Bois d’Arc Lake and Watershed-Scale Ecological Restoration: a Historic Reservoir and a Texas Sized Mitigation Project

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Matthew Stahman

Publication Date:

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is currently constructing a surface water reservoir in Fannin County, Texas to supply a growing regional population; the first reservoir in Texas in approximately 30 years. Environmental impacts from the resulting Bois d’Arc Lake are being mitigated by restoring, enhancing and preserving over 14,000 acres of wetland and upland habitats and 70 miles of ephemeral, intermittent and perennial streams within the same watershed. Much of this restoration takes place on property formerly used for agriculture and livestock production for over 100 years. The scale of this mitigation project is significant: approximately 8,500 acres of forested, emergent and scrub shrub wetland; 2,600 acres of upland forest; and 3,200 acres of native grassland restoration and enhancement; and over 392,000 linear feet of stream restoration, enhancement and establishment. Restoration and perpetual protection of these habitats will decrease erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loads in a significant portion of the Bois d’Arc Creek watershed that drains into the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma. This presentation will provide background on development of the Bois d’Arc Lake Mitigation Project as well as its current status over one year into construction. We will discuss the variety of habitats on-site, restoration techniques employed (including innovative use of local native materials), and lessons learned to date on ecological restoration at this scale. We will also discuss how NTMWD used a novel full-service provider contracting mechanism to reduce project cost and transfer longterm risk, providing a model for future large-scale restoration projects.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program