BONHAM — Facilitators addressed community members Wednesday during the first meeting of Bois d’Arc Lake’s Watershed Protection Plan. Attendees ran through an agenda of six topics that outlined a path to creating a sustainable and hygienic watershed for the lake.
According to distributed materials, a watershed is “the land area that water flows through or under on its way to a stream, river, lake, ocean or other body of water.” Though the watershed for Bois d’Arc Lake is primarily rural and undeveloped, it captures runoff from an area of about 326 square miles within the Red River Basin, and several cities lie within its limits. Incorporated towns and cities include Bonham, Boyd, Dodd City, Honey Grove, Midway, Whitewright and Windom. Seven unincorporated towns also lie within the watershed.
Four water bodies, including Bois d’Arc lake, Bois d’Arc Creek, Honey Grove Creek and Lake Bonham, contribute to the watershed. Though the bacteria levels are generally within good ranges, the Bois d’Arc and Honey Grove Creek levels occasionally become elevated.
The watershed planning committee hopes to encourage education and community partnerships to reduce erosion and prevent sediment and pollutants from entering the lake over an extended period of time.
The WPP would also identify current and potential sources of water pollution, encourage a voluntary and community-driven watershed partnership to protect the lake’s water quality, identify and recommend management measures that protect and improve water quality and allow for the pursuit of federal nonpoint source program grant funds and other financial aid technical assistance programs to support implementation of the plan.
David Cowan, the watershed manager for the North Texas Municipal Water District, led the meeting in partnership with Stephanie deVilleneuve from Texas A&M University. He first outlined the steps involved in watershed planning, discussed organization for a community partnership and established some ground rules.
He first hoped to establish a partnership with the community by creating a steering committee of individuals who represent main interests.
For agricultural interests, Ronny Hart of Fannin SWCD will lead. Stuart Hall from Frontier Properties will represent business interests; Fannin County Judge Randy Moore will represent county interests; and Educator Nathan Melson will represent educators and ranchers. Albert Pardo will be the voice of landowners; Lee Ellis will speak for non-profits on behalf of the Bonham Economic Development Corporation; and Lance Capehart, the Director of Public Utilities for Bonham and Mayor Claude Caffee of Honey Grove will speak for their city’s interests respectively.
The meetings are open to other community members as well. Others at the meeting hoped to include the interests of “a young person” on the board—someone who could speak on behalf of those to inherit the land in thirty years. Discussion revolved around reaching out to high schools and local college graduates interested in environmental science to encourage them to participate on the committee.
After covering role responsibilities for the participants, Cowan turned the meeting over to deVilleneuve, who discussed the demographic data and characteristics of the watershed.
DeVilleneuve instructed attendees to think of a watershed like a bowl, where tributaries flow down into the bottom of the bowl. She then presented statistical research about the watershed to the attendees.
The group plans to use a similar process as that used for the Lavon Lake WPP in June 2017. To do so, they plan to split the planning process into a series of “chapters.” Drafts of the first two chapters had been created and distributed for approval at the first meeting. The full list of chapters include:
Chapter one: Watershed management
Chapter two: Overview of the watershed
Chapter three: Bois d’Arc Lake watershed partnership
Chapter four: Methods of analysis
Chapter five: Pollutant source assessment
Chapter six: Management measures
Chapter seven: Measures of success
Chapter eight: Project implementation
Beyond one and two, other chapters will be discussed at future meetings. The group will meet again the morning of Aug. 11 at the Derrell Hall Education Center.