2019 Corporate Day of Service

The Conservancy would like to thank all our participants in the 2019 Corporate Day of Service presented by Southwest Airlines. In partnership with the City of Dallas, we identified the Lower Chain of Wetlands as the area of focus for this years’ service project.

Together we made a difference:
• 250 native grasses and flowers planted
• 6 oz seed balls made
• 2 lbs of seed balls dispersed along the trails
• 3,020 lbs trash collected
• 30 nesting boxes painted

Special thank you to our sponsors, partners and in-kind donors for this event:

 

Adam Ozier, Environmental Coordinator with Dallas Water Utilities explains the importance of these wetland systems to the health of the ecosystem and safety of the urban areas surrounding the Trinity River.

The city of Dallas has a long history of catastrophic flooding, leading to the loss of lives, homes, and vital infrastructure. To combat this, Dallas has been pro-actively taking steps to mitigate the devastating effects of floods by developing countermeasures within the Dallas Floodway Extension. One such project has been the creation of wetlands along a section of the Trinity River south of downtown, which previously had been the site of an illegal dumping ground and an abandoned golf course.

Construction by the Corps of Engineers on the six individual wetland cells comprising the Lower Chain of Wetlands began in 2004, and was completed in 2009. Construction of three additional upstream wetland cells began in 2013, and was completed in 2018; these are known as the Upper Chain of Wetlands. Vegetation establishment of the cells began immediately after excavation of each cell was completed. This monumental effort was led by the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, and includes both aquatic plantings within the wetland cells as well as terrestrial re-vegetation of the surrounding lands.

Together, this continuous chain of wetlands spans 4 miles, covers nearly 300 acres, and features open waters, emergent wetlands, and native grasslands. These wetland areas are designed to sequester and utilize high volumes of nutrients gained from the re-captured waters produced by the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant in order to support a strong diversity of plant and animal communities. To date, this includes over 40 species of native aquatic plants, 15 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 6 species of amphibians, 52 species of macro-invertebrates, and over 130 different bird species.

The benefits of wetland ecosystems are immeasurable. The City of Dallas wetlands provide flood protection by holding vast amounts of water during rain and overbanking events, acting like a sponge, before releasing it downstream slowly. By capturing and re-directing flood waters from upstream urban areas of the city, overall floodwater levels in Dallas are reduced by 4 feet, thus minimizing costly damage and negative impacts to residential and business districts. Wetlands also provide a natural form of erosion control, as the associated vegetation helps stabilize soils within the surrounding landscape and adjacent river banks. Additionally, water flowing through wetland systems is naturally ‘scrubbed’ by the aquatic vegetation, allowing pollutants to disperse and settle to the bottom, accumulating in the soil before safe uptake by the plants. At the same time, a constant supply of nutrient-rich water is provided to nourish the soils, the associated vegetation, and the wildlife that rely on them. The wetlands create valuable habitat for waterfowl, migrating birds, shore birds, beavers, otters, turtles, fish, butterflies, insects, and many more. By enhancing biodiversity in this way, many new recreational opportunities are created for the citizens of Dallas. These low-impact activities include hiking, biking, fishing, bird watching, wildlife observation, wildflower viewing, nature photography, and science-based learning opportunities by serving as an outdoor classroom.

During Corporate Day of Service 2019, volunteers can be proud that their actions and contributions will advance the vision of a cleaner, greener Dallas. The many helping hands that will come together on April 5th have a powerful ripple effect, enhancing the quality of life for everyone. Our planet’s delicate ecosystem web consists of a million tiny threads, and we thank you for helping to keep it connected!