PineyWoods Sierra Club Newsletter

Monthly Meeting

Of the PineyWoods Sierra Club Regional Group will convene at

7:00 PM, Tuesday, June 3, @ Stephen F. Austin

State Univ., Agriculture Bld., Rm. 118, Wilson Dr., Nacogdoches, TX.

"Bring a Friend & The Kids … Potluck snacks served -
bring something, but come to eat if you can’t."

Y’all come and Enjoy the Fellowship!

WORDS TO INSPIRE

"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster
its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival."

Wendell Berry, Writer

ENVIRONMENTAL HERO
-- quits Forest Service in act of conscience --

Jim Furnish is a life-long Republican who voted for President Bush. But he resigned after 30 years with the Forest Service to protest the agency's opening of our national forests to unsustainable logging and other quick-cash exploitation at the expense of endangered wildlife. Furnish, who was the agency's deputy chief, said he was powerless to stop the Bush administration's anti-environmental assault. "It was like I was the manager of a professional baseball team," he said. "When the team took the field, the owner made me stay in the clubhouse. In fact, I couldn't even see the game." Furnish has been speaking out against the Bush administration's proposal to gut the National Forest Management Act, which would allow more logging of national forests. [DENlines@den.defenders.org]

The Forest Service wants to make it official policy to ignore comments from e-activist networks. The agency has stated it will pay less attention to form e-mail comments on its national forest regulation rewrite, and that it won't accept such comments at all on the final 15-year plans for managing each national forest.

Furnish’s boss -- Forest Service Chief, Dale Bosworth -- told the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News that it (comment from the public) "just distorts the picture to accept all the opinions of concerned citizens on these important plans," and that he doesn't like it that public opinion "always ends up becoming an issue."
[Isn’t the Chief supposed to be working as a steward of the people’s forests?]

The Chief and the President are getting the support that they desire from Congress: the House passed the McInnes bill (the ignominious "Healthy Forest Initiative," H.R. 1904) on a 256-170 vote, rejecting by a comparable margin (239-184) a substitute proposal offered by Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR). The Miller-DeFazio substitute included provisions that would actually reduce wildfire danger to people and their property, and without choking off the public's voice in the process. It is now up to the Senate to stop this travesty!

Defenders of Wildlife has found that the Bush administration is systematically undermining the National Environmental Policy Act
, one of the nation's fundamental environmental laws. In only two years, the administration has argued in court nearly 100 times for weakening that law, and lost more than three-quarters of these cases, largely because its arguments clearly violate established judicial opinion.


Evening Program

We are especially privileged and fortunate to have a speaker come to talk to us about issues that are particularly germane in today’s troubled world. Professor Jerry Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, will talk to us about "International Development, Inequality, and (the) Environment: Why Business as Usual Just Won't Work." The focus of his talk will be about how systems of international development policies not only foster poverty and misery in the world, but also widespread environmental damage. He will talk about both global and local environmental issues.

Sierra Cubs and Teens will tour the Arboretum during the adults' meeting, and visit the bee hive and the herb garden, as well as participate in some fun activities in the gardens. Y’all Come!!


Proposal to Induct the Upper Neches River
Into the Wild & Scenic Rivers System

"Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed... "

Wallace Stegner, author

East Texas has a grand and incomparable natural treasure – the 400+ mile Neches River - one of the last significant free-flowing rivers in the U.S.. Its main course flows south from Lake Palestine (Anderson/Cherokee counties) to Sabine Lake on the Gulf coast (Orange/Jefferson counties). Six main tributaries join The Neches River – the Angelina River, the Ayish, LaNana and Pine Island Bayou, and Flat Creek and Village Creek. Its watershed encompasses a drainage area of about 10 thousand square miles, which annually yields about 6 million acre-feet of water flow. It supplies two main reservoirs -- Lake Palestine and B.A. Steinhagen, between which is the "Upper Neches."

There are many appellations that characterize the Neches River, but none more fitting perhaps than "Mother Nature’s Artery for (much of) East Texas Water" -- it is important to note that it is East Texas’ Water. It nourishes our hardwood bottomlands, wildlife, fish, and the marine eco-systems of our bays and estuaries, and it provides a bounteous supply of water for our growing industry, agriculture, and domestic needs. The State’s current Water Plan reveals there is enough water in East Texas for 50 more years – without building another dam on the Neches for still another multibillion-dollar reservoir.

Yet, the water barons who disproportionately shaped the Texas Water Plan managed to include 13 new reservoirs (ostensibly to market water outside our water basin), but not a single Unique Stream Segment (to safeguard irreplaceable riverine habitat and its natural resources). Two unnecessary reservoirs were resurrected for the Neches River, Weches Dam (or Fastrill), and Rockland Reservoir (both on the planning books for years), and a new initiative -- destructive expansion of the Steinhagen Reservoir. With this Water Plan, nearly 1200 square miles of special Texas land with natural resources too precious to loose would be lost forever – 510 square miles from drowning and 660 square miles from land condemnation.

One of the reasons why we live in East Texas and why so many people come to visit relates directly to its abundance of water. But please, make no mistake, the building of more reservoirs and expansion of them will take our (your!) water away -- guaranteed!!

However, having the Neches R. inducted into The Wild & Scenic Rivers System (of the National Park Service), and having it designated a Scenic River, we can preserve its natural function and its greatest value for the benefit and the enjoyment of all people (particularly, but not only) of East Texans, as well as, for the protection of wildlife (moreover, we’ll then have slowed the sinful greed of the water barons!!).

It is important that all 240 miles of the Upper Neches (from L. Palestine to Steinhagen Res.) be protected by the designation since new dams and reservoirs could destroy any segment of the River. The Upper Neches is already bounded by two National Forests (95 river miles; 40% of the 225), and, as in these Forests, private property would continue to coexist with the designation. Property use by owners would not change, not any condemnation or drowning of land would occur, and bridges and roads would remain intact. Land may be bought (up to 100 acres per river mile) from willing sellers only. Cabin occupation and other uses of private property would not be affected. Hunting and fishing would remain subject to State game laws, and Texas would retain ownership of the riverbed. Scenic River designation would permanently protect land of the Neches Valley and forever ban destructive water projects such as Rockland, Weches, and Steinhagen.

Induction into the Wild and Scenic Rivers System begins with a three-year study authorized by Congress -- a "Study Bill" has to be introduced by a senator or representative (Rep. Turner is for it). Such a Study Bill would establish a local advisory group for the study process, and then interested East Texans would plan the Scenic Neches R.. Decisions made by them at the local level would be presented to Congress for approval and funding.

AVD.

[Upper Neches R: in Congressional Dist. 2, held by Rep. Jim Turner, Democrat; and in Dist. 5, held by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Republican]

For further information, contact Texas Committee on Natural Resources, (512) 327-4119; tconr@texas.net; sponsor of the "Neches River Protection Initiative" (NRPI). Ms. Gina Donovan. Outreach & Education Coordinator. (936) 632-7312.


Sierra Cubs Summer Camp

The 2nd Annual Sierra Cubs Camp for children 6-10 years old is scheduled for June 23 – 27 from nine AM to Noon, and will be held again at the beautiful Mill Creek Gardens nature preserve (courtesy of the Ag. Dept., Stephen F. Austin State University). Activities include canoeing, arts & crafts, nature hikes, water projects, conservation activities, and more! Additional Volunteer leaders would be a welcome enhancement to the present staff – half day, all day -- for one day, or for all five days. Be an assistant. Come, enlist in the fun and excitement of helping our Cubs grow with new knowledge and appreciation of Mother Nature’s wonders, all while having the time of your life!! You’ll be glad you did!

Call Kerry, (936) 615- 5053, or Elyce, (936) 468-1832, for additional information and to volunteer.


Outings

"Picnic in the Woods" (b.y.o. basket or sac lunch) with the Northeast Texas SC Group at Buckley’s Place (Buckley MacInerney) on Saturday, June 21. Starting at 9:00 AM, enjoy an organized hike in the woods among beautiful Old Growth Trees and along a spring fed lake. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in the lake after the hike! About noon, we’ll go "next door" to Dian’s new place to have our picnic/sac lunch. Stay the afternoon for more hiking and/or swimming, then relax and watch the sunset over the Angelina River Valley (great view!) from Dian’s back yard.

Directions to Buckley's Place
Take state Highway 259 North, exactly 20 miles from downtown Nacogdoches --
at this point the highway "splits" & the grass median starts, and you are just inside Rusk County; note sign.
Go 1 mile further on 259 - then take paved road, left,
which is County Road 3271 W. (note sign: “Isabel Chapel Cemetery”) - go l mile on county road to the 3 mail boxes on the right - turn left into driveway.
Look for the Sierra Club Sign at the 3 mailboxes.

