Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Boys Ranch Lake
Why was it necessary to drain and dredge the Lake?
- The lake was unhealthy. It had not been drained and dredged in over thirty years. The condition of the lake made for an unhealthy environment for the fish and the wildlife.
Why was the island removed?
- The removal of the island has always been part of the Parks Master Plan. Renditions and discussions regarding the removal of the island date back as far as 2009. This project was discussed at multiple City Council meetings, along with a Town Hall meeting. The island was a detriment to the water circulation in the lake – which is important. The island contributed to the trapping of sediment in that area of the lake – which was also not healthy for the lake or the wildlife. The island was a collection point for trash and animal waste. Texas Parks & Wildlife experts deemed the island detrimental to the health of the wildlife due to the large collection of animal waste and potential for the spread of disease. The removal of the island was in the best long term interests of the health of the lake and the wildlife.
Were there any protected species on the island at the time of its removal?
- No. Texas Parks & Wildlife inspected the island prior to its removal, ensured there were no protected species residing on the island, and gave permission for the island’s removal.
What steps did staff take during the draining and dredging of the Lake to protect the wildlife?
- On 08/28/15, the City’s Parks and Recreation along with Animal Control began a series of pumping the remaining water out of the lake that surrounds the main drain along the south end of the lake. This process was performed in order to expedite the relocation of the turtles to a safer location. As the water was being pumped out, staff remained on hand an additional week, during the day and evening hours, to assist in the capturing and relocation of the turtles. Staff was able to relocate over 100 turtles. These turtles were moved to the water channels along the north side of the park or to other parks throughout the City.
- Watering containers were placed along the south side of the lake for use by the wildlife. Staff continued to clean the containers (along with baby swimming pools put out by local citizens) and replenish these vessels with fresh water throughout the construction process.
- Temporary signage was placed all around the lake requesting the public to not feed the ducks bread.
How many turtles were relocated?
- Over the course of two weeks, staff captured and relocated over 100 turtles.
How many fish were relocated?
- City staff worked under the direction of Texas Parks & Wildlife to catch and relocate the Boys Ranch Lake fish. Even past the point that Texas Parks & Wildlife was satisfied that Bedford had adequately caught and relocated the fish, City staff continued over a two week period to capture and relocate fish as the lake was further drained, and the fish were able to be caught in the small pools that formed. This effort was significantly beyond the expectations of TP&W.
How many ducks were relocated?
- No ducks have been relocated (by city staff or at the direction of city staff) at any point during this process. The City of Bedford is prohibited from relocating any ducks due to the presence of a duck virus at the lake. Please see additional information provided in this FAQ regarding the duck virus.
Is there a duck virus at the lake and what does that mean?
- There is a duck virus at the lake that has been present for many years. It can be fatal to the duck populace. It is not harmful to humans. Click here for more information regarding the duck virus.
What steps did staff take to make sure the ducklings and turtles can enter and exit the Lake?
- With the original design of the lake, one ramp was designed on the northeast portion of the lake to provide the wildlife a way to enter and exit the lake. Two additional ramps have been added to the southeast and southwest portions of the lake.
Will the City be adding more ramps?
- There is no intent to add additional ramps beyond the three current ramps. These three ramps are working as designed.
Can ducklings and turtles enter and exit the Lake?
- Yes. Both ducklings and turtles are successfully utilizing these ramps. As you can see in the pictures, ducklings have hatched and are maturing under the current lake conditions.
What is the City’s policy on feeding the wildlife?
- The City of Bedford DOES have an ordinance that prohibits feeding of the wildlife at any City park. The City understands that generations of visitors have enjoyed visiting the lake, often with small children, and feeding the wildlife bread, grain, and other food items. However, as new information became available regarding the health risks posed to the wildlife – associated with human feeding – the City of Bedford passed the no feeding ordinance, which is currently in effect and being enforced.
- Many people enjoy feeding the ducks, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. If you care about the ducks, please stop feeding them. Allow them to return to their natural habits.
- Food attracts more than just ducks
- Feeding ducks attracts rats, pests, and predators that kill ducks and endanger humans.
- Rotting food pollutes the water and breeds deadly diseases and parasites
- When ducks and geese feed on scattered corn or bread, they eat in the same place where they defecate. This is not healthy for the ducks. In addition, large concentrations of waterfowl facilitate the spread of disease. Diseases generally not transmissible in a wild setting find overcrowded and unsanitary conditions very favorable.
- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation lists that “most waterfowl die-offs in the past 10 years have involved artificial feeding.”
- Uneaten food quickly forms a deadly mold called Aspergillus that can be fatal to ducks.
- The problems associated with the virus, Duck Virus Enteritis (found at the Boys Ranch Lake) is exacerbated by artificial feeding.
- Ducks that are overfed, can lead to an artificially large duck population that is too large for the lake to naturally support. Large duck populations can create dangerous amounts of waste that is harmful to the fish and turtles.
- Corn may seem okay for ducks, but fish cannot digest it and die. Seeds cause severe cramping pains in ducks. Bedford has had one example of staff finding a turtle in distress and unable to submerge. Staff took the turtle to a veterinarian who determined the turtle has consumed an excessive amount of dog food and corn – leading to the turtle’s distress.
Please click this link for a message from the Texas Parks and Wildlife on this important issue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCPAAmlNXxI