White Rock Lake Dredging on Dallas Bond Ballot

White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake | Image by Dallas Parks and Recreation

Nearly 200 projects are included in Proposition B of the Dallas bond proposal that would provide $345.2 million in taxpayer money for parks and recreation.

One of the projects involves White Rock Lake, where officials plan to complete a $20 million dredging effort. The 1,015-acre lake is about five miles northeast of downtown Dallas, and White Rock Lake Park is home to a nine-mile bike trail, the Dallas Arboretum, and the White Rock Lake Museum.

In 2020, engineering firm Freese and Nichols, Inc. prepared a feasibility study that found the City of Dallas has historically dredged the lake every 20 to 25 years to remove accumulated sediment and restore lake depth. The estimated “upfront cost” of that work is $50 to $88 million each time, “with an estimated annualized cost ranging from $3.0 to $5.3 million.”

The study showed that “this dredging approach has historically not been enough to keep up with sedimentation and maintain the lake at the minimum 8-foot depth needed for recreation.”

“Alternatives were developed for this report with the primary goal of restoring the recreational depth and performing dredging at a scale and frequency sufficient to maintain this threshold,” continued the findings.

Those recommendations include:

  • More frequent dredging at 12-year intervals to maintain lake capacity for boating.
  • A single dredging capital project to restore lake depth and annual maintenance dredging to
    remove additional accumulated sediment and maintain the lake level above the threshold capacity for boating.
  • Annual small dredging projects to restore lake depth over 13 years, followed by annual maintenance dredging to remove additional accumulated sediment and maintain the lake level above threshold capacity for boating.
  • An upfront dredging capital project to restore lake depth, followed by enhanced maintenance dredging every three years to extend the time between large dredging projects and limit impacts to recreation.

The Dallas Express reported in July that City officials contracted Dunaway, a Dallas-based civil engineering company, to review previous maintenance plans and draft an updated master plan. The City of Dallas owns, operates, and maintains White Rock Lake and White Rock Dam. Dallas Water Utilities operates and maintains White Rock Lake Park, which is operated and maintained by Dallas Park and Recreation.

Proposition B provides funding for new construction and improvements at sites across Dallas, including recreation centers, specialty parks, trails, golf centers, pedestrian bridges, playgrounds, and athletic fields.

Voters will decide on May 4 which of the City’s 10 propositions in the $1.2 billion bond package should be approved.

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