Oral history of the Trinity River Authority with Carol Claybrook




Cox, Cassandra

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Carol Claybrook has worked for the Trinity River Authority (TRA) for 4 ½ decades, beginning her career as a temporary employee filing papers and culminating as the Executive Assistant to the Director. Having worked over the years for various departments within the TRA, Carol is the only current employee to work under all three TRA directors, David Brune, Danny Vance, and Kevin Ward; she has seen the evolution of the TRA, its policies and its interactions with Texas waterways. Mrs. Claybrook discusses diverse ways the TRA and the communities along the river have worked over the years to clean and protect the river. Since the 1970s, Trinity River Authority has consistently increased the assets under their care and now it’s the political subdivision for the Region C Water Planning Group—working directly with the state to incorporate TRA goals into the state water plan. A turning point for the TRA and the Trinity River discussed by Carol, was the passage of the Clean River Act of 1991 and subsequent Clean River Program, passed by the Texas Senate. These placed restrictions on industrial dumping into waterways and established regulations on water quality, initiating consistent monitoring of rivers for pollutants. These enabled TRA to create outreach programs to promote conservation and preservation, notably with educational activities in public schools. The TRA interacts with students through art contests to help the younger generation understand the impact of Texas waterways and their own environmental impact on the health of Texas water. Ultimately state programs helped to expand TRA into water purification, used for irrigation and also put back into Texas waterways. TRA has also evolved internally; it has become very similar to a modern corporation, supporting the needs of their employees with attractive pension plans, flexible hours and increased paid time off. This modernization has served to create an evolving internal structure serving the continued growth and prosperity of the Trinity River, Texas communities and the state.
Carol Claybrook has interacted with the Trinity River Authority Board of Directors, the H. Ross Perot Group, as well as city and state leaders, in her 45 years of service. She has assisted TRA leadership in illustrating to surrounding communities and the state the importance of the Trinity River; the use of community action coupled with Earth Day and Texas Water Day activities has increased the water quality of the Trinity River. Carol has been responsible for timely and detailed communication between the Trinity River Authority and the state and has represented the TRA throughout her career.


Oral History with Carol Claybrook about the Trinity River Authority


Trinity River Authority, Growth of Trinity River Authority, water quality, community outreach, Clean Rivers Act