DeFillipo educates chamber on water conservation

On April 19, Director of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center John DeFillipo spoke at the Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce partnership luncheon at Fate City Hall.

The center provides education and research opportunities pertaining to water conservation, wetland systems and wildlife management, while partnering with area school districts, wildlife and conservation organizations and research institutions.

DeFillipo highlighted education programs and workshops that the center offers to fourth through 12th grade students. The programs focus on a variety of things, including wetland and river ecosystems, bird migrations and water conservation.

“The students come out and mimic what the naturalists and researchers do on site,” DeFillipo said.

This includes collecting information by observing and measuring water quality, using tools to analyze information on macroinvertebrate populations, conducting laboratory and field investigations on wildlife management and predicting the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms.

DeFillipo said the center also does research projects. In 2011, it conducted a project at Baylor University in which the group refined the hydrologic budget of a constructed wetland and assessed its effects on local groundwater.

The center also completed a research project at the University of Texas at Tyler in 2014-15.

“There we established a baseline presence and absence surveys for terrestrial and aquatic organisms,” DeFillipo said.

DeFillipo also spoke about The East Fork Wetland Project in which the center partners with the North Texas Municipal Water District and the Rosewood Corporation for conservation.

According to the center’s website, the project consists of diverting water from the East Fork of the Trinity River and polishing the water in one of the largest constructed wetlands in the country (1,840 acres).

After passage through the wetland, the water is pumped through an 84” pipeline, 43 miles north of the wetland site to Lake Lavon for storage, blending and water supply use.

It includes six major components:

  • Diversion Pump Station to take water from the East Fork of the Trinity River
  • 1,840 acre constructed wetland provides polishing treatment of the diverted East Fork water
  • Conveyance Pump Station pumps the polished water to Lake Lavon
  • Electrical substation provides power for the conveyance pump station
  •  43 miles of 84-inch diameter conveyance pipeline starting near Crandall, Texas and extending through Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin counties transfers water from the wetland to Lake Lavon

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center provides educational opportunities.

DeFillipo said partnership and stewardship are his two favorite words in regard to conservation.

“The stewardship of our natural resources is very important as our country continues to grow,” he said. “The partnerships have created sustainable solutions for our future. Our hope is that maybe a student or researcher comes up with a new solution for water.”

The center is located at 655 Martin Lane in Seagoville It is open to the public the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is also available by appointment from Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission for adults is $5. Seniors over 60 cost $4 and children 5-12 cost $3. Children four and under will be admitted for free.

Jasmine C. Johnson may be reached at