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May 2022

Leading the Charge to Make a Lake      with Ed Motley

Lake Ralph Hall Program Manager Ed Motley

Few people are looking forward to Lake Ralph Hall’s completion more than Ed Motley. After all, he has been working on it for 22 years.
“My work on the project goes back to the beginning,” Motley shared. “Right before 2000, I was working for Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) as a consultant, helping them plan for future water supply. One day, a fellow water resources consultant invited me to meet with representatives from the City of Ladonia including Leon Hurse, the Mayor of Ladonia at the time, and Bob Bledsoe. They wanted to build a lake near their town, primarily for economic development purposes. Their idea fit well with UTRWD’s need, so I brought that idea back for consideration, and we did a couple studies to find a lake configuration that worked best. UTRWD and Ladonia have been partnering ever since on Lake Ralph Hall.”
While he has worn many different hats over nearly three decades of working with and for UTRWD, Motley’s current role is Lake Ralph Hall Program Manager. At first, this meant that he led the charge to get the lake permitted and helped choose and write the contracts for each project component. Now, his job includes supervising the contractors as they design and build the project to make sure everything is finished as intended.
“There are hundreds of little pieces that all have to get done, and I lead a team of staff and contractors to make sure that none of those pieces get missed,” said Motley.
Attention to detail is critical. “Everything to me is important, from the smallest detail. Without all the pieces, it doesn’t work,” Motley pointed out. “That to me is rewarding. The lug nuts are as important as the engine.”
Current “lug nuts” include specifics for designing the pipeline to carry water from the lake, and the lake’s headquarters and other facilities. Planning also continues for clearing the dam area, building roads and bridges and putting in boat ramps for public lake access.
Patience and persistence have been qualities that Motley and his team have had plenty of time to practice on a project already two+ decades in the making. “There will be some great days with good news and others with less good news, and on those you have to pick yourself up and move forward,” he shared. “What is rewarding is that a lot of these pieces we’ve talked about for 20 years are coming together now.”
Over the years, Motley has collaborated extensively with federal, state and consultant agencies. “We met regularly to develop a plan that met federal and state regulations while fulfilling UTRWD’s needs for a reliable water supply and Ladonia’s desire for a Lake,” Motley said. There was a lot of give and take, but in the end, they came together on solutions that met everybody’s needs.
“It’s a critical water supply for the people of Denton County and Collin Counties,” Motley explained. “It also fulfills the vision of Leon Hurse and former Congressman Ralph Hall; It will be a big economic boost for the whole area. I’d like to see it not just be another lake, but one that has its own unique atmosphere. It needs to bring people who want to relax and enjoy the water and the scenery.”
For now, the work continues to make Lake Ralph Hall all that it can be.
“It’s particularly rewarding to see something that you’ve invested 20 years of your life coming together,” said Motley. “And it will be even more so when it starts filling with water.”

First Bass Delivered for Lake Ralph Hall

The first fish stocking at Lake Ralph Hall
Late last month, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials introduced young adult bass to a pond within the footprint of the future Lake Ralph Hall.
“We’re stocking approximately 400 fish, and they’re probably around 10-12 inches long already,” said TPWD Fisheries Biologist Dan Bennett, onsite to help with the delivery process. “These fish are about one pound or so and a few years o
ld already. We’re stocking these in this nursery pond so they can grow before the lake fills.”
The fish are part of the
Toyota Sharelunker Program—particularly large fish caught by anglers in Texas and bred with Florida male bass to produce a special breed of “Lone Star Bass.” The fish are being introduced now so they will be mature by the time the lake starts filling in 2025 to establish a thriving population of large bass for anglers visiting the reservoir.
While this is the first fish stocking at the lake, it won’t be the last. “This will likely be the only stocking at this pond specifically, but we may try to seek out some additional nursery ponds to introduce bass,” Bennett shared. “Once the lake starts to fill, we will introduce more fish then as well.”
In addition to stocking the future lake area, Upper Trinity Regional Water District and TPWD will also be creating permanent habitat, such as large brush piles and artificial reefs, for the future fish to thrive in the new lake.
“We’re working to create fish habitat that wouldn’t otherwise be there in open pastures and fields,” explained Bennet. “Ultimately, we hope it will provide anglers with the opportunity to target fish in some of these locations and increase their success when fishing the reservoir.”
Upper Trinity Regional
Water District

900 North Kealy Avenue
Lewisville, Texas 75067
(972) 219-1228
Lake Ralph Hall Office
10910 State Highway 34
Ladonia, Texas 75449
(903) 367-7008
Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., M–F,
or by appointment
Copyright © 2022 Upper Trinity Regional Water District, All Rights Reserved.

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Lake Ralph Hall (UTRWD) · PO Box 305 · Lewisville, TX 75067-0305 · USA

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