Nature

Visit East Fork Wetland Project: Water, Wildlife, and Family Legacy

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address

 

 

However, not long after Sands’ death, the need for an additional water source brought the idea back to life. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) coincidentally contracted with the same environmental design company used by Sands years earlier. And the land? An NTMWD board member knew just the right fit—the land along the east fork of the Trinity, owned by the Rosewood Corporation. The new design, including the pumping system, meant the levees would not need to be breached.

Visit East Fork Wetland Project: Water, Wildlife, and Family Legacy

Photo: John Spaulding. Look up! Skies filled with migrating snow geese are a welcome and healthy sign.

Today, the Wetland Project includes over 20 species and 1.6 million individual plants, carefully selected to clean the water. More than 260 species of birds and a variety of wildlife have come to call this area home, or at least a stop on their migratory journey.

As we come upon one of the recently drained cells of water, a flock of snow geese searches for tasty morsels in the rich residue of silt and mud. While my bird-watching friends take photos of the feeding birds, I turn to the other side of the levee, where ice has formed over part of the adjacent cells. In the distance, a long-tailed critter skates across the pond. Perhaps it’s a nutria, I think, but snap a photo anyway. Later, Linda Dunn, the Wetland Center’s Education Manager, says, “What you’ve captured in that picture is a river otter; in the seven years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen one. We knew they were here—and that’s a sign of a healthy wetland—but they’re very camera shy.”

Visit East Fork Wetland Project: Water, Wildlife, and Family Legacy

Photo: John Spaulding. A rarely seen river otter skitters across the ice.

When it comes to wildlife watching, anyone can view the star attraction—a nesting pair of bald eagles who have made their 200-lb. nest in one of the outstretched arms of an electric transmission tower. For the safety of the eagles, and reliable power delivery, four years ago, the power company moved the entire cross arm to a new nearby tower. This has resulted in several eggs and fledglings, with the parents returning year after year. Eagle fans can view the celebrity pair thanks to a solar-powered Live Eagle Camera (when the weather and technology cooperate) on the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center’s website. For more impatient eagle-watchers, a YouTube link provides a view of a previous hatching.

Visit East Fork Wetland Project: Water, Wildlife, and Family Legacy
Photo: John Spaulding. Just above the top of the electric tower arm, eagle parents watch over their nest.