A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate brings a section of East Texas' Neches River closer to a designation that would preserve the river's character, river proponents announced late Monday afternoon.
“The Neches River is one of Texas' most beautiful, free-flowing rivers and provides a vital habitat for fish and other aquatic animals,” Sen. Hutchison said in a news release. “Its location in the heart of the Central Flyway makes it a crucial path for migrating ducks, geese, and songbirds. A Wild and Scenic River designation would help preserve all these attributes.”
According to a news release, about 200 U.S. rivers have a wild and scenic designation, including a section of the Rio Grande River that borders Big Bend National Park.
And if a section of the Neches River was designated, the designation would prevent dams from being built and flooding huge portions of the river, Texas Conservation Alliance Executive Director Janice Bezanson said. However, she said people still could hunt and fish, and it would not change how private landowners can use their property.
After a lengthy court battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the refuge was upheld.
Besides preventing dams, the designation also would be good for tourism because groups from all over the country visit places on the Neches, and it would make locals more aware of the resource they have, Ms. Bezanson said.
“We're wildly excited. (The bill) is a huge step forward in protecting the Neches River,” she said.