Farm and Ranch
Preserving, protecting, and re-establishing wetlands: A vital strategy for North Texas
By Galen Roberts, Assistant Deputy of Water Resources at North Texas Municipal Water District
Jun 7, 2024
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National Wetlands Month is a time to celebrate the invaluable role wetlands play in preserving our environment and securing our water resources for generations to come. Wetlands are some of the most valuable yet least understood of all natural resources. They provide habitats for diverse plant and animal species, clean and replenish water supplies, and store floodwaters reducing the risk of costly property damage and loss of life. Wetlands also provide recreational
opportunities, aesthetic benefits, and sites for research and education. Without wetlands, water quality will decline, water supplies will be less reliable, fish and bird populations will suffer, and floods will become more frequent and severe.

In North Texas, where water resources are precious and in high demand, developing, preserving, and restoring wetlands are vital for ensuring a sustainable future. By 2070, conservation and water reuse initiatives are expected to contribute around 30% of the regionís water supply. Water reuse involves capturing and treating wastewater or stormwater for purposes such as drinking water, industrial use, groundwater replenishment, and watershed restoration. This approach complements traditional water sources and promotes long-term sustainability.

Manmade wetlands offer similar benefits as their naturally occurring counterparts and are a cost-effective solution for water reuse and quality improvement. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) actively participates in creating manmade wetlands, such as the 2,000-acre East Fork Water Reuse Project, one of the largest in the U.S. This wetland acts as a large-scale water recycling project, filtering reused water naturally before it is reintegrated and stored for future treatment and use by NTMWD.

Located within NTMWDís East Fork wetland project, the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center is a public-private partnership between the NTMWD and The Rosewood Corporation. Although the primary function of these wetlands are water reuse and supply, the JBSWC further leverages the benefits of the wetlands by providing educational programs, research opportunities,
and awareness initiatives related to water reuse and supply, wetland systems, and wildlife conservation. The commitment of both organizations to conserving and restoring wetlands in North Texas has garnered prestigious accolades, including the Texas Leopold Conservation Award that recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.
Developing, preserving and restoring wetlands is essential for North Texas. Wetlands provide unique benefits, including natural and cost-effective solutions for water purification and reuse, flood protection, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat.

NTMWD recognizes the value of these natural systems and leverages their benefits by constructing wetlands for water supply purposes. By valuing these natural resources, we safeguard our environment, improve water
quality, and create a legacy for future generations.

About NTMWD

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) was created in 1951 as a special district of the state. Today,
NTMWD is a regional wholesale provider of water, wastewater, and solid waste disposal services with a service territory covering 2,200 square miles. NTMWD serves 2.2 million people with drinking water, 1.5 million with wastewater collection and treatment, and 966,000 with solid waste management services. For more information visit
https://www.ntmwd.com/.