Neches Watershed Attracts Researchers

The Neches River Watershed is a haven for East Texas hunters. A place where the forest meets the river. In the watershed, west of Alto, there's a research site attracting the National Council of Air Stream Improvement ( NCASI ). It's an organization funded by the forest products industry. The Alto Watershed Project is conducted on land formerly owned by Temple Inland. The Campbell Group is continuing the research effort.

NACASI members represent the top forestry companies of the world. They're from the big tree states of Washington, Oregon, and California. But they all have the same question.    " Can we do forestry without degrading our water resources?," said Dr. Matthew McBroom. The Stephen F. Austin State University professor and lead researcher shared the woods where he's found the answers. Best management practices do make a difference. Water quality begins here, long before it reaches your tap.    " We improved our reservoir capacity. We don't want to fill our reservoirs with excess sedimentation and erosion, so this way we can establish that these sorts of things can be provided for and at the same time practice good forestry, "  explained McBroom.

The Alto sight is unique. Over the years the forest faced natural reforestation, clear cutting, plantation harvesting and chemical spraying. Chapter upon chapter of research settings. NACASI principal scientist, Dr. George Ice said,  " We have to show we are good stewards of water quality. This is one of those examples we can say we have dramatically improved our practices. "

Bottle after bottle of water samples were taken from a small stream. It's flow is the same water that feeds streams, lakes and reservoirs. SFA Dean of Forestry, Dr. Scott Beasley said,  " East Texas is known to have high quality water and its forests and it's not a coincidence, the two go hand and hand. We feel as long as you maintain all the area and forest cover we'll have high quality water. "

What they research is good for science, but also policy. Texas relies on its landowners and users to protect the future of the land. More so they are willingly practicing good land use. And in the end that's a good reflection on everyone.