By BRIAN SMITH
An estimated $16.8 million is needed to fix all what ails the Holland Lake watershed, Weatherford council members were told during a Tuesday work session.
Kelly Gillard, with consulting firm Freese and Nichols, who made the presentation, said not all suggestions need to be implemented right away, or at all. Gillard and her team began working on a study in February and worked throughout the summer gathering data.
“By doing this study, we simply wanted to give the city the vision and provide the benefits of developing a stormwater plan citywide,” Gillard said. “The issues I’ve seen here are not unlike what I’ve seen at other areas of the Metroplex.”
Director of Capital Teansportation Projects Terry Hughes said monies from the stormwater utility plan fund, which is expected to have $1 million to $1.5 million in revenue each year, could go toward such projects.Before the plan was developed last year, Hughes said there were an estimated $10 million in stormwater projects planned.
Over the years there has been residential development in the watershed itself, which has caused erosion. While walking the lake, data was collected and a detailed analysis of the lake itself was done, which found the lake half as deep, due to sediment to the tune of 12,000 cubic yards.
“The original lake was 18-feet deep and that is now down to 8 feet because of erosion and sediment over the years,” Gillard said. “We actually had problems finding the bottom of the lake.”
Many of the erosion concerns come along Holland Lake Creek and South Holland Lake Creek, Gillard said.
Where do we go from here?
A proposed solution requires a multi-tiered approach, aided by purchasing another 40 acres of flood plain to nearly triple what the city currently has. The estimated $4.1 million purchase would help protect the structures in the plan from damage, along with natural resources.
A number of channel bank and culvert/roadway improvements along Martin and Texas drives and to the creeks at Santa Fe Drive would add another $3.7 million to the cost. Catching the sediment before it reaches the lake bottom could be fixed with a stormwater retention feature. Routine trash and debris collection would also curtail future erosion.
Making 7,000 linear feet in trail improvements along the creek as well as adopting a trails master plan throughout the city is also proposed. Dredging the lake after the channel improvements would also improve water quality. Improvements to the dam and spillway, a state driven project which is also Texas Commission of Environmental Quality required, was proposed.
Improvements to the Timber Creek channel, which would involve constructing a retaining wall to reclaim the flood plain, was proposed. Protecting six homes in the Briarwood subdivision, where erosion is prevalent, could be done by constructing 500 feet of wall and realigning the channel away from the homes, according to the study.
City staff will now determine priority rankings for each of the projects by establishing criteria, a scoring process and determining weighting factors. Once that is done, public meetings, selection of improvements and how to fund the projects will be discussed.
Gillard and Hughes both told the council there are grants that can be applied for and other ways to help fund the projects.
“Holland Lake is a cherished part of the city, which is why we wanted to look at it first as a way to manage our stormwater,” Hughes said. “Studies like the one we just did on Holland Lake will be done on the other watersheds in town. We want councils to say 100 years from now that we did a great job.”