FORT WORTH, Texas – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District awarded a $159,000 contract Aug. 19 to TTG Utilities of Gatesville, Texas, to help enclose the parking area and protect wildlife habitat in the Lower Chain of Wetlands natural area along the Trinity River in southeastern Dallas.
The contractor will erect a pipe-rail fence around a parking lot on the site of the former Sleepy Hollow Golf Course clubhouse at Great Trinity Forest Way (Loop 12) just west of the Trinity River Bridge. It will provide access for hikers, bikers, birders and fishermen. Six ponds in the chain extend northeast from Great Trinity Forest Way to the I-45 Bridge.
The city of Dallas has plans to add visitor enhancements at the site including park benches and an information kiosk to explain the wildlife and plants in this wildscape.
The Lower Chain of Wetlands is part of the Corps’ ongoing Dallas Floodway Extension Project. It was conceived through years of collaborative planning between the city of Dallas and the Corps to more efficiently convey floodwaters through the Dallas Floodway System and thereby reduce flood elevations in the Trinity River corridor. It combines flood risk management with ecosystem restoration and recreation.
When not serving as an alternate river channel during flood stage, the chain of wetland ponds and surrounding prairie provide quality wildlife habitat with a particular focus on supporting resident and migratory birds. Texas native aquatic and grassland species from this region were selected for planting that are particularly valuable as a source of food and cover for birds. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collaborated with the Corps on the re-vegetation plan. All of the plants were raised and planted by the Corps’ Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility.
A second section of the federal project, the Upper Chain of Wetlands, is now under development just upstream and adjacent to the Cedar Crest/Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge. When complete, the two wetland chains will comprise 123 acres of emergent wetlands, 45 acres of open water and 102 acres of grasslands.
Informal trails in the Lower Chain of Wetlands are open to the public along existing maintenance roads, but vehicular traffic is prohibited. New gates under the contract will hinder illegal dumping and keep unauthorized vehicular traffic from damaging the grassland habitat. Formal hike-bike trails through the Lower Chain are planned in the future by the city of Dallas as it builds out the Trinity Forest Trails network.
About the Fort Worth District:
The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was established in 1950. The District is responsible for water resources development in two-thirds of Texas, and design and construction at military installations in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico. Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: www.swf.usace.army.mil
and SWF Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Worth-District-US-Army-Corps-of-Engineers/188083711219308