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Joe Pool Lake: Developing a Watershed Protection Plan

Trinity River Authority and stakeholders will complete a watershed characterization which will be used to develop a watershed protection plan (WPP).


Joe Pool Lake is a popular recreational destination for Dallas-Fort Worth residents, and a municipal water supply for surrounding communities. Joe Pool Lake is expected to experience further development and demand for municipal water use. Portions of Joe Pool Lake and Mountain Creek have concerns for elevated nitrate. Excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrate can cause extensive algae growth which can deplete oxygen in the water and ultimately harm aquatic organisms.

Walnut Creek, a tributary to Joe Pool Lake, does not meet State Water Quality Standards for fecal bacteria levels for recreational use. These bacteria are naturally found in the intestines of humans, livestock, wildlife, and pets. Although they are not generally disease-causing, their presence in water indicate the potential presence of disease-causing microorganisms from fecal contamination. Therefore, higher levels of fecal bacteria in water mean a higher risk to humans of contracting diseases by ingesting contaminated water during swimming, wading, or kayaking — activities, called “contact recreation,” in the state’s standards for water quality.

Two concurrent projects, led by the Trinity River Authority (TRA), are occurring to develop a watershed protection plan (WPP) with the goal of improving water quality and mitigating future impacts of rapid urbanization.

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Project Description

TRA will work with stakeholders in the Joe Pool Lake and Mountain Creek watersheds to develop a watershed characterization for these water bodies. Project activities will accomplish the following:

  • Acquire existing geospatial and monitoring data and identify any gaps in data needed for purposes of developing a WPP.
  • Conduct routine bi-monthly monitoring and supplemental monitoring under high flow conditions.
  • Analyze available data for trends and relationships between water quality data and watershed characteristics and features.
  • Coordinate public outreach and technical advisory group meetings.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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