Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Acquisition of Land – Marion County
Approximately 745 Acres at the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area
November 10, 2020

I.      Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has received an award from state and federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees for the acquisition of land to be added to the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

II.     Discussion: Caddo Lake is a natural lake straddling East Texas and West Louisiana that covers approximately 26,810 acres. In the 1930s, Caddo Lake State Park (SP) was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps on the south shore of the lake. Acquisition of land on the north shore that would become Caddo Lake WMA began in 1992. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been instrumental in acquiring much of the property that makes up the WMA, which today covers 8,134 acres of cypress swamps, bayous, marshes, open water, bottomland forest, and uplands.

NRDA Trustees recovered damages for injuries to natural resources from the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation wood-treating facility in Texarkana, which treated railroad ties and other railroad timber products with a creosote-based preservative. The creosote was released to the surface soil and subsequently leached to groundwater, traveling into nearby creeks and causing injury to natural resources. NRDA Trustees published a restoration plan in 2019, selecting projects to compensate for the aforementioned natural resource injuries. The restoration plan includes funding for several projects in northeast Texas, including the acquisition of bottomland forest and the associated habitat for addition to the Caddo Lake WMA and/or SP by TPWD. In November 2019, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) authorized TPWD staff to begin the process of acquiring land made possible by the NRDA grant.  At the time, the staff indicated they would return to the Commission with more details before completing the first acquisition.

TPWD has acquired an option to purchase TPWD’s highest priority tract for addition to the WMA. The tract consists of approximately 745 acres on the southwest side of the WMA. The tract includes riparian bottomland and ridge/swale wetlands, swamps, sloughs, and some maturing pine plantation. The staff seeks authorization to acquire this tract and to acquire additional tracts contiguous with the WMA and/or SP using NRDA funds that meet the habitat criteria established by NRDA and TPWD.

III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 745 acres of land for addition to the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area and additional tracts as grant funds permit for addition to Caddo Lake WMA and Caddo Lake SP in Marion and Harrison counties.”

Attachments – 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

Location Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area in Marion County

Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA),
20 Miles Northeast of Marshall

Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit C

Site Map Showing Subject 745-Acre Tract
Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area Outlined in Orange
Caddo Lake State Park Outlined in Yellow
Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge Shaded in Brown
Subject Tract Outlined in Red