Parks are an integral part of life in Coppell, with 17 of them spread across 545 acres, offering residents a place to relax, hike, and connect with nature. While these parks are cherished by the community, they also provide a home to a diverse range of plants and animals. Balancing the needs of both human and wildlife residents can be challenging, but a recent project in Moore Road Park is making strides in achieving that harmony.
Moore Road Park, a 30-acre green space near Coppell's northern city limit, features a large pond, baseball and softball fields, and the popular Denton Creek Trail. The park's unique amenity, a boardwalk along the pond's edge, had fallen into disrepair due to flooding. To address this issue, a $1.9 million project was awarded to Rebcon LLC.
The project not only replaced the boardwalk but also improved the pond's stormwater management and shore erosion control. The boardwalk, constructed on concrete piers drilled into the pond's bedrock, required the temporary draining of the pond.
While this project was essential for maintaining the park's amenities, it also had an unexpected impact on the local wildlife. Turtles from the park's pond were found crossing streets and strolling through residents' front yards. When water levels recede, it's common for turtles to seek other nearby water sources. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department advised residents not to interfere with the turtles' natural migration.
Additionally, the project revealed a diverse aquatic ecosystem. Local lake management company Magnolia Fisheries was hired to transfer fish from one pond to another, and over 500 mussels were discovered. These mussels, including giant floater, mapleleaf, and lilliput species, are protected in Texas due to their vital role in freshwater ecosystems.
The project also attracted the attention of local anglers among the city's employees. Two Coppell employees, Marcos Mejorado and Police Officer Lyle Hukill, proposed enhancing the pond's fish habitat while it was temporarily empty. With the assistance of Fisheries Biologist Cynthia Fox Holt from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the project added structural elements to support fish and the entire ecosystem.
The enhancements included MossBack fish attractors, concrete culverts, and stone piles strategically placed on the pond floor. These structures will provide feeding opportunities for invertebrates, spawning habitats for catfish, and shelter for fish. TPWD plans to start stocking the pond with native bluegill, redear sunfish, and fingerling Lone Star Bass in the coming years, offering a promising future for anglers.
Though the project may result in some temporary inconveniences, such as floating vegetation and occasional fish mortality as the pond refills, the long-term goal is to provide a thriving ecosystem and a quality fishing experience for Coppell residents.
The Moore Road Park Elevated Boardwalk project was completed on September 1, 2023.