Frequently Asked Questions
Since the region is growing so quickly, will there be water shortages before Bois d’Arc Lake is expected to begin delivering water in 2022?
If the NTMWD service area experiences a multi-year drought that extends into 2020, it may be challenging to meet the region’s water needs. To avoid emergency drought response measures, NTMWD is considering various methods to avoid a potential dry-year shortage until Bois d’Arc Lake begins providing water. The Trinity River Main Stem Pump Station will help address some of the short-term gap in supplies.
When will reservoir construction be completed, and the lake be open for recreation?
Most of the construction on Bois d’Arc Lake is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, and the reservoir will begin to fill at that time. It could take several years for the lake to fill sufficiently for it to be used safely for recreational purposes. The exact opening is unknown at this time since a number of variables, including the weather, will determine how fast it fills.
How deep will Bois d'Arc Lake be?
On average, Bois d’Arc Lake will be 22 feet deep with a max depth of 70 feet.
What public recreational amenities does NTMWD plan to build around Bois d'Arc Lake?
NTMWD will build three public boat ramps as well as picnic areas and restrooms. One boat ramp will be located near FM 897 on the south shore of the lake. Another will be located on the lake’s north shore where it intersects with FM 1396 and the other on the south shore of FM 1396 where the road and the lake intersect.
Will Bois d'Arc Lake be stocked with fish and, if so, what kind?
Yes. NTMWD is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) to establish fisheries for preferable game fish species in selected existing ponds owned by the District. TPWD will lead the effort to stock the ponds with fish.
Current plans call for stocking Bois d’Arc Lake with largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie and catfish. The District is also planning to participate in TPWD’s ShareLunker Program. Additionally, the District has worked with TPWD to establish suitable fish habitats in the lake. These fish habitat structures will include anchored brush piles.
Property Owners and Land Acquisition
Can I buy land from NTMWD on or around Bois d’Arc Lake to build a lake house?
The North Texas Municipal Water District is not selling residential lots at the lake. Any available land for sale would be done by the current property owner. We recommend checking with licensed realtors in Fannin County or Bonham to see what may be available.
The Fannin County Appraisal District is a great resource for land research around the lake. Their website, https://www.fannincad.org, has an interactive map that shows an outline of the lake to see where a property is located in relation to the shoreline. To see the lake map, use the following steps: 1) Click the button for the Interactive map at the top of their website. 2) Once you get to the map, you will see a box on the right side of the screen that is titled, ‘Map Contents.’ 3) Scroll down until you see Bois d’Arc Lake. Check the small box next to it, and that will superimpose the lake outline on the map. 4) You can then zoom in and view and/or click on the plots.
Fannin County is in charge of the zoning around the lake and has information about it on their website: http://www.co.fannin.tx.us/page/fannin.BoisDArcLake. Near the bottom of the page, there is a blue bar titled ‘Documents and Maps.’ If you click on that bar, it will expand and provide a view of the zoning maps which will show you how the land is zoned. There is a contact name and email address/phone number on the webpage as well.
The Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) contains information regarding dock requirements and other uses of NTMWD property along the shoreline by current and future private property owners. The Shoreline Management Plan guides the use of the shoreline up to the 541-foot elevation, which is property owned by NTMWD that includes the 100-year flood level. You can contact the NTMWD lake staff at 903-640-1949 with any questions about land along the shoreline.
Are you purchasing private land for the reservoir? How are property owners being compensated?
Most public works projects require the purchase of private land. About 86 percent of the land needed for the project has already been purchased from willing sellers. NTMWD strives to work cooperatively with property owners and compensate them fairly based on market values when purchasing property or an easement. If relocation is necessary, tenants are entitled to relocation assistance. If an agreement is reached on an easement, NTMWD will send the property owner a check within 10 days of getting the easement approved. If an agreement is reached on a purchase, the title company will provide the check at closing.
Is NTMWD using eminent domain to acquire any properties?
The District’s goal is to offer a fair purchase price and come to an agreement with willing sellers. Eminent domain will only be used as a last resort. In those cases when eminent domain is used, Texas state law requires a third party appointed through a court proceeding to determine compensation.
What is the difference between acquiring a property and purchasing an easement?
If the entire property is required for the project, the land and any building on the property are purchased. An easement is a right of an individual, company or agency to use the property of another person for a specific purpose. The property owner retains ownership of the land and can use it as long as that use does not interfere with the easement rights granted to NTMWD. If the landowner sells the property at a later date, the rights and responsibilities under the easement pass unchanged to the new owner.
