Following an informational meeting last Monday, For The Love of the Lake volunteer BJ Ellis reports some of the ways that wildlife as well as us humans in the neighborhood will be affected by the White Rock Lake Spillway project. Looks like we’re in for some growing pains before we see a final product:

Stinky, trashy shoreline mud will be the biggest environmental effect humans are likely to notice when lake levels are lowered during certain construction phases.

This will be an excellent opportunity for some real White Rock Lake shoreline sprucing up and a chance to plant more aquatic vegetation to provide food for the fish in the lake.
    On the down side, fish kills could occur as lake levels drop if oxygen levels are inadequate to support aquatic life. Construction contractors are expected to give Texas Parks and Wildlife a 30-day notice before lowering the lake, and hopefully they will not lower lake levels during fish spawning times.
    Traffic along Garland Road will be affected as well as closed hike and bike trails near the spillway. The Winsted Road parking lot will be closed and used as a construction staging area during the estimated 15-to-17-month project.     
      Dallas City Council granted approval in August to RebCon Inc and construction is expected to begin any day now at the White Rock Spillway to redesign.
   A major renovation and re-design is set to begin on the White Rock Lake Spillway after heavy rains in 2006 caused extensive damage to retaining walls at the spillway. Many of the spillway structures will be repaired or replaced.
     During construction, lake levels will be lowered as a safety measure for workers in the spillway area. This could affect fish, if oxygen levels are inadequate to support them. Construction crews will be required to give a 30-day notice on lake lowering. There is also concern about the water supply to White Rock Creek getting cut off as a result of the lake lowering.
       Traffic, of course, will be affected. The Winsted Road parking lot will be closed to the public and used as a construction staging area. Certain trails used for jogging, walking and cycling will be closed to the public. Major road races such as the White Rock Marathon will be definitely be affected and need route changes. Check for updates or contact Cassia Sanchez at 214.671.9559 for more information, or call 972-622-SAVE.

—BJ Ellis

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