Dallas is making plans to dredge White Rock Lake to remove 22 years of sediment that’s been deposited in the lake from White Rock Creek.
A dredging feasibility study presented at a virtual meeting on the plan Thursday night shows more than half of the lake has a depth of fewer than ten feet. The study found about 200 million cubic yards of sediment need to be removed.
The East Dallas lake is especially popular for people with kayaks and sailboats in the summertime, but parts of the lake are too shallow for paddles or keels.
“We need to keep it usable for recreation,” said White Rock neighbor Becky Rader, a former Dallas Park Board Member.
Rader grew up near the lake and she notices the difference with an extra 200 million cubic yards of muck in the water.
She said logs in the water near Sunset Bay are actually sitting on silt, just below the surface.
Rader wants the Sunset Bay section to stay shallow for birds that like it that way, but she supports the plan for dredging the rest of the lake to keep it the Dallas attraction it has always been.
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“This is the jewel of Dallas,” Rader said.
The last dredging was done in 1998. The feasibility study says it could cost $88 million to remove the sediment that is clogging the lake.
“That means that we've got to look at how to dispose of it,” said City Council Member Paula Blackmon.
Finding the money is a major challenge but Blackmon said it could qualify for Federal Stimulus money being considered now for coronavirus recovery.
“If this project is ready to go, it does create jobs,” Blackmon said.
The city is also considering options for more frequent maintenance to keep the lake from becoming so clogged in the future.
“I think that is what we do with our households. It’s what we do with our businesses,” Blackmon said.
Neighbor Becky Rader hopes the city finds the money to better maintain the lake in the future.
“Keep dredging it out as needed instead of waiting until it gets so bad that we have to do it again,” Rader said.
More meetings are planned before any work begins on White Rock Lake dredging.