|Joppa residents at Trinity River Wetland Cells September 2011|
|Prickly Pear Cactus in Great Trinity Forest on the 5980 Trail|
Below are some photos taken from places throughout the Great Trinity Forest about one year apart. In most cases the differences between the summer of 2010 and 2011 are rather dramatic. 2010 was also a hot summer. DFW was in a rain deficit until Tropical Storm Hermine stalled over North Texas in September 2010 dropping over a foot of rain.
Trinity River Wetland Cells
|Trinity River Wetland Cells September 11, 2011|
|Trinity River Wetland Cells August 2010|
The Trinity River Wetland Cells sit roughly between I-45 and Loop 12 parallel to the main Trinity River Channel. They are partially fed by discharge from the wastewater treatment plant. Using a series of water level gates, the water can stay at a constant depth year round. During periods of river flooding these lakes perform a vital role of slowing down flood water. In normal conditions the lakes serve as a biofilter for discharge before it heads south. A month or two from now the water in the Trinity wetland cells will be in a Houstonian's glass of water.
To see the dramatic feast/famine nature of the drought check out the photo below. The plants in contact with the water are green while the plants left high and dry are all but dried potpourri. In the background are ash trees I believe. Apparently they do not drop their leaves when they go dormant. The result is what looks like fall in New England or turning aspen trees at Crested Butte. Unfortunate that this is not the case. Those trees were cooked. Baked.
|Drought starved trees at Trinity River Wetland Cells sunset October 1, 2011|
|McCommas Bluff September 2011|
|McCommas Bluff August 2010|
McCommas Bluff sits in the far southeastern portion of Dallas. Here the land is a sandy loam sitting atop limestone. The trees are a mix of post oak, live oak and even pine trees do well here in the sandy acidic soil. Much different than the rest of Dallas in that regard. Along the bluffs some of the older smaller trees show heat stress. A false autumn color peppers the landscape. The lush green of 2010 is nowhere to be found and the native grasses one usually sees are replaced by dust and bare dirt. The native grass really never even got tall enough to go to seed this year. An issue that might not crop up until the spring of 2012.
McCommas Bluff is one of the few places where it is easy to see how the low flow of the Trinity has left things high and dry. Also one of the few spots left in Dallas where you can find a hard limestone bottom in the riverbed. Record Crossing, Miller Crossing and Eagle Ford also had hard bottoms but are now long gone. At McCommas Bluff the river stayed low enough all summer for weeds and grasses to spring up in the old riverboat tie-down.
|McCommas Bluff riverboat landing in Trinity River Channel August 2011|
|McCommas Bluff riverboat landing in Trinity River Channel September 2010|
Not only can you see the how the exposed riverboat landing sat exposed during the summer, one can also see how the drought stressed trees along the bluffs began to go dormant. The upper photo was taken August 6, 2011. I think it was close to 110 degrees when I took that photo.
|Texas Horse Park September 2011|
|Texas Horse Park August 2010|
|Texas Horse Park trail from Trinity River Audubon Center September 2011|
|Texas Horse Park trail from Audubon Center late June 2010|
|Scyene Overlook September 2011|
|Scyene Overlook August 2010|
|Lemmon Lake Summer 2009, Trinity River on immediate right, Loop 12 in extreme upper right hand corner|
|Lemmon Lake Dried Lake Bed August 2011|
|Alligator Gar remains eaten by feral pigs at Lemmon Lake August 2011|
|Storks, Ibises, Spoonbills, Egrets at Lemmon Lake|
It will take a flood that rises half way up the levees upstream in Downtown to refill the lake.
|Honey Spring Joppa October 2011|