Denton County Greenbelt Plan
 

On August 15, 2017, the Denton County Commissioner’s Court adopted the Denton County Greenbelt Plan and directed its Staff to include applicable elements of the Plan in the County’s planning standards.  The Commissioner’s Court also established a Coordinating Committee - - to champion the preservation of greenbelts and related natural assets by encouraging municipalities, developers and others to implement strategies described within the Plan that are relevant to their area.  If you are interested in serving on the Coordinating Committee, please email Blake Alldredge at balldredge@utrwd.com.  Check out the Plan below:

Greenbelt Plan - Executive Summary

Greenbelt Plan - Full Document


 



Summary

Denton County is rapidly urbanizing - - with growth and development expected to continue.  The County is transforming from a largely farming and ranching setting, to one with a more urban character as the County’s population is expected to reach over 1 million by 2030.  Our goal is to develop a county-wide plan to guide the preservation of greenbelts and the adjacent natural areas within the watersheds of our local lakes - - the source of our drinking water. (Learn about other ways to protect watersheds here.)

Greenbelts, floodplains, streams, riparian areas and wetlands perform the vital function of filtering out pollutants (such as sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals) from entering the streams and waterways, thereby safeguarding the quality of water entering our water supply lakes.  Preserved greenbelts also provide an excellent opportunity to enhance the quality of life for residents by establishing hike and bike trails for recreation, and in some cases can increase property values for nearby homes.  The Denton County Greenbelt Plan will serve as a planning document, providing guidelines and opportunities for communities, developers, and residents to coordinate the planning and preservation of multiuse greenbelts according to a common vision.

Greenbelt Preservation Opportunities in Denton County

The Plan identifies 137 miles of stream corridor length that are currently protected by municipal ordinance, or managed by state or federal agencies.  However, there are nearly 1,000 miles of stream corridor length that lack protection and may be vulnerable to changing land uses and development.  Within the Plan, these stream corridors are classified as Greenbelt Opportunities (Primary and Secondary).  These stream corridors need special attention and preservation to protect the quality of water and to ensure other benefits for future generations.  A compelling fact: it is much more cost effective to protect greenbelts and stream corridors now - - rather than restore greenbelts and stream corridors after they have been lost to nearby development.  Once they are gone, they are gone forever!

The Plan includes a toolbox of strategies that can be implemented – on a voluntary basis – by municipalities, developers, landowners and others within their respective areas.  These strategies fall under three main categories: Education and Outreach, Protection Measures, and Funding.  Not all of these strategies may be applicable in every circumstance – it is important to evaluate which ones will be most effective.

The Plan is sponsored by the Upper Trinity Conservation Trust, Denton County, and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.  Please join us in this effort to improve the environmental sustainability of Denton County and enhance the quality of life for all residents “right where we live.”  If you would like to find out how you can volunteer, email Blake Alldredge at balldredge@utrwd.com.  Follow us on our Twitter (@UTCTrust) or Facebook (Upper Trinity Conservation Trust).

What is a Greenbelt? – Similar to riparian areas and floodplains; the undeveloped areas between a stream and the drier uplands that have grasses, shrubs and trees in place that can tolerate flooding.  Preserved greenbelts in urban and agricultural areas can provide many benefits to each, including water quality and flood protection, and enhancing the quality of life for residents.

 

Preserved greenbelt within the Lantana community in Denton County.

This preserved greenbelt is protected from encroachment and provides valuable recreational and aesthetic benefits, in addition to water quality protection.

Little Elm Creek, exhibiting greenbelt vegetation, located near the intersection of FM 1385 and FM 428 in northeast Denton County.

This greenbelt, identified as a Primary Opportunity in the Plan, provides a buffer between the creek and the surrounding agricultural activities – protecting water quality and valuable wildlife habitat.

What is a Watershed? – the area of land where water drains to a single point, such as a river or lake. Discover ways you can protect local watersheds by visiting our Watershed Protection page.

News
Protecting Watersheds: A Coordinated Approach - Texas Water Conservation Association Confluence magazine

Greenbelt Plan aims to Preserve Denton County Water Sources - Lewisville Texan