Jul 25, 2018

Exploration Green Receives 2018 Excellence in Green Infrastructure Award

A Texas storm water management project used wetlands to mitigate flooding surrounding Hurricane Harvey

Texas project wins green infrastructure award post-Harvey
Texas project wins green infrastructure award post-Harvey

Exploration Green Nature Park in Clear Lake City, Texas, received the 2018 Excellence in Green Infrastructure Award through the U.S. EPA and the National Assn. of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA). The wetlands in Exploration Green were designed to detain and slow floodwaters and clean the runoff from 95% of the storms that occur in the community. Additional provisions were added for a walking trail, lake, wetlands areas and other features.

The award was announced earlier this month at the NAFSMA annual conference in Santa Fe, N.M. The Green Infrastructure Awards Program was designed to recognize and spotlight storm water management projects throughout the country that are advancing and innovating green storm water infrastructure techniques.

“The 178-acre golf course ran alongside large drainage ditches constructed by the original developer, providing a perfect setting for accommodating additional runoff,” said Dr. John Jacob, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist with the recreation, park and tourism sciences department of Texas A&M University in College Station. “The first phase of Exploration Green was about 80% completed when Hurricane Harvey hit and the detention area held enough storm water runoff that even houses that habitually flooded with just 5 to 10 in. of water storms didn’t flood with the 45 or so in. that came with Harvey.”

Water quality studies, funded by a grant from the Texas General Land Office Coastal Management Program, will begin in October 2018 to monitor and document water quality changes provided by the stormwater wetlands.

Excavation of the park’s second phase is currently underway and will include development of a lake with storm water wetlands, a mile of hike and bike trails and the reforestation of native trees. All phases of the project are expected to be complete in 2022.