Contact Information

Bardwell Lake
Fort Worth District Map
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Bardwell Lake Office
4000 Observation Dr.
Ennis, Texas 75119


Hours: M-F 7:30am - 4 pm
Phone:  (972) 875-5711
Fax:  (972) 875-9711

Camping Reservations:


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Natural Resources Management

Management Philosophy

The Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters at Corps water resources projects. Its Natural Resources Management philosophy is to manage, conserve, and improve these natural resources and the environment while providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations.

In all aspects of natural and cultural resources management, Corps managers promote awareness of environmental values and adhere to sound environmental stewardship, protection, compliance, and restoration practices.

The Corps manages for long-term public access to and use of the natural resources in cooperation with other federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the private sector.

Natural resource managers integrate the management of diverse natural resource components such as fish, wildlife, forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, air, and water with the provision of public recreation opportunities. The Corps conserves natural resources and provides public recreation opportunities that contribute to the quality of American life.


Buffalo Creek Wetland is the result of a cooperative effort between the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The wetland was built to mitigate or compensate for wetlands that were destroyed during construction of the Superconducting Super Collider. Construction began on Buffalo Creek Wetland in August of 1997 and was finished by the end of September. The name is derived from Waxahachie Creek which is located adjacent to the wetland. The term "Waxahachie" is a native American word meaning buffalo creek. Wetlands improve water quality, provide a natural means of flood control, reduce erosion, recharge sources of underground water supply and provide essential habitat for numerous species of wildlife.

Tonkawa Trail, which is constructed of finely crushed granite and about a mile in length, provides access to almost the entire wetland complex. Four observation decks are located along the trail for persons wanting to photograph or view the plants and animals in the area. The concentration of various ecosystems within the relatively small area of Buffalo Creek Wetland provides an unusual opportunity to see many different species of plants and animals.

The three ponds that are found in Buffalo Creek Wetland are Heron Lake, Sedge Meadow and Beaver Slough. Heron Lake, of which a portion will be continuously flooded, will contain a mixture of emergent (moist soil) and aquatic (submerged) plants. An island was constructed in Heron Lake to provide protection for waterfowl from predators such as coyotes, bobcats and raccoons. Sedge Meadow will consist mainly of emergent species as it will be managed as a moist soil unit. Beaver Slough is a green tree reservoir or wooded wetland which should attract a variety of riparian wildlife, including the wood duck. The native bottomland hardwood forests that are seen along the Lake Bardwell outlet channel and between Heron Lake provide addtional wildlife habitat. Bison Bluff, in the northwestern corner of the wetland complex, will contain native grasses and forbs that were utilized by wildlife and the large herds of buffalo that thrived in the blackland prarie region.

Buffalo Creek Wetland is a valuable resource that may be utilized by local schools as an outdoor clasroom to enhance environmental education programs or a place to simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Bird Watching

Bird watching is a favorite pastime of many visitors to Bardwell Lake. All kinds of songbirds, hawks, and even the occasional bald eagle visit the area. Great blue herons, ducks and geese in the winter, and various other shorebirds frequent the area and give the bird watching public something to see year-round.

Click here to visit the Audubon Society for more bird watching information.

Click here for listings of birds have been spotted at Bardwell Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the natural resources around Bardwell Lake in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department.

Take a look at the programs that interest you.

Land Management

The goal of the natural and cultural resources management program is to manage resources for the public benefit consistent with resource capabilities. Long-term objectives include:

1.Manage vegetation to develop and sustain a diversity of resident and migratory game and non-game wildlife species in accordance with the resource capabilities and other purposes of the lake project.

2.Protect and manage habitats supporting individuals and populations of special status species, especially federal and state listed threatened and endangered plants and animals.

3.Protect historic and prehistoric cultural sites, as well as unique paleontological and geological features.

4.Preserve and enhance the visual characteristics of natural landscapes.

Wildlife Management

Wildlife Management Areas and other land areas adjacent to the lakeshores were acquired for project operations, but they are designated for wildlife management. Agricultural activities may be undertaken to improve wildlife habitat. As potential wildlife habitat, these compartments are best suited to upland game bird, songbird and waterfowl species management.  Techniques to encourage continued use by raptors, including osprey and bald eagles, will also be utilized. Such lands are available to the public for sightseeing, nature study, hiking, hunting and other activities that enhance environmental awareness and promote environmental stewardship.

Agency Roles

The broad objective of fish and wildlife management is to conserve, maintain and improve the fish and wildlife habitat to produce the greatest dividend for the benefit of the general public. Implementation of a fish and wildlife management plan is the first step toward achieving the goals of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (Public Law 85-624). The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Department share responsibility for managing fish and wildlife, primarily through enforcement of laws and regulations and establishing seasons and bag limits for game species.

1)U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The role of the Corps of Engineers, as a proprietary landowner, is essentially that of sound environmental stewardship. The Corps has the authority to restrict hunting and fishing in certain areas in the interest of safety and to prevent interference with project operations. The Corps may set harvest or season limits that are more restrictive than those set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Corps may also issue permits for hunting and charge administrative fees to cover program costs in accordance with ER 1130-2-550 and EP 1130-2-550.

2)Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has the primary responsibility for managing resident fish and game species. Game wardens from the enforcement division are responsible for enforcing game laws, and Corps of Engineers park rangers assist them in water safety patrols and search and recovery efforts. Disposal of injured and dying animals protected by law will be coordinated with game wardens. Annual white-tailed deer surveys and other special management programs, such as brown cowbird and white-tailed deer trapping and special harvest permits, will be coordinated with the area biologist.

3)U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead Federal agency for protection of wildlife. Among its other missions, the agency is responsible for carrying out the intent of the Endangered Species Act, which it does through listing of species, enforcement of the provisions of the act and establishing wildlife refuges. In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act the Corps of Engineers is required to consult with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service when activities are proposed that may affect wildlife populations or habitat. All work that may affect an endangered species will be coordinated with the appropriate department.