Residents in a south Denton neighborhood want answers after a pond was destroyed behind in their homes.
Crews working on a construction project began slowly draining the pond over several days, and by Tuesday morning it was empty. Residents living in the area said they were given no notice that the draining or even the construction would take place.
“We heard talks many, many years ago that they were going to put some kind of road through here, but didn’t know how it was going to happen,” said Mike Baca who hadn’t heard any more talk of work in nearly 10 years.
Many said that even in any talk of using the green space they never heard mention of the pond being touched, but they were surprised to find that was the case.
"They woke up to the pond being almost completely drained; had no idea it was coming,” said Kath Beck.
Beck alerted NBC5 to the situation after a friend living in the neighborhood showed her what was going on. She said she was immediately concerned about the ecological impact of the pond disappearing.
That impact was easy to see Tuesday as hundreds of dead fish and clams lined the mud hole where the pond sat. Also dozens of turtles wandered the neighborhood looking for a new home as residents grabbed them to attempt to relocate to another pond.
"We see all kinds of animals out here and they're all going to be homeless today,” said Baca who took in two turtles himself.
The Texas Department of Transportation said the project is part of one they are working on; an effort to extend FM 2499 into Denton. A representative for TxDOT’s Dallas office said currently the Upper Trinity Regional Water District is working on utility lines for the project in that space.
Upper Trinity confirmed that they are working in the spot, but both they and TxDOT said draining the pond was not in the scope of that work.
Leaders at Upper Trinity said they are launching an investigation to figure out why the pond was drained and hopefully provide some answers.
The pond sat behind San Loenzo Drive and Penina Trail near the Denton and Corinth boarder; part of a greenbelt behind the neighborhood and neighbors said former farm land.
"It's going to kill the value of our houses so none of us are happy about it,” said Baca.
Many neighbors said they also fished the pond and used it for recreation. They said the worst part is, even with answers, they don’t know what can be done to fix the damage.
"It was really too late and I mean now, what can we do? I don't really know,” said Beck.