Rowlett Creek Watershed Characterization

Announcement:  Rowlett Creek Watershed Characterization Project Stakeholder Meeting #2

January 26th, 2022 2:00-4:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Registration HERE


2:00 Welcome/Introductions
2:05 Rowlett Creek Characterization project update
2:20 Stakeholder Participation: Rowlett Creek Watershed Partnership
2:40 Steering Committee & Ground Rules
2:45 Nominations
2:55 Discussion & Next Steps
3:00  Introduction to modeling and  load duration curves in Watershed Planning
4:00 Adjourn


Recording of Meeting

Previous meetings:

Kickoff Meeting 05/20/2021:


Background Information:

Rowlett Creek flows through the DFW Metroplex cities of Plano, Garland, Mckinney, Frisco, Allen, and Murphy, which constitute a highly urbanized watershed. The creek also flows to a major water supply reservoir owned by the City of Dallas. The majority of the creek is within the city limits of Plano. The City of Plano is the ninth most populous city in the state of Texas (2010 United States Census). Land uses in Plano consist of industrial (6%), commercial (23%), residential (66%), and agricultural (7%).

Rowlett Creek was placed on the Texas 303(d) list in 2014 for bacteria. Rowlett Creek is also listed as having a concern for nitrate. The water quality problems to be addressed are the bacteria impairment and concern for nitrate, as well as any other parameters stakeholders select. This project is part of the TCEQ’s 303d Visioning Project in the Upper Trinity River Basin.

Rowlett Creek, Segment 0820B and its tributaries make up a significant portion of the East Fork Trinity River drainage and Lake Ray Hubbard watershed. With continuous growth in the region, Rowlett creek is exposed to water quality and habitat degradation caused from human activity, urban runoff, and erosion.

Spring Creek and its tributaries, Pittman Creek and Prairie Creek, make up a significant portion of the Rowlett Creek basin that drains in to the East Fork Trinity River and Lake Ray Hubbard. The City of Plano makes up the head waters of the Spring Creek basin, eventually flowing downstream through other Texas cities including Richardson and Garland. The land surfaces making up the Spring Creek drainage in Plano are mostly impervious, including roadways, alleys, buildings, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. Due to the lack of pervious surfaces and natural buffers in this drainage, over 90% of the precipitation that falls here flows to the stream, rather than being absorbed by the historical natural prairie habitat. Because of this Spring Creek is exposed to water quality and habitat degradation caused from human activity, urban runoff, and erosion.

The project will benefit from cooperation with the North Texas Municipal Water District that developed the Lake Lavon WPP and the City of Dallas who owns Lake Ray Hubbard. It is expected that the expertise of these two entities and the other cities in the watershed will be an asset to the project and coordination with all these groups will be an essential part of the project.


General Project Description:

This project will address water quality impairments and concerns in Rowlett Creek by characterizing water quality conditions across the watershed to understand the sources and locations of pollutant loadings. Water quality monitoring supplemented by existing water quality data will be the basis for the watershed characterization. Analysis of the data will provide information on the sources and causes of impairments and concerns. It will also allow us to quantify pollutant loadings that will assist in the development of a management plan for the watershed in the future.

Stormwater quality samples will be collected. Data collected will include flow, E. coli, total suspended solids (TSS), nitrate, phosphorus, pH, electric conductivity, and temperature. Data will be collected at outlets of the main subwatersheds of Rowlett Creek. Additional data will be acquired and evaluated. The data will be used to assess the current conditions and document water quality trends of Rowlett Creek. An appropriate model, e.g. The Spatially Explicit Load Enrichment Calculation Tool (SELECT) and/or Load Duration Curves (LDC), will be used for bacterial source identification and prioritization of areas of concern in the watershed in order to better identify best management practices. A watershed model (e.g. SWAT) will be used to estimate streamflows, nitrate, phosphorus, and sediment loads. Data from the watershed model could be used to improve the bacteria source model and vice versa. Existing and collected data will be used to calibrate and validate the watershed model for streamflow, sediments, nitrate, and phosphate. This will address Element A of EPA’s nine elements for WBPs.

Models will be used to explore best management practice (BMP) placement and estimate the load reductions in pollutants when BMPS are implemented. This modeling will initiate Elements B and C of the nine elements for WBPs.

Stakeholders in the watershed will be engaged to solicit their input on the plan’s goals and objectives. Key stakeholder groups or individuals were identified (see letters of support) and their input will be crucial to the development of the WPP’s success. Public meetings will be held to determine watershed goals and to identify acceptable methods to address water quality. Education programs such as Texas Watershed Steward and Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystems trainings will be delivered in the watershed when feasible. These education and outreach activities will initiate Element E of the nine key elements for WBPs.

The results of this project (modeling and stakeholder input) will be the basis of a future WPP. Cities, water districts, and council of governments in the watershed have expressed a strong desire to develop a WPP to improve water quality and restore the stream segment. The city of Plano, in which a majority of the watershed is located, is a major collaborator on this project, and as a result, the WPP will be drawing on local expertise and knowledge in the characterization and development phases of the project. This project will provide data that will allow for the development of the full WPP.

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