The Bois d’Arc Lake Watershed

Watershed Protection

A watershed is the land area that water flows through or under on its way to a stream, river, lake, ocean or other body of water.

Healthy watersheds help reduce erosion and act as a filter to capture sediment and pollutants before they enter water bodies. Maintaining healthy watersheds is vital for the protection of aquatic environments and water sources, including Bois d’Arc Lake.

Our watershed protection team works closely with the public, cities and partner agencies to identify and implement measures aimed at protecting and improving water quality. We also manage watersheds carefully to maintain healthy habitats for plants, fish and animals and to ensure recreational uses are not compromised.

Bois d’Arc Lake’s watershed is primarily rural, spanning two counties (Fannin and Grayson) and includes 14 towns/cities including Bonham. The lake captures runoff from 326 square miles (see map below). Its main tributaries are Bois d’Arc and Honey Grove Creeks and Lake Bonham.

Bois d’Arc Lake’s primary purposes are to provide drinking water to 1.8 million people in North Texas communities served by NTMWD and to support recreation. Protecting water quality is important to preserving both of these uses, especially as changes in land use and development occur in the watershed and recreational activities on the lake increase over time.

Watershed Planning

To protect and improve the lake’s water quality, NTMWD is coordinating an effort to create a voluntary, non-regulatory Bois d’Arc Lake Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). Forty-four similar plans have been developed for watersheds across Texas. This plan will consider threats to the lake’s water quality and help decrease potential water pollutants in the watershed.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution in the nation’s waters to restore and maintain water quality. Texas does this by measuring the maximum amount of a pollutant a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, and then implementing measures to reduce pollutants. One common approach to reducing pollutants is to create and implement a WPP, which is a comprehensive plan that addresses potential pollutants in a watershed. Creating a WPP is a voluntary and locally-driven approach to addressing potential water quality impairments. Recommendations contained in a WPP are developed through a partnership with stakeholders who live and work in the watershed.

NTMWD has also created a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) to protect the lake’s drinking water while allowing for recreation. This plan will work together with the WPP to protect water quality. The primary differences are that the WPP is a voluntary, non-regulatory plan involving everyone in the lake’s watershed, while the SMP’s purpose is to regulate uses of NTMWD property along the shoreline by current and future private property owners.

Bois d’Arc Lake’s watershed protection plan will:
  • Identify current and potential sources of water pollution
  • Encourage a voluntary and community-driven Watershed Partnership to protect the lake’s water quality
  • Provide management measures and recommendations that protect or improve water quality
  • Allow for the pursuit of federal nonpoint source program grant funds and other financial and technical assistance programs to support implementation of the plan
The plan’s development – three steps:
  • Step 1: Collect and compile information to characterize the watershed based on water quality, stream flow land uses and land cover

Status: NTMWD and the Texas A&M AgriLife Texas Water Resources Institute completed the Bois d’Arc Lake watershed characterization in 2020.

  • Step 2: Conduct multiple community meetings where local stakeholders will have an opportunity to contribute to the plan. This input will help identify potential sources of pollution and voluntary implementation strategies for protecting water quality.

Status: Summer 2021 to Spring 2022.

  • Step 3: Begin to implement management strategies recommended in the plan. After the US Environmental Protection Agency accepts the WPP, the voluntary management measures will be eligible for federal funding through the state’s 319(h) nonpoint source program.

Status: Summer 2022 (Anticipated).

Local Input

Stakeholder meetings are open to the public, including anyone who has an interest in the Bois d’Arc Lake Watershed and protecting water quality. While anyone can participate in these meetings and the plan development process, a Steering Committee comprised of local stakeholders typically serves as a decision-making body by affirming the consensus of the stakeholders involved in the process.

The Bois d’Arc Lake WPP Steering Committee includes:

  • Landowners
  • Business and industry representatives
  • Agriculture producers
  • Educators
  • County and city officials
  • Citizen groups
  • Environmental and conservation groups
  • Soil and water conservation districts

Watershed Planning Meetings

The initial kickoff meeting for the Bois d’Arc Lake watershed protection plan took place at Bonham City Hall on June 9, 2021. The meetings are wrapping up with next month’s December meeting.

Want More Info on the Watershed Protection Plan & Watershed Partnership? Contact:

David Cowan, NTMWD Watershed Manager