Hickory Creek watershed is located within Denton County, with a substantial portion of the watershed located within the corporate limits of the City of Denton. In general, the Hickory Creek watershed extends westward from I-35E as the highway passes through the City of Denton and drains into Lewisville Lake directly upstream from the City of Denton's drinking water intake structure. The watershed of Hickory Creek is mainly rural, containing large amounts of open space and bottomland hardwood forests. The mainly undeveloped characteristics of the Hickory Creek watershed serve to enhance water quality, since surface water runoff in many areas of the watershed passes through substantial amounts of vegetated buffers. However, development pressures continue to cause alterations in land surfaces within Hickory Creek, resulting in a reduction in the ability of this watershed to assimilate pollutants.
Although Lewisville Lake is not currently on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) list of water quality impaired waters, there are significant water quality concerns for the lake. The Lewisville Lake watershed, for example, has one of the highest application rates in the State for new or amended wastewater permits. Development is increasing within the Hickory Creek watershed, creating increases in runoff volumes and reductions in open space. Past monitoring efforts by the TCEQ have resulted in Hickory Creek being listed as a "nutrient enrichment concern" due to high ammonia concentrations. The sources of ammonia are currently not well understood within this watershed and are generally listed as "originating from unknown point and non-point sources." Watershed monitoring and modeling efforts indicate that the current approaches to managing non-point source pollution in Hickory Creek are not sufficient. New tools are needed to stimulate best management practices development and reverse declining water quality trends.
Lewisville Lake Watershed area in 1990 and in 2000. Note the increase in developed area west and east of the main branch of the lake.
Hickory Creek Watershed Protection Plan Overview
The TCEQ asked the project team to develop a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) for Hickory Creek in conjunction with the 319 grant and to include the nine USEPA WWP elements within this plan. These elements are:
- Identify the causes and sources of pollutants.
- Estimate load reductions.
- Describe the non-point source management measures that will need to be implemented.
- Estimate the amounts of technical and financial assistance needed.
- Describe the information / education component.
- Estimate a schedule for implementing the non-point source management measures.
- Describe the interim, measurable milestones.
- Develop a set of criteria that can be used to determine whether loading reductions are being achieved.
- Describe the monitoring component.
Read the Hickory Creek Watershed Protection Plan (PDF).