Welcome to the NTAEP home page. Our group is composed of environmental professionals from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Metroplex. Our group meets during the lunch hour on the third Wednesday of each month except for the summer months of June through August. Our meetings feature a speaker and time for networking. See below for upcoming meetings and go ahead and register if you like! We hope you can join us soon!
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North Texas Association of Environmental Professionals (NTAEP)
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NTAEP Monthly Meeting - 3514 W. Airport Freeway, Irving, Texas 75062
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
June 21, 2023
Heather Firn of Trinity River Authority presents:
"Joe Pool Lake Watershed Management Plan."
Heather Firn graduated in 2013 with a Master of Science Degree in Biology from Southern Connecticut State University. Her coursework awarded her the opportunities to be out in nature often; hiking, stomping in creeks, birding, and scuba diving, to name a few. Ms. Firn's Thesis focused on estuarine bacteria that colonize a temperate scleractinian coral Astrangia poculata in the Long Island Sound. She relocated to Dallas during the summer of 2013 to work for the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center as an Environmental Educator. She also held a position as Adjunct Faculty at Brookhaven College teaching Environmental Science and intro level biology courses. In 2014, Ms. Firn began her career as a Senior Environmental Quality Specialist for the City of Plano. She was outdoors daily ensuring the cities creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes met the water quality standards established by the TCEQ and EPA. She consistently interacted with the community through education on how to keep our precious resource, water, free of pollutants. Ms. Firn developed and managed the Bacteria Reduction Program as well as secured a Clean Water Act § Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant to study the Rowlett Creek watershed.
In 2020, Ms. Firn began working as a Watershed Scientist III at the Trinity River Authority of Texas to manage watershed and flood risk reduction, response, and mitigation grants that fall within the 18,000 sq. mile Trinity River watershed. Watershed protection planning and flood risk reduction go hand in hand by protecting and restoring watersheds impacted by erosion, floodwater or stormwater, sediment, and pollutants. Ms. Firn then earned her Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Southern Methodist University in 2021. Her Thesis focused on the work she started with the City of Plano: A "Characterization of an Urban Watershed: The Case for Rowlett Creek Watershed Impaired by Bacteria and Nutrient Concerns".
She holds a Registered Environmental Health Specialist certification from the National Environmental Health Association and is also a Certified Floodplain Manager with the Texas Floodplain Management Association.
Currently, Ms. Firn is responsible for the implementation of best management practices in the Joe Pool Lake watershed and the Village Creek-Lake Arlington watershed. She is also actively involved in the Region 3 Flood Planning process and the Trinity River Mid-Basin Watershed Study.
Joe Pool Lake is an important water supply reservoir for a rapidly developing portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In 2018, the cities of Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Midlothian, in conjunction with the Trinity River Authority of Texas and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), formed the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Protection Partnership. The Partnership began characterizing the watershed and developing a watershed protection plan (WPP) to protect water quality in Joe Pool Lake and improve the water quality in its tributaries. The stakeholder-driven Joe Pool Lake WPP identified potential pollutant sources and calculated the pollutant load reductions needed to meet TCEQ surface water quality standards. Best Management Practices (BMPs) were determined for watershed protection and water quality improvement. BMPs will address nutrient concerns, E. coli concerns, and other pollutant concerns throughout this watershed. The Environmental Protection Agency approved the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Protection Plan in October 2022. The BMPs outlined in the WPP are now eligible for Clean Water Act §Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant funding.