TRWD and City of Fort Worth officials celebrated the joint signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two entities focused on building collaborative efforts toward acquiring, creating, and caring for greenspace in Fort Worth.
This agreement follows in the path of Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker’s recently-announced Good Natured Fort Worth Greenspace Initiative, an effort that seeks to bring public and private partners together to shape and enhance greenspace investment in Fort Worth for the next 100 years.
“With the recent launch of the Good Natured Fort Worth Greenspace Initiative, we are entering an era that will define Fort Worth’s green and blue space conservation for the next 100 years,” said Mayor Parker, who, in addition to spearheading the creation of Good Natured, also serves as Chair of Mayors for Parks Coalition and signed Fort Worth onto the 10 Minute Walk Program. “To make a truly significant impact on our preservation goals, we need strong partners like TRWD who share in the City’s commitment of preserving the open spaces and waterways for residents of today and generations to come.”
For decades, the City and TRWD have worked independently to promote recreation, conservation, stormwater management, and water quality. TRWD supplies raw water to more than 2.3 million people in 11 North Texas counties, manages the 27-mile Fort Worth Floodway system and maintains the Trinity Trail System that spans through much of Fort Worth. The City operates nearly 300 parks or recreational areas that encompass more than 12,000 acres, and in recent years has launched the Open Space Conservation Program to help preserve and protect portions of the city’s highest-priority natural spaces and at-risk ecosystems.
In the MOU, each of the organizations express their commitment to working together in furthering greenspace preservation efforts by exploring the creation of a private non-profit conservancy, collaborating to implement mutually beneficial efforts, strategies, and goals. They also agree to issue an annual Green Space report and hold at least one joint meeting of the respective governing bodies each year.
“TRWD’s commitment and investment in this joint initiative will provide the public access to green and blue spaces,” said Leah King, TRWD’s board president. “Together, we can build a legacy of environmental stewardship and community well-being that also helps to protect water quality, reduce flood risks and improves the quality of life for everyone we serve.”
The MOU was established in recognition of the vital role that greenspace plays in building sustainable communities by protecting water quality, enhancing flood protection, and promoting physical and mental health through recreation, especially as Fort Worth’s more than 350 remain half developed. As the city rapidly approaches 1 million residents, it is losing roughly 50 acres of natural open space per week to development.
Investment in greenspace has received wide support from Fort Worth residents in recent years. In a 2022 Trust for Public Land public survey of Fort Worth residents 96% of respondents said conserving natural areas in Fort Worth is “very important” and almost 99% said that the city should establish a permanent program to conserve natural areas for future generations. Residents also voted in 2021 to pass a bond measure to approve $15 million to buy and conserve open space in Fort Worth.
The MOU was approved unanimously by both the TRWD Board of Directors and Fort Worth City Council at their meetings on November 14 and November 28, respectively.