Fishing & Boating News

Proposition 6

by: Michael Banks, DDS, Friends of the Neches River

Beautiful Redfish
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Kayak full of fish - What Fun!
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
(Nov. 04, 2013 - )


Several have asked for an opinion on the constitutional amendment, Proposition 6, being consider now in a state wide election. I apologize for not presenting this information sooner. Here are the talking points:

Proposition 6 proposes the one time transfer of $2 billion (with a "b") from Texas's Rainy Day Fund to a newly created State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT). The political mechanism to utilize SWIFT would be the appointment of a SWIFT Advisory Committee by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus to work with the restructured Texas Water Development Board with its Regional Water Planning Groups. In the restructure of TWDB three full time members would comprise that board instead of the current five member, part-timeboard.

SWIFT would fund rural water projects. The water distribution abilities of entities like cities and rural water districts are failing as their infrastructures leak almost as much water as they deliver. Few of these entities have a bond rating good enough for improvements. The seed money from SWIFT could generate $30 billion in bond packages for these improvements.

SWIFT would encourage conservation of the prepared water supply. Educational information programs would be delivered to the public on ways to conserve our delivered water. It is estimated over 20% of our water supply could be available for use with conservation.

SWIFT would invest in the reuse of water. This is the recycling of water that has already been delivered. Some don't like the term "reuse" as it implies that you are getting the water back to use that you flush or send down the drain. And that is exactly what happens but that water is sent through a natural recycling system instead of leaving an area.

I have toured the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center at Seagoville, Texas, just off Hwy. 175. This is the East Fork Wetland Project of the North Texas Municipal Water District which diverts water from the East Fork of the Trinity River into man-made wetlands where the water is naturally "cleaned". The water in the East Fork of the Trinity is water that has been used by North Texas cities. After passing through the wetlands this water is then sent back through an 84 inch pipeline over the 43 miles to Lake Lavon to be "reused" in the municipal water supplies of North Texas. This produces 102,000 acre feet of water per year which is equal to the capacity of Lake Lavon. So this wetland reuse project produces the equivalent of the water annually from a new reservoir with much less environmental impact of a reservoir. Instead this wetlands recycling of water enhances the environment.

The Tarrant Regional Water District has the George W. Shannon Wetland Water Re-use Project on Richland Chambers Creek and is developing a similar project at Cedar Creek Reservoir.

SWIFT would utilize new treatment technologies to produce usable water from now unusable water. There is brackish water on the surface and in aquifers that could be added to our water supplies with the construction of desalination plants. It is estimated there is enough water for the next 100 years if this water from our aquifers could be utilized in our water sources.

And yes, SWIFT would fund reservoirs. This could be like providing the funding for ammunition to be used by ones opponent. Hopefully more practical solutions to our state's water needs will supersede the short cited thinking of a need for more reservoirs. The lack of the benefits of reservoirs has been support by most except for contractors and those who "cash in" on their construction. We should have learned from the drought of the 1950's that the solution to a drought is not reservoirs; the solution to a drought is rain!

Proposition 6 creates a new bureaucracy and gives it two billion dollars of our money to administer with limited oversight and no recourse by the voters.

Proposition 6 will pass the scrutiny of the voters. Then our task is to hold the feet of the administrators of the law to the proverbial fire so that intentions of the proposition occur and that there is a limit to the unintended consequences.

Now, on to the fun!

Happiness is a kayak full of fish. Pictured in my kayak is what I call the Texas Special Grand Slam - 4 species -Sheepshead, Speckled Trout, Redfish and Flounder. All were caught last week in the same outing - from my kayak!

The Redfish is beautiful and was released because it was short of the slot by 1/2 inch. Redfish feed head down in shallow water and get a suntan producing the "golden" color. Also, the spot on the tail is a defense mechanism fooling birds of prey as when their head is down finding crustaceans in shallow water the fish is "tailing" making the spot on the tail look like their head is up!

I am anticipating tarpon and bonefish being in my near future.

River trips on the Neches River will be available after hunting season.

Till we put in again,
First red of the day/
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Sunset on Keith Lake.
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS