Resacas and Your Property Line

The term waterfront conjures up visions of sparkling sunsets, wildlife viewing, relaxing vistas, fishing, and fun on the water. The word Resaca is derived from the words reseca or dry river.

The term waterfront conjures up visions of sparkling sunsets, wildlife viewing, relaxing vistas, fishing, and fun on the water. The word Resaca is derived from the words reseca or dry river.


There are many resacas in the Lower Rio Grande valley of South Texas; they meander through San Benito, Los Fresnos, Brownsville, Bayview, Rancho Viejo, and Russell Town. The resacas have many names, Resaca de los Fresnos, Resaca de los Cuates, and Resaca de la Palma, are just a few of the resacas in the lower Valley.


These oxbow lakes are remnants of the Rio Grande river delta and were formed thousands of years ago. The Rio Grande River boundary is permanent now, as it forms the boundary between the United States and Mexico.


Sadly, many people have drowned in the Valley’s resacas throughout the years; unwitting bathers or boaters have lost their lives to the murky resaca waters. The water in the resacas does not flow as a river does, so there is little concern of rising water from a flood or people or animals being swept away in swift currents. There are spillways at the end of these waterways, which control the

water depth along the entire length of these resacas.


Alligators inhabit most all of the resacas throughout the area but seldom cause problems for humans or domestic animals. The benefits of living near a resaca far outweigh the risks or dangers of living along or near the water.


Resaca ownership varies with the local water Districts who utilize the water from these resacas for irrigation throughout the Valley. Homeowners in Rancho Viejo own the property to the middle

of the Resaca, whereas resaca front homeowners in San Benito yield 50 feet of land beginning at water’s edge to Cameron County Irrigation District.


The City of San Benito gets its drinking water from the local Resaca de los Fresnos, which in turn gets its water supply pumped in from the Rio Grande River. Be sure to check the survey if you plan to purchase a Resaca front lot to verify the lot line. The managing district maintains the Resaca, so if you fence your property to the water’s edge, you may, in some cases have to open your fence to allow the water district access for their maintenance equipment.


Few homeowners fence off their Resaca frontage view, as it greatly enhances the value of the property. Wildlife abounds along the banks of the resacas. Local birds and mammals call the Resacas home.


Birds found only in extreme South Texas, such as the chachalaca, green jay, and Altamira oriole, call the brush along the resacas home. Nutria, raccoon, beaver, opossum, manage to make a living along the shores hunting for fish, frogs, crayfish, and freshwater prawn.


These animals are seldom seen and rarely cause problems, as they are mostly nocturnal in nature. Beavers can make a nuisance of themselves if they take a liking to one of your trees near the water’s edge. However, they can be successfully removed with a live trap and relocated. Both the red-eared slider and the soft-shell turtles make the water their home. Bass, alligator gar, sun perch and shad are but a few of the fish species that can be found in the resacas.


Mosquitoes are seldom a problem along the Resacas because the Gambusia affinnis or mosquito fish is a common resident in all resacas. This tiny minnow keeps the mosquito larvae numbers under control.


A waterfront resaca lot in the Rio Grande Valley will invariably cost more than a lot in the same subdivision that is not located on the water, so one can expect to pay a little more to the taxman simply because the value of the property is more for a waterfront lot.


So, yes, living or on or near a resaca in South Texas has many advantages and few disadvantages.

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