YOUR HELP NEEDED TO SUPPORT NECHES RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE
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.
The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
is considering final approval of the Neches
River National Wildlife Refuge on a beautiful
stretch of the Upper Neches River in Anderson
and Cherokee Counties.
The refuge needs
The 25,000 acres proposed
for inclusion within the proposed refuge boundary
contains some of the best remaining and least
disturbed bottomland hardwood forest habitat left
in Texas, rated as “Priority 1” by
the USFWS. If given final approval, the Neches
River National Wildlife Refuge will protect
vital habitat for wildlife, waterfowl,
and migratory songbirds, will provide
wonderful hunting and other outdoor recreational
opportunities for the public, and will serve as
an economic boon to surrounding
communities. The 540 National Wildlife Refuges
in the lower 48 states fueled more than $809 million
in sales. With bird watching and canoeing the
fastest-growing nature activities in the state, East
Texas has much to gain from
establishing the Neches River National Wildlife
developers are trying toblock
final approval of the Refuge, to keep
the site free for Fastrill Reservoir,
which would drown most of the 25,000
acres proposed for the refuge. Fastrill
is not needed for water supply. There
is enough water available fromexisting
reservoirs to more than meet the region’s
water demands projected for 2060. No one is
proposing to bring Fastrill on line until 2045
and the draft regional water plan for the Dallas-Fort
Worth area lists it as a reserve supply for
Dallas Water Utilities above their
projected demand for 2060.
Key points: The Fish and Wildlife
Service will not exercise land
condemnation to establish the refuge – unlike
the builders of the reservoir. The Service will
purchase lands from willing sellers only.
For lands purchased within the refuge boundary,
the Service will make Refuge Revenue Sharingpayments to
each county to offset the tax revenues the counties
are currently receiving in property taxes. The
Service will provide financial assistance
to relocate those landowners who choose
to sell their lands for the refuge.
Once home to the ivory-billed woodpecker, the
Upper Neches is prime wildlife habitat. The refuge
site is in the debris field of the wreckage
of the space shuttle Columbia and
has been proposed asa
memorial to this national tragedy. Citizen
groups have launched The Neches River
Protection Initiative, to seek designation
of a segment of the Neches as a National
Building a reservoir on the Upper Neches, however,
would negatively impact the very-water-dependent
Big Thicket National Preserve, two
national forest wilderness areas, a
state wildlife management area, and the Texas
State Historical Railroad.
Please contact the following officials
and tell them you enthusiastically support establishing
the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge!