Northeast Texan fights against Marvin Nichols Reservoir Project

Landowner Eddie Belcher said his great great grandfather was the first to settle on their family land back in the 1920s.

BOGATA, Texas — The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir Project continues to be a hot topic in Northeast Texas. This proposal would clear farmland in the area and flood the Sulphur River to create the reservoir.

Experts say the Dallas/Fort Worth area needs five new reservoirs to sustain all the growth. Northeast Texas is being looked at to help feed this development.

One landowner near the river says this project will take away the land his family has owned for seven generations.

Eddie Belcher owns 718 acres located just north of the Sulphur River. His land is only about half a mile north of the river. Putting him right in the path of proposed flood zone.

“I have two older brothers and two younger sisters,” said Belcher. “This is where we grew up.”

Belcher said his great great grandfather was the first one to settle in the area back in the 1920s.

“We spent all our lives right here,” said Belcher. “I would like to give it to my children and my grandkids.”

Belcher uses his family land to raise cattle, grow hay and hunt. Every time he drives through on his ATV, he remembers many cherished memories.

On the property is a house his grandpa lived in before electricity was available. Belcher has added multiple adjustments to the house from its original structure.

Also on the land are Native American traces and remains. Belcher has had living mounds, pottery, arrowheads, tomahawks and a burial ground identified. Among the woods are bent trees that Native Americans would use as markers.

With the state of Texas proposing to flood the Sulphur River, which might potentially flood Belcher’s land, he said his relationship with the area has only grown.

“It’s become more dear,” said Belcher. “Thinking I could lose something like this and the ecosystem. Not only does my family, but lots and lots of other families come out here to catch fish.”

After sharing the history of his land, Belcher said he will continue to fight against Marvin Nichols alongside other families near the river.

“I just wish Dallas/Fort Worth knew the real value of land,” said Belcher. “It’s not about what it’s really worth. I’m 61 years old. I grew up here.”

Belcher said he has heard from the state of Texas and they’ve offered him market price for his land if the reservoir project goes through. If he refused, then the state could use eminent domain.