Watershed boundaries are delineated based on the landscape, not political boundaries. Thus, it is important to coordinate management efforts across all jurisdictions in a watershed. This concept is known as the watershed approach and is the basis for most watershed planning efforts.
The Lavon Lake watershed encompasses about 492,095-acres (768 square miles) and stretches across parts of Collin, Grayson, Fannin, and Hunt counties. Five major tributaries flow into the lake; Wilson Creek, East Fork of the Trinity River, Sister Grove, Pilot Grove and Indian creeks.
In 2010, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) identified elevated levels of bacteria in Wilson Creek and the East Fork of the Trinity River. The streams were subsequently placed on the Texas 303(d) List of impaired waters because they did not meet Texas Surface Water Quality Standards for Primary Contact Recreation (swimming or wading).
Though bacteria is removed as part of the water treatment process and it does not impact treated drinking water, the NTMWD recognizes the value of protecting this important water source. In 2016, the NTMWD formed the Lavon Lake Partnership to address the impairments and to help protect water quality in the Lavon Lake watershed. The Partnership consists of NTMWD, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Texas A&M AgriLife and local stakeholders including citizens, civic organizations, businesses, municipalities, county governments, river authorities, soil and water conservation districts, agricultural committees, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal agencies.
The Partnership met multiple times in 2017 to determine sources of pollutants and how best to treat them based on land use, land cover and water quality monitoring data. The resulting Lavon Lake WPP outlines management measures designed to improve water quality in the watershed and help Wilson Creek and East Fork of the Trinity River meet water quality criterion for primary contact recreation.
EPA acceptance of the WPP late in 2017 opened the door for federal funding to implement water quality improvement projects. One such grant awarded by the TSSWCB supports a full-time Watershed Technician at the Collin County Soil and Water Conservation District. The Watershed Technician works with agriculture producers to develop and implement water quality management plans on agricultural lands in the Lavon Lake watershed.
Other grants awarded through Nonpoint Source Programs at the TSSWCB and TCEQ are being used to support water quality monitoring, development of “green” stormwater installations, workshops and the purchase of a stream hydrology demonstration trailer.
In August 2020, the Lavon Lake watershed was selected by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to receive additional watershed protection funding. It was one of two priority watersheds in Texas chosen to receive approximately $2.28 million in watershed protection projects geared towards reducing erosion and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus commonly found in fertilizer.
Implementation for the Lavon Lake WPP is ongoing. Contact our Watershed Manager to find out about updates or how you can get involved.