LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Richard Donovan has spent nearly his entire life protecting the wildlife that calls East Texas home, and now, his hard work is being honored.
Donovan was recently given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. The award looks to honor those that make an effort to conserve the natural environment. Last year, the Lufkin resident was awarded a similar award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
"It's just a validation of all of our efforts," Donovan said. "[It's because of] all of the people with Texas Conservation Alliance and people in our area that have come to recognize what a beautiful place that East Texas is and how much we have to offer."
Donovan has urged the national forest to be more conservative in its nursery program as well as keeping the natural beauty of the forest, but his biggest endeavor has been projects involving the Neches River.
"There are 12 million people that live within an easy day's drive of the Neches River, and if we could capitalize on that, just look at the economic impact it would have on this area if it would be made available for people to use," Donovan said. "The thing we need so badly is for the Neches to be designated a scenic and wild river."
Despite concern from landowners along the river, Donovan said the designation will not affect their property.
"It will protect the water," Donovan said. "It will not be siphoned off to go water the lawns west of here. At some point in time in the not so distant future, St. Augustine grass is going to need to be a thing of the past because we cannot continue to use millions of gallons of water on the grass and take it away out of our Neches, Angelina and Trinity rivers."
Donovan said despite the award he has no plans of slowing down because of unfinished work.
"The thing I want to stress the most is the people of East Texas to understand the beautiful, scenic landscape that we have here," Donovan said.
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