The IPP focuses on development of a regional plan for 19 counties in North East Texas.
Comments included opposition and support for new reservoirs in the region, support for the protection of streams and bayous with ecological values, the need for additional water supplies to sustain economic growth in the region, protections for property owners, the need to protect old-growth forests and landscapes to attract people interested in natural surroundings and the need to protect sustainable forests for lumber, paper and other wood products.
Bobby Arey, a landowner in Red River County, said Pecan Bayou deserved the recommendation of ecologically unique because it has native trees, rare plants and wildlife. Arey said Pecan Bayou would bring eco-tourism into the area and John Dugdale, an attorney, also expressed support for the designation of Pecan Bayou as an ecologically unique segment and said the designation would not restrict the rights of property owners.
Roberta Smith, also of Red River County, said she, too, supports the conservation of streams like Pecan Bayou and opposes the development of new lakes on the Sulphur River.
Steve Arey and Jim Eidson, property owners in Red River County, called for the protection of old-growth trees and the preservation of private property.
Mayor Ann Rushing and City Manager Wayne Dial of the City of Clarksville said they oppose the IPP for Northeast Texas, saying it restricts the potential for growth for Red River County by not planning for new water supplies.
Mount Pleasant Mayor Jerry Boatner urged responsible development of the Sulphur River as a means of economic development of Northeast Texas. and asked that no possible option be removed from the list to be considered.
Max Shumake of DeKalb told the regional planners “you have done what it takes to protect our economy and our region” with the development of the Initially Prepared Plan. John Jarvis of Bowie County also thanked the Regional Planning Group for its work.
Libby Trussell, also of Clarksville, told the Regional Planning Group “you have allowed us to not have a large lake (Marvin Nichols Reservoir) on our property.”
Nina Holt of the Cuthand community thanked the Planning Group for “saving our community” by saying Marvin Nichols Reservoir is not needed in the region.
Sheri New, an environmental representative for International Paper Company at Texarkana, also opposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir, which she said would hinder the mill’s access to wood and put the mill at a disadvantage with its competitors. She said the protection of existing jobs should be a priority.
Texarkana Independent School District Superintendent James Henry Russell and Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Sanford said additional water supplies will help Texarkana’s potential for growth.
Sanford mentioned the expansion of Texas A&M University in Texarkana, expanded transportation arteries, increase in business productivity, and a large industrial park as reasons to expect population increases beyond normal projections. Russell said the school expects a 20 percent growth in the next five years.
Mike Russell of Lamar County, President of the Sulphur River Basin Authority, urged the Planning Group to “take a fresh look” at a new basin-wide study and urged the Planning Group to support a comprehensive study for the Sulphur River Basin.
Written comments for the Initially Prepared Plan will continue to be received until June 1.
A copy of the IPP is online at the website address of http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/wrpi/rwp/rwp.htm.
A copy of the IPP is also available for viewing at the office of the County Clerk and Public Libraries for each county located within Region D.
The name, telephone number, and address of the person to whom questions or requests for additional information may be submitted is as follows:
Walt Sears Jr., telephone number 903-639-7538, Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, PO Box 955, Hughes Springs, Tx 75656. The NETWMD is the Administrator for the Region D group.
How the public may submit comments is as follows:
Written comments may be sent directly to the group by delivery to the NETMWD, PO Box 955, 4180 Highway 250, Hughes Springs, TX 75656. The deadline for submission of public written comments is June 1.
The planning group will consider all comments and intends to submit a regional water plan to the Texas Water Development Board by Sept. 1, and then the Plan will be used to develop the next state water plan.
The Regional Water Group will meet again on Wednesday, May 5, at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center, starting at 1 p.m.