For Immediate Release (Monday, December 12, 2005):
Contact: Ken Kramer, 512-477-1729
Donna Hoffman, 512-477-1729 or 512-299-5776
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club consists of over 25,000 members.
The Chapter spans the entire state of Texas, excepting El Paso, which
is part of the Rio Grande Chapter.
Located in Austin, the Lone Star Chapter's State Conservation Office
serves Sierrans as their grassroots communications center. We also provide
Sierrans with a full time professional activist staff employed to represent
Sierrans as we fight at the state level to protect and conserve Texas'
diverse and valuable natural heritage.
Protect the Neches River
Take Action by December 20, Tuesday
The regional director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has recommended acquisition of up to 25,000 acres on the upper Neches River as a national wildlife refuge, but political forces are trying to block final approval of the refuge. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall should give final approval to creation of the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge.
Send a fax or an e-mail message to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall (fax: 202-208-4714 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com) urging him to give final approval to creation of the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge
For a sample message, click here.
The regional director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has recommended acquisition of up to 25,000 acres on the beautiful upper Neches River as the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge, but political forces are trying to block final approval of the Refuge.
Dallas Water Utilities and the Upper Neches Municipal Water Authority want to build an unneeded reservoir, called Fastrill, on the same site as the proposed refuge. Fastrill would drown forever a bottomland hardwood forest of such high quality that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service rates it as “Priority 1” for conservation. Congressman Joe Hensarling, a few county commissioners, and people with a vested interest in building expensive public works projects are pushing for the reservoir.
Fastrill is not needed for water supply. The Region C Water Planning Group (for Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas) has identified enough water available from existing reservoirs to meet twice the demand projected for the region as far in the future as 2060. No one is proposing to bring Fastrill on line until 2045. The regional water plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth area shows Fastrill only as a source for a reserve supply for Dallas Water Utilities above their projected demand for 2060.
We do need the Neches River Refuge! More than 75% of the bottomland hardwood forests in Texas are already lost – 2 million acres under reservoirs, the rest converted to other uses. Hardwood bottoms provide vital habitat for the wildlife, waterfowl, and migratory songbirds. A refuge on the Neches would offer hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, birdwatching, and other outdoor recreation for Texas’ fast-growing population.
The proposed Fastrill reservoir would take many tens of thousands of acres off the tax rolls – 30,000 acres for the lake and an unknown but probably larger amount for mitigation. If the refuge is created, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service will compensate local counties and school districts under a revenue-sharing program.
The Fish & Wildlife Service will not exercise the power of land condemnation to establish the refuge – unlike the builders of the reservoir. The Service will purchase lands from willing sellers only. The Service will provide financial assistance to relocate those landowners who choose to sell their lands for the refuge.