The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Environmental Stewardship Program provides $1.6 million to fund efforts such as restoring wetlands, planting and tracking trees, and educating the private sector about environmental stewardship. Federal regulations encourage transportation planners to consider the effects of the long-range transportation plan on the natural environment. The $1.6 million is funded by Regional Toll Revenue funds.
The following projects are being funded through the Environmental Stewardship Program.
This project in Dallas will provide the public access to wetlands, other aquatic features, and a boardwalk at the original site of the Trinity River, which was re-routed in the 1930s to prevent flooding in downtown Dallas. Terraced wetlands will be created to filter stormwater. Natural wetlands will be restored adjacent to the river. The area will create a publicly available recreation site near downtown Dallas. The location also is being studied as a possible site for a station for a high-speed rail route from Dallas to Houston. The Environmental Stewardship Program will provide $350,000 for engineering services to support the water gardens project.
Fort Worth Constructed Wetlands
The city of Fort Worth will identify a location for constructed wetlands that could reduce the environmental effect of transportation infrastructure. The Environmental Stewardship Program will provide $200,000 to help fund an engineering study to assess design alternatives for the constructed wetlands.
Fort Worth Tree Plantings
The temperature in cities can be hotter than neighboring rural areas because of factors associated with urbanization, such as development, traffic, altered hydrology, additional concrete/asphalt and impermeable surfaces, and population density. These higher temperatures are known as the urban heat island effect. In Dallas/Fort Worth, 4.32º F was the average difference in July high temperatures between urban and rural areas from 2001 to 2011, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. Trees can help reduce urban temperatures by providing shade and by evapotranspiration, a process where water emitted into the air by leaves is cooled via evaporation.
To help the city of Fort Worth address the urban heat island effect, the Environmental Stewardship Program is providing $200,000 for the city to purchase trees, shrubs, grasses, and groundcover. These landscaping elements will be planted and installed in medians on Lancaster Avenue near the Hemphill-Lamar Connector, a street and pedestrian tunnel that travels underneath Interstate 30 to connect the city's south side with downtown.
Dallas Tree Plantings
The Texas Trees Foundation's NeighborWoods and Cool Schools programs worked with community leaders and homeowners to plant trees in neighborhoods across Dallas that would benefit from additional tree cover.
The Environmental Stewardship Program helped the Texas Trees Foundation to purchase the trees, which were initially planted in Dallas at the Richland College campus, where the foundation has a tree farm. Texas Trees Foundation maintained the trees until they reached a viable diameter; then, the foundation work with the neighborhoods and schools to plant the trees. Homeowners will be responsible for maintaining the trees. As viable trees were moved out of the tree farm, new, smaller trees were purchased and planted at the tree farm. This created a revolving fund of $300,000 of trees.
Texas Trees Foundation will monitor the trees for at least two years after they were planted and will upload information on the trees' progress into a publicly available database the Foundation developed. These tracking efforts were funded by almost $100,000 from the Environmental Stewardship Program.
Members of the private sector can help retain and improve regional quality of life by engaging in stewardship of the natural environment. The Environmental Stewardship Program will dedicate $100,000 to educate members of the private sector about ways they can enhance and preserve the natural environment and address impacts created by infrastructure projects.
NCTCOG conducted or created the following.
- A workshop to educate builders and developers about ways to reduce their impacts on streams and wetlands and how to incorporate green infrastructure solutions
- Stakeholder and community outreach efforts to encourage stewardship in the Denton Greenbelt area, where an existing road will be expanded to increase capacity
- A webinar to inform mitigation bankers who create wetland and stream credits about the demand for credits potentially generated by projects in the region's long-range transportation plan
- A networking event to bring together potential donors and non-profit groups whose work helps mitigate the environmental effects of transportation projects
- The Permittee Responsible Mitigation Database, which links landowners whose streams or wetlands need rehabilitation or restoration with developers or entities needing to rehabilitate or restore streams or wetlands to offset construction impacts elsewhere
Transportation-Sector Demand for Mitigation Credits: A Webinar for Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bankers and Consultants
March 26, 2018
NCTCOG, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and Texas A&M Transportation Institute hosted a webinar for mitigation bankers and consultants across the United States. Carlos Swonke, director of TxDOT's Environmental Affairs Division, provided opening comments. The webinar educates bankers and consultants about the potential demand for wetland and stream mitigation credits in the region. The webinar presents updated supply and demand data sourced from the US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) mitigation banking database, the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS). USACE Regulatory Division staff from the Fort Worth District responded to questions.
Development Impact Minimization Workshop
September 6, 2017
The USACE presented on the Regulatory Program, including: an overview of the Section 404 and Section 10 permitting program with an emphasis on statutory authorities, jurisdiction, and key elements of the permit evaluation process such as avoidance and minimization of impacts to waters of the United States. A second presentation focused on Compensatory Mitigation, Mitigation Banking, Permittee Responsible Mitigation, and the Fort Worth District Stream Mitigation Method. TPWD presented on important considerations related to wildlife and aquatic resources when developing.
Denton Greenbelt Outreach
The Permittee Responsible Mitigation Database allows permit applicants to connect with willing landowners to conduct permittee responsible mitigation for impacts related to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The database serves the area of the Fort Worth District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Landowners may upload details about streams or wetlands on their property that could benefit from restoration. Permit applicants may view landowner entries and enter details about their own mitigation needs. Finally, database users connect to meet each other’s needs and restore ecosystems. The database is the creation and resource solely of NCTCOG. Authorization to use Permittee Responsible Mitigation is at the discretion of, and upon approval by, the US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Division.