What happened to property taxes paid on land that NTMWD purchased?
Since 2008, NTMWD has paid annually the full property taxes on land purchased for the Bois d’Arc Lake project. To date, NTWMD has paid over $1.9 million in property taxes to Fannin County and over $20,000 to Lamar County.
In June 2017, NTMWD and Fannin County signed an agreement which formally spelled out how the District will continue to keep tax agencies whole by ensuring that the tax receipts of Fannin County and other local taxing entities are not impacted by the District’s acquisition of property for the reservoir. Per the agreement, the District will offset any such impacts until the time when land values within the County increase enough to offset impacts to tax entities.
Will property owners be allowed to have boat docks?
The District plans to create a process allowing property owners to build private boat docks on Bois d’Arc Lake where they are feasible.
The District will develop a shoreline management plan for Bois d’Arc Lake that will provide guidelines on boat docks and other construction permitted around the lake, including erosion construction requirements (including retaining walls) on both NTMWD property and other easements surrounding the lake. These guidelines are necessary to protect water quality and ensure safe future recreation activities on the lake. NTMWD’s Board of Directors authorized an agreement for a shoreline management plan at its December 20, 2018 board meeting. The plan is expected to be complete in the Spring of 2020.
Will property owners be allowed to have boat ramps?
Private, non-commercial boat ramps (as opposed to docks) will not be allowed on Bois d’Arc Lake.
Does NTMWD own the property around Bois d'Arc Lake, and will it be selling this land to private individuals after the lake is finished?
NTMWD plans to assess the amount of any surplus property around the lake in 2022—after the Bois d’Arc Lake project is completed. Any land sales would have to undergo NTMWD’s policy for surplus property. This would require authorization by the Board, which typically calls for public bidding on all properties available for sale.
Will there be significant traffic impacts during construction, and if so, when?
The NTMWD has worked closely with the Fannin County commissioners to identify the best routes for construction traffic.
Expected work includes:
-Extending FM 897 from Highway 82 north through Lannius to FM 1396. A portion of FM 1396 will be closed once the FM 897 extension is complete.
-Building a new, 1.3-mile-long bridge on FM 897 over the lake to allow for north-south access.
-Adjusting or improving Fannin County roads around the lake.
This work has begun and will continue during the dam’s construction. NTMWD is notifying local media of road closures and will post that information on this website.
The District is compensating Fannin County nearly $1.9 million over 10 years for any potential impacts of construction to county roads, and building a road maintenance facility that Fannin County will own and operate.
When will construction on roadways around the lake be completed?
Roadways that are part of the NTMWD project are scheduled for completion by fall of 2020. All roadway improvements and closures have been coordinated with the county to maintain the best access to lake areas, private properties and, most importantly, for first responders in case of emergencies.
- Will there be other noise, dust, safety or other impacts during construction?
What will happen to wildlife displaced by the Bois d'Arc Lake construction?
Bois d’Arc Lake lies within a 42-mile-long wildlife corridor along Bois d’Arc Creek, extending from State Highway 78 to the Red River. Wildlife displaced during construction of the lake will likely relocate within this corridor.
Environmental Impacts and Mitigation
What are the environmental impacts of a project of this magnitude? What will be done to mitigate them?
The federal Environmental Impact Statement for Bois d’Arc Lake led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers thoroughly studied potential environmental impacts and approved a mitigation plan to address them. For the reservoir to be built, trees and other vegetation in the future reservoir basin are being removed. To compensate, NTMWD will mitigate more than 17,000 acres of land and plant approximately 5 million trees. Additionally, the District will make nearly 70 miles of stream improvements. Once complete, this will be the largest approved mitigation project in the nation for a single permitted project.
What are the District's future plans for the Riverby Ranch site?
NTMWD purchased the 15,000-acre Riverby Ranch for mitigation projects associated with the new lake. NTMWD continues to have discussions with state and federal officials in hopes of turning over management of the property to a governmental agency whose expertise is land and natural resource management. The property will continue to serve as protected mitigation in perpetuity. Limited use recreational activities (such as hiking and bird watching) may be offered to the public provided these uses are compatible with the approved mitigation. Accomplishing this cannot happen until the US Army Corp of Engineers determines that the mitigation project is fulfilling the compensatory mitigation requirements, and the mitigation site is self-sustaining. It may take 20 or more years before these requirements are met.
Will the closed Bonham Landfill endanger the quality of water provided by Bois d’Arc Lake?
No. Nine years of testing at this site shows there will be no impact on water quality in the new water source.