A group of East Texas conservationists headed by author, and lifetime Texas resident, Richard Donovan is seeking to preserve the 415-mile Neches River by having it designated as a "National Wild and Scenic River."
If the designation is achieved, the Neches would remain free from impoundments, most shoreline development, and channelization. Neither would water be allowed to be pumped out of the river. In addition, most of the river would remain inaccessible except by hiking trail. To receive the designation as a "National Wild and Scenic River" a bill would first have to be introduced in the U.S. congress by a Senator or Representative whose district touches the river.
If the Neches is designated as a "National Wild and Scenic River" precious bottomland would be preserved. The Neches River bottoms are rich with animal and plant life. Species such as bobcat, fox, white-tailed deer, raccoon, otter, and many species of birds call these areas home. The bottoms are some of the last truly unspoiled areas left in Texas and may yet hold other surprises when it comes to what roams there. To lose the bottoms to one or more reservoirs would truly be a shame. Currently, only one other Texas river is designated as a "National Wild and Scenic River." That river would be the Rio Grande which received the designation on a 191.2 mile stretch in 1978.
You can read an article on these developments on the Lufkin Daily News site here.