Contact: Dian Avriett -- (936) 639-6322, or
Buckley Maclrnerney - (903) 822-3310

 

Report on TCEQ Sponsored TMDL 5/15/03 Meeting
Sam Rayburn Reservoir – 5/19/03

Below are two select paragraphs from Mr. Walt West’s report of this meeting - for the full report - see: www.texas.sierraclub.org/pineywoods/tmdl.htm

There was a complete absence of information specifying surface water discharge sources and makeup or constituents of discharges to the water shed. The absence of this information from the presentation and lack of definition of permit limits and definition of quantities of discharges from the presentation makes it very clear that TCEQ is not committed to providing information to the citizens of the region that is important to the ecology, the recreational and associated economic value of the reservoir, and human health in the surrounding communities. If the public is going to be informed on important water quality issues TCEQ has made it glaringly clear that we cannot depend upon the formal presentations and meetings conducted by TCEQ. In fact, the presentation material clearly establishes that they are providing misleading information to the public and would prefer that the ordinary citizens not be informed of issues that are important to their well being.

In 1988 the Lufkin paper mill report to the EPA listed a release rate of 8,000 lbs./year of toxic effluent to surface waters. In 1997 the reported rate was 79,000lbs./year, in 1998, 77,000 lbs./year, and in 2000 the reported rate was just over 70,000 lbs./year. Paper Mill Creek effluent was identified as a significant and persistent pollution problem by the state water quality regulatory agency that existed in 1985. It still is! Walter West, P.E.

This Newsletter is Available Without a Stamp!!

Please let the Editor, Adrian, e-mail address NaturMate@earthlink.net, know if you would like to receive the Newsletter in electronic form as a (Word) attachment to an e-mail. E-mail to him your choice, and
Save the Club a significant amount of $$! Thanks!


Call for Newsletter Articles & Stories

Short stories and articles of environmental concern and issues appropriate for publication in The Warbler, as well as announcements of environmental events and conservation activity, are herewith solicited.

Please submit documents to the Editor by the first week of the month before the month of publication.

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Thanks for all of your hard work for the

Environment -- it’s "for our families, for our future."

July Mtg.: Tuesday, July 1, 2003. Send Newsletter input and/or comments to the Editor, Adrian F. Van Dellen: NATURMATE@EARTHLINK.NET

Neches River Rendezvous, 2003

[This information is extracted and adapted from the Lufkin Convention & Visitors Bureau brochure]

The Neches River Rendezvous is a scenic 10-mile trip down the Neches River. It is a unique canoe trip where numerous birds, squirrels, (deer), wild hogs and alligators have been observed. Join us on this special June Outing … enjoy beauty, challenge, and pleasure … on the incomparable Neches River.

For a Boat Rental (not part of registration),

Please specify Neches River Rendezvous
Boat Rental (on a limited basis)
Shawl Canoe School Tack-a-paw Expedition (Danny Rowzee)
(409) 755 – Blue 1-800-256-9337 9:00-5:00 M-F

Registration: at 8:00 AM, Boggy Slough Hunting Club

$25 Per Canoe (covers up to three people/canoe, two T-shirts, and two meal tickets)

$15 Per Kayak (covers one passenger/kayak, one T-shirt, and one meal ticket)

 (Lufkin Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Directions to North Boggy Slough Hunting Club

From Lufkin, take 103 West headed to Crockett. It merges with Hwy 7.

Approximately 1 mile past the merge you’ll see North Boggy Slough on the left side of the highway.

Park at the North Boggy Slough Hunting Club

For participants, Free shuttle is provided to canoe put-in site

and back to the parking area.

See you there!


PineyWoods Sierra Club Group Leadership

Office Name Phone E-mail
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Group Chair: …………….… Dian Avriett ……….... (936) 639 – 6322 …… cdavriett@aol.com
Vice Chair: ………………… (Vacant)
Secretary: ……………….... Adrian Van Dellen .…. (409) 429 – 5893 …… NaturMate@earthlink.net
Treasurer: …………………. Vicki Baggett …….….. (936) 564 – 0479 …… baggett@inu.net
Conservation Chair: ………. Walt West ……….….. (936) 897 – 2587 …… waltnan@inu.net
Outings Chair: …………..… Jim Lemon …….…..… (936) 554 – 1617 …… jlemon@accessmhmr.org
Program Chair: ……………. (Vacant) (Dian?)
Special Activities Leaders
Sierra Cubs Camp
Director: …………………… Kerry Lemon …….…. (936) 615 – 5053 …… kerryflowerforest@hotmail.com
Associate Director: …...….. Elyce Rodewald …… (936) 468 – 1832 …… erodewald@sfasu.edu
Sierra Cubs Outings: ……... Emily Goodwin ……… (936) 875 – 2864 …... egoodwi@templeinland.com
Newsletter Editor: ……….… Adrian Van Dellen ….. (409) 429 – 5893 …… NaturMate@earthlink.net

Enjoy a safe summer with Mother Nature!