The Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal is decades old, but this summer, there’s a new twist to the old plan. A new version of the lake would make it less than half the size that the original proposal designed. KETR’s Mark Haslett reports.
Mark Haslett: It’s become part of the political landscape of Northeast Texas: The tug-of-war over the Marvin Nichols Reservoir. Dallas-area planners say that DFW will need the proposed lake along the Sulphur River, north of Mount Pleasant. But around the place where the reservoir would actually be built, the project’s not too popular. This conflict manifests in the contrasting plans between the two state water planning groups in question. The DFW group, Region C, represents 16 North Texas counties. The Northeast Texas group, Region D, is composed of 18 counties, including those which would host Marvin Nichols. The two groups have been in a deadlock. But here’s something new: A compromise offered by Region C.
Linda Price: Region C came out with – one of the things they have done is – what we call “Big Marvin” is the huge lake, which is right at 70,000 acres. They have changed it to an alternate - what they’ve done is they have introduced a smaller version.
Haslett: That’s Linda Price of the Northeast Texas group. The version discussed at a meeting this week in Mount Pleasant was smaller indeed – 25,000 acres. That’s well less than half the 70,000-acre behemoth that would sprawl across southern Red River County. The DFW group has agreed to use water from Wright Patman Lake near Longview as an additional source. All planning groups agree on that, and Price says that the Army Corps of Engineers are working out exactly how much new water could come from a bigger Wright Patman. But as for what some call “Little Marvin” – Price says that any version of Marvin Nichols would be unwelcome, because the land in contention is that land immediately around the Sulphur River.
Price: Our position is they don’t need to be combining the two. At this point in time, we don’t know how much water we’re going to be able to get out of Wright Patman – which we do know is going to be a large amount of water. And even with downgrading from Big Marvin to Little Marvin, the hardwood bottomlands that we’ve been talking about that would be flooded and inundated and everything - even when you convert it to a smaller one, you are still flooding the same ones. Because once you start getting bigger with it, you get into the upland areas and stuff like that.
Haslett: The review process for the latest version of Marvin Nichols is ongoing, as revised plans are scheduled to be published next year.