The Nueces River ( new-AY-sis) is a river in the U.S. state of Texas, about 315 miles (507 km) long. It drains a region in central and southern Texas southeastward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the southernmost major river in Texas northeast of the Rio Grande. Nueces is Spanish for nuts; early settlers named the river after the numerous pecan trees along its banks.
The Nueces rises northwest of San Antonio in the Edwards Plateau, in Real County, roughly 50 mi (80 km) north of Uvalde. It flows south through the Texas Hill Country, past Barksdale and Crystal City, approaching to within 35 mi (56 km) of the Rio Grande on the border with Mexico. East of Carrizo Springs, it turns to the east, flowing through the scrub plains of South Texas, across rural Dimmit, La Salle, and McMullen Counties. In central Live Oak County, it is joined from the northwest at Three Rivers by the Atascosa River and Frio River, then flows southeast along the coastal plain past Mathis, where it is impounded to form the Lake Corpus Christi reservoir. It enters Corpus Christi Bay on the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Christi.
Called Chotilapacquen by Coahuiltecan-speaking groups, the river was named "Nueces" by Alonso de León referring to the abundant pecan tree groves. One of the first settlers to scout the area was Cpt. Blas María de la Garza Falcón in 1766. From before the end of the Texas Revolution, Mexico recognized that the Nueces River was historically the border of Texas from the rest of the country. However, the Republic of Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its border with Mexico, citing the Treaty of Velasco signed by Mexican President Santa Anna, who agreed to the Rio Grande border after losing the Battle of San Jacinto. This dispute continued after the annexation of Texas, and was one of the causes of the Mexican-American War. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the dispute, with Mexico recognizing, under pressure, the Rio Grande as its northern border.
The Nueces is one of several clear warm-water spring creeks in the Hill Country of Texas. In its upper reaches, the water is clear and cool.
Unlike spring trout creeks in the Rocky Mountains, the Nueces holds largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and the native Guadalupe bass, along with a variety of panfish such as redbreast sunfish, rock bass, green sunfish, and Rio Grande perch. The American alligator is also abundant in the Nueces River.