DALLAS — When the new Trinity Forest Golf Club course in southeast Dallas was first proposed, the city pledged to protect the Great Trinity Forest and the nature around it. Now city officials are rushing to repair what environmentalists say developers were destroying.
Nature-lover Hal Barker of Dallas is a frequent visitor to the Great Trinity Forest.
"It's rich in wildlife," he said. "It's rich in Indian archeological areas. It's rich in birds and animals, flora and fauna."
The Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban forest in the nation. Soon it will be home to the city's newest golf course, the future home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship golf tournament.
While Barker is not opposed to transforming the old city landfill into a golf course, he and other environmentalists were outraged a few days ago to discover construction crews siphoning water out of a fish pond and beaver habitat and using it for dust control on the golf course.
The pond was all but drained; most of the fish were dead, and the beaver habitat had been destroyed.
Construction crews are supposed to hook water trucks up to a city hydrant located just on the edge of the golf course. The problem? They have to pay for that water.
"The whole issue is, they didn't need to drain that pond," Barker said. "There's no reason to do it, except to save some money."
Once the city was notified, it acted immediately to stop the practice and make sure that that contractor takes steps to refill the pond and repair the damage.
"They say it was a big mistake; we should have been more sensitive to the environment," Barker said of the city's response. "It's because they got caught."
Barker also points to a clause in the agreement with contractors saying it was OK for "…construction water for the project to be obtained from site ponds, as approved by the engineer…"
But Barker says without a dedicated environmentalist to protect the Great Trinity Forest, the city will make even more mistakes developing the course that he fears will be beyond repair.