Monday, November 09, 2015

Disappearing Texas: New reservoir could wash away farming life in Fannin County

Rolling past hayfields and old barns and cattle-pocked pastures, the road to Carson dips as it nears the wooded bottom land along Lower Bois d’Arc Creek. There, a red-tipped stake marks the line where open land will give way to water in central Fannin County if a proposed reservoir wins final approval. Around here, it’s also the front line in a stubborn struggle between reservoir supporters and a group of farmers and ranchers whose families have worked this land since the 1800s. The North Texas Municipal Water District hopes to build a dam 2 miles long just south of the Caddo Grasslands, then flood more than 16,500 acres beneath 22 feet of water on average, with some spots up to 70 feet deep. The water from Lower Bois d’Arc Creek and its many tributaries would provide an additional water source for Fannin County, but especially for its booming suburban neighbors to the west and south in Collin, Denton, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. Along with a new water supply and a new lake, the NTMWD says the roughly $1 billion project will bring jobs and tax revenue to a place residents describe as among the poorest in Texas.  While the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek has received state approvals and a State Water Implementation Fund for Texas loan of $82 million for land acquisition and ancillary construction work to help complete the project, the NTMWD still needs a federal permit. And despite Carter’s confidence, that final permit isn’t guaranteed. The opponents of the project find at least a ray of hope in that...more

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