Environmental Benefits of Lake Ralph Hall
The North Sulphur River in Fannin County is an excellent location for the future Lake Ralph Hall. There are limited wetlands, naturally deep channels and no gas or oil wells at the site. The river in this area is also experiencing extensive erosion problems that the project will help address. The local ecosystem will greatly benefit from the creation of the lake itself and associated environmental mitigation.
In the 1920s, the natural path of the North Sulphur River was straightened and channeled to help protect farmland along the river near the City of Ladonia from periodic flooding. The channel was originally created to be 16-20 ft. wide and 10 ft. deep. Since that time, massive erosion has expanded the channel to 350 ft. wide and over 60 ft. deep--nearly ten times its original size. Original wetlands, quality habitat and multiple state highway bridges have been destroyed in the process. Today, erosion continues to damage not only the North Sulphur, but also its connected tributaries.
There is no evidence that the channel is in the process of becoming stabilized or recovering. Lake Ralph Hall provides an opportunity to turn this environmental problem into a healthy asset – providing a rich aquatic and terrestrial habitat in Fannin County and water for future Texans. Once operational, the new lake will mitigate erosion, provide new water and food resources for animals and provide better soil and natural resources.
As part of the lake project, a portion of the original North Sulphur River will also be restored to its beautiful and natural meandering path. Plans also include a controlled release of water from the future Lake Ralph Hall that will help revitalize the river below its Leon Hurse Dam.
Relocation of Ladonia Fossil Park
The Ladonia Fossil Park currently located on Highway 34 a few miles north of Ladonia on the North Sulphur River. While the future Lake Ralph Hall will cover this current park location, the park will be relocated to another site downstream of the reservoir.
UTRWD recognizes the importance of the fossil park to local community and visitors alike, and is coordinating with local and county leaders in selecting another spot where fossil hunters can continue to easily access the river bottom. During construction, a temporary access point to the North Sulphur River will be constructed on the east side of FM 2990 on the north side of the North Sulphur River.