Rewilding, as advocated by many, including the Dallas architect, Kevin Sloan, in a Dallas Morning News editorial last month, can play a vital role in meeting the CECAP objectives of protecting and enhancing water resources, ecosystems and green spaces. Rewilding means restoring the ecology of an area and creating habitat for desirable species, including butterflies, bees, birds, amphibians and other species. Rewilding the Trinity River Floodway-- with 780 acres of meadows, also called native prairies, and 300 acres of wetlands planned for parks along the river in the Balanced Vision Plan--could be a big step toward adding blue-green (natural water and prairie habitats) in the middle of the city and using natural systems to treat stormwater.
How much of the planned 1100 acres (1.8 square miles ) of wetlands and prairies is developed will be the choice of our elected representatives in the Dallas City Council and the Trinity River Corridor Local Government Corporation, which the council has authorized to lead private/public partnerships that will fund, build and steward park lands in the floodway. However, restoring native prairie and adding and enhancing wetlands at this scale is one of the biggest opportunities we have to dramatically increase blue-green space in the middle of our city and create an inviting meeting place for friends and families from North, South, East and West Dallas.
Moreover, the CEPAC does not include resources and funding estimates to improve our environment and climate, and the construction and stewardship of parklands along the Trinity will be led and funded by non-profits and the private sector in cooperation with the City of Dallas. Rewilding the Trinity Floodway can be a creative and practical way for companies and private individuals to take action toward improving our environment and addressing climate change. A group of business leaders that reviewed the draft CEPAC suggested that the plan focus on specific actions more than building awareness about the dangers of environmental degradation and a warming climate. The door is wide open for the private sector to take those actions by rewilding the Trinity River Floodway.
More specific comments are provided about the benefits of rewilding for Objective 5: Protecting water resources and communities from flooding and drought and Objective 6: Dallas protects and enhances its ecosystems,trees and green spaces that in turn improve public health.