Letter to the Editor: Open Space and the future of Rockwall County

Photo by Nell Welborn.

ROCKWALL, TX (Oct. 13, 2020) Rockwall County, the smallest county in Texas, is also the 10th most densely populated. Currently at just over 100,000 population, it is projected to reach 350,000 by 2040.

In the next 20 years, residential and commercial development will turn most of undeveloped land into more pavement and roof tops, replacing much of our natural stormwater drainage ways with impervious surfaces. If we continue our current development patterns, much more stormwater will be coming down stream a lot faster with severe erosion of our creek banks and causing dangerous flooding in our neighborhoods.

Weather patterns are clearly changing with devastating floods becoming more common. To complicate the issue, local governments are using outdated 1980 stormwater standards when reviewing and approving development plans.

It is crucial that our county and cities protect our lives and property from future devastating flooding by stopping development in natural flood plains.  We can no longer allow drainage areas to be filled to eke out a few more building sites.  BIG PICTURE: We need more natural creek areas to handle stormwater, not fewer. Another benefit of protecting our creeks and floodways will be more open spaces for natural areas and nature trails.

The first step has been taken.  A cooperative effort in 2015 by County Commissioners, City officials and residents produced a countywide Open Space Master Plan.  The Plan calls for protection of our natural flood plains and addresses citizens’ desires for open spaces, nature areas and trails throughout the Rockwall County.

There is an urgency to this mission. It is now up to all of us, the residents of Rockwall County, to become vocal advocates and let our elected officials know that we want this done NOW.  So, speak up now as land is disappearing very fast every day.  This is our last chance to prevent future devastating flooding and preserve open spaces while these floodways are still intact.  Together we can and we must act now.


Bob DeJean, Rockwall County Open Space Alliance, Project Manager and charter member. 




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