Environmental Sustainability and the Trinity River Corridor Project

Dallas began on the banks of the Trinity River. The water itself and lazy days of paddling on it have been part of the true fabric of North Texas for hundreds of years. From Native Americans navigating the river in paddling canoes, to ferry boats in the Age of Industrialization, the Trinity River has provided an avenue of leisurely and functional resourcefulness for the inhabitants along this waterway.

                                     ​  Trinity River near downtown corridor in Dallas.  Photo by Frank Richards  

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Volunteers Restoring Lower Chain of Wetlands

Lower Chain of Wetlands restoration of the riparian ecosystem through FedEx and Trinity Commons Foundation wetland planting
Photo By: Harry Rumberger

Through Trinity Watershed Management and it's project, the Trinity River Corridor Project, modern visitors to the river can begin to enjoy it in a new way as the visual evidence of progress appears along the floodway in the form of the signature bridges and unique recreation areas.  Currently, visitors can enjoy the sights and activities available at Ronald Kirk Bridge and Felix H. Lozada, Sr. Gateway, Trinity Skyline Trail, Trinity Overlook, Santa Fe Trestle Trail,  Dallas Wave, MLK/Cedar Crest Bridge Gateway, Trinity Forest Trails, Lower Chain of Wetlands, Trinity River Audubon Center, Texas Horse Park, and the Great Trinity Forest Gateway and Horse Trails.  

As with everything in our lives, we all strive to ensure the resources we have available to us today are enough to take us into the future.  For Dallas, this is one of the top priorities as the population of Dallas grows. Not only do we enjoy big sky vistas in Dallas but we have pheonomal natural resources in the form of the Trinity River and the Great Trinity Forest. These are surprising aspects located within the city limits of this remarkable city​.

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   Trinity River as it flows through the Great Trinity Forest in Dallas forming a major flyway for resident and migratory birds. 

                                                      Photo by: Cole Hanson

​​Building a Greener Future

Dallas has initiatives on all fronts to embrace an even greener future for the City. These initiatives include Environmental Management Systems, ISO Certifications, Green Building Standards, Green Vehicle Fleet Standards, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, Air Quality Standards, Long-term Strategic Water Conservation Planning, Long-term Recycling and Waste Management Plan, Trinity River and Trinity Watershed Management Initiatives, as well as, the Balanced Vision Plan, and the Great Trinity Forest 100-year Management Plan. Most important is the fact that Dallas' leadership and citizens strive to leave the city more resilient and better equipped to protect air quality, water quality, energy use, wildlife, and the land by implementing sustainable projects and fostering long-term environmental responsibility.

Dallas is on its way to becoming the greenest city in America. In 2011, DFW ranked 10th among the nation’s 100-largest metropolitan areas in green job creation. In addition, The city of Dallas is among the top purchasers of green energy, ranks #3 on the EPA’s list of ‘Top 20 local government partners’ and #15 on the ‘National Top 50’ list.​

Dallas is among the first cities to adopt a green building program with the goal to achieve a silver LEED rating on all new building projects 10,000 square feet or larger for municipal buildings. Since the inception of the Green Building Program, the city now boasts 5 LEED Gold, 1 LEED-EB Silver and 2 certified buildings. New projects in the city include pedestrian-friendly areas and parks such as Main Street Garden, Belo Garden, Ronald Kirk Bridge and Felix H. Lozada, Sr. Gateway, and the Klyde Warren Park.

As part of the Trinity River Corridor Project and the Balanced Vision Plan, Dallas built an interpretative center in the Great Trinity Forest.  The wonderful facility managed by the National Audubon Society, is designated as its Texas Flagship center - the Trinity River Audubon Center, a LEED Gold certified building that includes the following sustainable building features: a vegetated roof, rainwater collection system, energy efficient systems, and recycled materials such as plastics used for boardwalks and blue jeans and cotton used for interior insulation. The building is AIA Gold Medal award winning architect  Antoine Predock. The vision it took to create the facility and restore the land is an important story in terms of sustainability for the Trinity Watershed Management teams and the land maintained and fostered all along the Trinity RIver.  View video, Out of Deepwood.​​​

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To learn more about how the City of Dallas is protecting the environment, visit GreenDallas.net and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility and North Central Texas Council of Governments​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​