Environmental Concerns Cited at New Dallas Course

By | September 5th, 2014

A contractor’s tactics for obtaining water to use for dust control while building Trinity Forest Golf Course stood in direct contrast with environmental pledges made by the city in promoting the project, which is being built on a landfill site within the boundaries of America’s largest urban forest. The practice, which drained a nearby pond, destroyed a beaver habitat and killed much of the fish population, has been stopped, but conservationists are now watching the project much more closely.

A report by WFAA-TV ABC 8 in Dallas-Fort Worth brought to light the dubious means by which the construction company building the new Trinity Forest Golf Course in Dallas had been obtaining water for the project. 

The course, located six miles south of downtown Dallas and scheduled to begin hosting the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic in 2019, has been designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and will sit on a landfill site within the boundaries of the Great Trinity Forest, America’s largest urban forest.
When first proposed, the city pledged to protect the forest and the nature around it. Now, city officials are rushing to repair what environmentalists say developers were destroying.
Construction crews were seen siphoning water out of a fish pond and beaver habitat and using it for dust control on the golf course, WFAA reported. The pond was all but drained, killing most of the fish and destroying the beaver habitat.
Water trucks were supposed to have been hooked up to a city hydrant located just on the edge of the golf course, WFAA reported. But the city has to pay for the water, and conservationist Hal Barker said in an interview with WFAA that the construction crew was cutting corners to save money, needlessly damaging the environment in the process.
Once the city was notified, it acted immediately to stop the practice and has made sure the contractor is taking steps to refill the pond and attempt to repair the damage, WFAA reported.
But Barker told the TV station that he wasn’t convinced that the city’s apparent shock was entirely genuine. “They say it was a big mistake and [that they] should have been more sensitive to the environment,” he said of the city’s response. “[But that’s only] because they got caught.”
The city’s agreement with the constructing contractors, Barker pointed out to WFAA, includes a clause saying it was okay for “construction water for the project to be obtained from site ponds, as approved by the engineer.”
Without a dedicated environmentalist put in charge of watching the project to ensure protection of the Great Trinity Forest, Barker told WFAA, he suspects the city of Dallas will make even more mistakes developing the course, some of which he fears will be beyond repair.

2 Responses to Environmental Concerns Cited at New Dallas Course

  1. Joseph Hubbard, CGCS says:

    That is why you either have a consultant involved or the golf course superintendent as representative to watchdog the agreements. Superintendents are some of the most knowledgeable and hardened environmentalists in the world…because we live it everyday in the field unlike many experts from a cubicle.

  2. Hal Barker says:

    The draining of the pond is but one of several issues related to the new golf course. To supply topsoil for the course, and to save money, the City is currently excavating a 20 acre wetland and migratory bird habitat to supply dirt. The Big Dig as it is called, a 24 foot deep strip-mine, is right next to one of the most toxic dumps in Dallas. The Dig is within 100 feet connected by very porous soil subject to seepage, so the new lake formed by the strip-mine could have environmental issues. The City forgot to obtain permits for the Big Dig and the removal of hundreds of trees in the wetland area, but work continues. Originally, the topsoil was to be obtained offsite, but there may have been financial issues that forced the City and the developer to strip-mine without permits.

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