as of 1-2-13, there is a new place to find information about the San Bernard River mouth:

    It stands and works independantly from any other site. Some of the folks who helped get the mouth of the San Bernard River opened in the first place are again working toward the second river mouth opening and this website is dedicated to that.

    About :
    This website is dedicated to publishing information about the area immediately surrounding the mouth of the San Bernard River; Brazoria County, Texas. Questions and comments are encouraged and will be included in a part of this website. Abusive or profane input will not be addressed and will be deleted.

    To HELP with this project, contact your elected officials expressing your concerns. will neither solicit nor accept monetary or material donations.
    1-2-13 is the first day the website was up, and we are still adding materials – still making our case. It is a work in progress, so please stop by every day or so to see if we have added anything new. There’s plenty of room to help and a new year to roll up your sleeves and get something wonderful accomplished! There’s no end to the good we can accomplish if we work together as a group and stay positive!

    A special thank you for the site go out to Albert Smith for the use of his photos, to Darrell Powell for setting up the website and to Gloria Powell for all the things she has done to get this project started.

    Also a special thanks goes out to you, Mike H for a couple of your articles we used in Saltwater Texas May 2006 and the Mariner’s Log in April 2006 in working on the first River mouth re-opening. They were great for creating awareness – and I guess that’s where we are again with the once and future river mouth.

    Roy and Jan Edwards

Comments are closed.