May is American Wetlands Month and a great time to highlight how important wetlands are to supporting reliable water supplies in our fast-growing North Texas region. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is the wholesale drinking water provider for nearly 80 communities in our area. Our East Fork Water Reuse project near Seagoville is one of the largest man-made wetland projects in the country constructed for water supply.
Today, water from the East Fork of the Trinity River is pumped into the wetlands and it flows through the approximately 2,000 acre site. The water is naturally filtered by plants and sunlight which removes sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus before it is pumped north through a pipeline to Lavon Lake where it is eventually treated to drinking water standards and supplied to NTMWD communities. In 2017, the wetlands provided an estimated 13 billion gallons for reuse by NTMWD.
The water district is currently building a new pump station along the Trinity River near Rosser connected to a new 17-mile pipeline to deliver more water to wetlands for natural filtration. The pipeline and pump station project will be completed this summer and could provide up to approximately 100 million gallons of water from the Trinity to the wetlands each day.
In addition to the wetlands being a water source for NTMWD, it also provides educational opportunities for schools and organizations across North Texas. The wetlands are home to the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center – a unique public-private partnership between NTMWD and the Rosewood Corporation to provide education, research and conservation opportunities related to water reuse and supply, wetland systems and wildlife habitat. Many native and migratory species of wildlife including American Bald Eagles thrive at the wetlands.
The Wetland Center partners with regional school districts, wildlife and conservation organizations to offer programs for middle and high school students. Currently, 45% of the students participating are from schools in our Member Cities and we’re working to increase awareness and participation. Programs focus on the water cycle, wetland and river ecosystems, bird migrations and water conservation. These field study programs expose students to possible careers in wildlife management, wetland ecology and conservation