Mitigation & Watershed Protection

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Mitigation & Watershed Protection

Ladonia Fossil Park

Mitigation & Watershed Areas

The North Sulphur River continues to experience extensive erosion problems that Lake Ralph Hall 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.

An image of the eroded North Sulphur River

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 help mitigate erosion, provide new water and food resources for animals and provide better soil and natural resources.

As part of the lake project, 5.7 miles of the former North Sulphur River are also being restored. In spring of 2024, contractors began to dig the pathway for each of five main, new tributaries below the future dam. Each stream is being built with sufficient bends and various other structural elements (including woody riffles) to slow the flow of water and protect against erosion while improving the local habitat. Woody riffles are made up of logs laid across a stream bottom in a pattern that naturally slows the water. Riffles will be placed every 250 ft along the new streams to provide stability, stop erosion and create more habitat by raising the water table and supporting bugs, plants and ecology in general.

After they’ve created the streams’ structure, team members are placing native grass/biodegradable matting along the bank and planting trees around the new streams. They are also planting native grass across the entire 400 acres planned for mitigation.

Photos of Work on Mitigation and Watershed Areas: