On the left, an aerial photo taken by Mark Ross after Oncor's clear-cutting. On the right, a drawing done of the Fish Hatchery ponds when they were still in use. Mark Ross

Local News

After Oncor Cuts Through the Old Fish Hatchery, Environmentalists Get an Advisory Group

Dallas, meet the OFHAWRLAC. They're here to protect this portion of White Rock Lake.

One of the questions I had after seeing the mulched earth of a portion of the Old Fish Hatchery at White Rock Lake was why no one at the city seemed to know about Oncor’s clear cutting. The utility company owns the right of way, but this was a public space just south of the lake where people could go and be among nature.

Oncor, apparently believing that the “ROW had become overgrown with rapid-growing, dense, incompatible vegetation” that “had the potential to reach heights that could interfere with electrical equipment” decided the answer to that was to eliminate the entire three-acre swath. When environmentalists saw it, they were aghast.

Now, a few of those very environmentalists will join a newly appointed advisory committee to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen without the city’s knowledge. Councilwoman Paula Blackmon, who was fast to the scene after D broke the story, announced the formation of the Old Fish Hatchery at White Rock Lake Advisory Committee. (Or, OFHAWRLAC, as we have decided to call it.)

Blackmon says the committee’s goal is to “rebuild trust with the community” by working as a go-between with Oncor and the city. They’ll be documenting what was lost and chart a path forward, which includes mitigating the growth of invasive species in the right of the way. And, of course, “formalize communication channels with stakeholders operating on and around this space.”

The committee has some heavy hitters. Ted Barker is probably the foremost protector of White Rock Lake in the city. Kelly Cotton actually helped hold TXU dead to rights 20 years ago when the company did exactly what Oncor did, even getting a (non-legal) promise to not do it again. Of course, TXU was spun off into Oncor and that agreement was apparently forgotten. Ben Sandifer, the master naturalist and environmentalist watchdog who helped contextualize what we lost, is on it. So too is a man named Collin Koonce, a landscape architect with RTKL who helped write the original guidelines for hike and bike trails under transmission lines back when he worked for Oncor.

The co-chairs are Maria Hasbany, the district’s Park Board representative, and Brent Brown, the former head of the Trinity Park Conservancy. Former Councilwoman Sandy Greyson is here too, as is Charles Elk, Oncor’s director of customer service.

The first meeting is 7 p.m. next Thursday, October 22. The public is welcome to participate; Zoom info is below.

District 9 Council Member Paula C. Blackmon is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: The Old Fish Hatchery at White Rock Lake Advisory Committee

Time: Oct 22, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/91520528701?pwd=VTBtU0lJKyt5TDFtMkkrTDQwbUtLQT09

Meeting ID: 915 2052 8701

Passcode: 857646

One tap mobile

+13462487799,,91520528701#,,,,,,0#,,857646# US (Houston)

+16699009128,,91520528701#,,,,,,0#,,857646# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 915 2052 8701

Passcode: 857646

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aci0J89K3X

Newsletter

Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...

Restaurants

Restaurants

Bars

Bars

Events

Events

Attractions

Attractions

View All

View All

Comments