(ARLINGTON, TEXAS) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) October, 2022, making it eligible for funding. The plan was created to restore water quality in Joe Pool Lake tributaries, which helps protect Joe Pool Lake’s water quality.
The WPP originated after water quality results from two Joe Pool Lake tributaries, Walnut Creek and portions of Mountain Creek, showed concerning levels of contamination. Following a 2016 Texas Integrated Report, Mountain Creek is no longer listed for concerns. As of 2018, Walnut Creek has been delisted for bacteria.
“Protecting the long-term quality of water in Joe Pool Lake will take participation by all communities where storm flows enter the lake,” said Howard Redfearn, city of Mansfield Environmental Manager. “This plan will lay the groundwork for those communities to collaborate on that goal.”
“Successful implementation of a watershed protection plan is incumbent upon employing a variety of management strategies,” added city of Grand Prairie Director of Public Health and Environmental Quality, Cindy Mendez. “Having the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Protection Plan approved by the EPA and eligible for funding will allow for the stakeholders to pursue those management strategies.”
In 2018, the cities of Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Midlothian, in conjunction with the Trinity River Authority of Texas and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, formed the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Protection Partnership, and they began developing the watershed protection plan.
Heather Firn, TRA watershed coordinator, said the plan would not be successful without input from local citizens, business representatives, city and county personnel, local resource agency staff and many other stakeholders.
With the plan approved, local planning partners now have wider access to state and federal assistance programs that will encourage sustainable development as the watershed continues to urbanize.
Firn noted that cornerstones of the effort include protection and restoration of the riparian zones around creeks, which act as natural filtration systems, as well as encouraging the use of permeable materials in the construction of driveways, parking lots and sidewalks.
“Replacing asphalt and concrete with permeable construction materials reduces stormwater runoff by filtering pollutants into the soil before they can reach our waterways,” Firn said.
Joe Pool Lake has a total drainage area of 304-square miles across major population communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Drinking water from Joe Pool Lake is utilized by more than 40,000 people in the city of Midlothian and the communities of Venus, Rockett, Mountain Peak, Sardis, and parts of southern Grand Prairie. In addition to this existing use by the city of Midlothian, Joe Pool Lake is expected to be further developed by the cities of Cedar Hill, Duncanville, and Grand Prairie for their own municipal use.