MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas -- A crowd of about 50 people were debriefed earlier this week on the Marvin Nichols Reservoir and the potential effects it could have on the region if it comes to fruition.
On Monday evening, leaders from the Preserve Northeast Texas group gave presentations about the negative impact the proposed reservoir water project would have on Northeast Texas if it is allowed to proceed in the state water plan.
Janice Bezanson, senior policy director for Texas Conservation Alliance, and Jim Thompson, chairman of North East Texas Regional Water Planning Group, spoke at the event.
Bezanson said her and Thompson's main talking points included discussion of private property rights, possible conservation tactics to eliminate the need for the reservoir and the importance of timber to Northeast Texas.
"I was very impressed with the level of engagement of the people attending," Bezanson said.
Bezanson said local attendees at Monday night's event chimed in with personal stories of what is at stake for them, their families and their communities if the reservoir is built. Attendees also participated in writing letters to lawmakers to push back on the reservoir project in hopes of having it removed from the Texas State Water Plan.
"They were very participatory," she said. "They wrote postcards to elected officials, they asked really good questions, and it was really just a rewarding experience."
If built, the reservoir, estimated as a $4.4 billion project, would flood 66,000 of acres of hardwood forest, farms and ranches and wetlands at the intersection of Red River, Titus, and Franklin counties along the Sulphur River.
An estimated 130,000 additional acres would also be removed from private land ownership for environmental mitigation. This means an estimated 200,000 acres of Texas land would be taken out of production.
A majority of the water would be pumped to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
As of late last month, more than 2,000 Texans have signed a petition created by Preserve Northeast Texas to condemn Marvin Nichols.
To or learn more about the proposed reservoir, visit PreserveNortheastTexas.org. The group can also be found on Facebook and Instagram at @PreserveNortheastTexas and Twitter at @NoMarvinNichols.