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Don’t let them take our land

Over the last few months, I have been asked over and over to share my thoughts on the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir. That is an easy task for me because the plain truth is, it is very easy to see what the proposed hole in the ground really is, and that is, a land grab and an attempt to rob the people of Northeast Texas of their lands, their money, and their heritage. 

Region C, the D-FW metroplex folks, want to leave the controversial Marvin Nichols Reservoir in the state water plan despite the fact that the people who live here don’t want it, don’t need it and voted not to have it in the plan.
Also despite the fact that the massive lake will flood thousands upon thousands of acres of timber land that is crucial to the economy of Northeast Texas. I don’t guess you see a lot of log trucks running up and down the roads around Dallas, but in these parts we all know that those trucks are providing a lot of jobs.
Thankfully, we have good people on the Region D Water Planning Group that have our interests at heart, because they too live here and know what it really means. People like Region D Chairman Jim Thompson will fight the proposed lake with vigor and determination, and that is what it will take to beat it back.

The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir is about a 100 square mile behemoth that will put over 60,000 acres under water. It is proposed to stretch from a dam that is set to run just west of Hwy. 259 in Bowie County and then all the way back across the southern section of Red River County.  The required mitigation will eat up even more, creating a black hole in NE Texas that will never be used for anything else. 
Those here that do want the lake built look at the possible chances for recreation and related industries to be the draw for its construction, and then there are those who simply say it will get built whether we want it or not. They are probably right on that last count, but we have the weapons of warfare to beat it back, if we will.
Yes, there is the potentially catastrophic destruction of bottomland hardwoods, and the dangers of building a lake on top of the Talco fault line. Yes, there is the possibility of wiping out dozens of threatened species of wildlife and wiping a unique ecosystem off the face of the planet forever. And yes, whole communities will be erased, like Cuthand, and history will be unearthed and changed as cemeteries that date back to the days of the Civil War will have to be unearthed and relocated. And yes, jobs will be lost, lands will be drowned, the tax base will decline. More importantly, homes and history that have been a part of the Sulphur Basin for generations will be put under water or swallowed up by mitigation, never to be lived on, hunted on, farmed on or loved on, ever again.
By the way, for all of those who look to days in the sun out on a new lake, or maybe opening up a bait shop on its shores, we are talking about a lake that most likely wouldn’t get built until most of us are dead and gone.

I have been covering this issue since all the way back when Dr. Jane Morris happened to be in a meeting where a lake was first talked about, followed by folks like Max and Shirley Shumake, the Sulphur Oversight Society, and FUSE, began the fight, some 20 years ago. I have also seen the research that shows that raising the levels of Wright Patman would eliminate the need for a new reservoir.
Over the last two decades I have sat in meetings and heard the people of Northeast Texas talk about the negative impacts of this proposed reservoir and heard the overwhelming majority of folks say they do not want it built.
The folks standing up against this lake, like DeKalb’s Michael Baird is now, do so not to garner attention or for monetary gain. No sir, they do it to protect their homelands. They do it to protect the bottoms and forests that they have called home since the days they opened their eyes, just like the generations of their family before them.
The bottom line now is, whether you are for the lake or not, now is your time to say so. When the public meetings are scheduled, go and share your voice. Talk to your state representatives, call your Congressman, write letters to Governor Abbott, inundate lawmakers on the state and federal levels with your letters and emails. Tell them all how you feel about having our lands taken away. That is how we stop this land grab, for us now, and for our children and grandchildren.

Region D water planners will discuss the issue and are expected to officially oppose the inclusion of Marvin Nichols Reservoir in its draft water plan when they meet tomorrow in Pittsburg. That meeting is scheduled for January 23 at 1 p.m. at the Region 8 Education Center.

Following is contact information for those you can send your opinion to:
Gary Vandeaver
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910
Phone: (512)463-0692

Bryan Hughes
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
Phone: (512)463-0101

John Ratcliffe
Washington, DC Office
223 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202)225-6673

Texarkana Office
Texarkana College - Media Center
2500 North Robison Rd, Suite 190
Texarkana, TX 75599
Phone: (903)823-3173

Governor Greg Abbott
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Phone: (512)463-2000


Bowie County Citizens Tribune

139 E.N. Front Street
New Boston, Texas 75570