Exploration Green Detention Facility
Exploration Green was created for the primary purpose of detention by retrofitting nearly 200 acres of a former golf course open green space in to a series of detention ponds. When local developers expressed interest in turning the area in to a massive commercial development, residents in the community approached the CLCWA Board of Directors.
After engineers and hydrologists reviewed the feasibility of the idea the presented by the Board of Directors, voters approved bond funding, and the property was purchased. While the primary intent was for detention, it was recognized that the area could be a multi-purpose space used and enjoyed by the community.
A series of town hall meetings were held for public input which helped guide a masterplan layout created by SWA Architects which included ADA accessible trails, native trees and grasses, benches, and other amenities. The original masterplan document can be found here. Construction was divided up into Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, 3A, 3B, 4, and 5.
8/10/2020: Phase 3A is nearing completion and will be open to the public soon. The contractor has some minor site grading work left and then native grass planting. The Exploration Green Conservancy will start planting trees this fall when the weather cools off. To give newly planted native grass the best chance to grow, please stay on the trails and off the grass areas. We are anticipating this section to open to the public in September 2020.
Phase 4 is beginning construction as of 7/27/2020 and officially closed to the public while under construction. This section borders Fairwind, Neptune, Ramada, and Reseda. There will be some daily street closures on Neptune and 1-2 uniformed peace officers directing traffic and for pedestrian safety. Please be extra cautious when in the area.
Phases 3B and 5 will be last and both expected to start construction in 2021.
Short Term Closure of Exploration Green Phase 2
Phase 2 (bordering the El Dorado, Diana, Reseda, Torry Pines block) will be temporarily closed to the public for construction modifications starting Wednesday, April 22, 2020 and anticipated to be re-opened in Summer 2020. Heavy construction equipment and personnel will be working to replace an unexpected sandy layer of dirt causing bank erosion and stability concerns. We understand the timing isn't ideal for the large numbers of the public currently enjoying the area, but these repairs must be done before hurricane season starts so the maximum storm water detention storage capacity is available if needed. Your patience and support are appreciated.
Phase 3A is well underway with construction. Most of the heavy dirt hauling should be complete by the end of the summer or early fall. Please standby for the official temporary closure date announcement.
- 11/10/2019: Phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 is wrapping up construction and expected to be ready for tree planting by December 2019. Phase 3A is starting construction on Monday, November 11, 2019. Please be aware of sidewalk and road lane closures in the area on El Dorado between Torry Pines and Diana. Phase 4 is in the permitting process and projected to start construction around the first of the year 2020. Phases 5 and 3B will be last, and the order has not been finalized.
- Cities along Clear Creek look at new rainfall intensity data
- Despite hiccups, Exploration Green on track for late 2021 completion
- Stories to follow in 2019: Bay Area continues fight against flooding
- (2/13/19) Phase 1 construction is complete and Phase 2 is well under way. Phase 3 is scheduled to start construction in the late spring. We will post more updates soon, but for now we are happy to announce the Exploration Green won an award from the Urban Land Institute. A Facebook video of the nomination is available here.
- (3/7/2017) Phase 1A and 1B are now complete. 1A currently has mix of Texas native grasses growing. Phase 1B has a wildflower mix planted for erosion control that is just starting to grow. The Texas native grass seed mix will be planted at 1B later this year when the temperature warms up. The Exploration Green Conservancy will have planted over 200 trees and plants by the end of March in 1A and 1B. Various species of birds have returned to the area.
- (3/7/2017) 1C is the final phase of development in this area and will be starting construction soon. Depending on rain delays, we are projecting 1C to be finished by Fall 2017. To view the phase 1 construction layout please see map . To view the entire plan please see the CLCWA Master Plan (PDF file).
- CLCWA’s amended discharge permit from the TCEQ was officially approved in September 2016. The amended permit document can be viewed here.
The Exploration Green Conservancy, Inc. (EGC) has been formed and incorporated to develop, preserve and protect the land known as Exploration Green (EG).
EGC is dedicated to creating, maintaining and operating the habitat restoration and recreation facilities within Exploration Green while concurrently supporting the use of the area for storm water detention in order to:
- enhance the quality of life and outdoor experience for residents in the greater Bay Area;
- provide abundant natural habitat areas for migrating and resident wild birds, butterflies and other appropriate wildlife;
- create nature trails for hiking, biking and pedestrian commuting, athletic fields and other recreation areas;
- create functioning wetlands, lakes and other water features; and
- sponsor education efforts via area schools and other groups to enhance understanding of natural habitats, wildlife, environmental conservation, wetlands and storm water issues.
For more information on how to volunteer or contribute please visit their website at: https://www.explorationgreen.org/.
Exploration Green Detention Facility
The Exploration Green project has been recognized for several awards:
- 2020 Engineering Excellence Award National Recognition Award – American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
- 2020 Conservation Wrangler Award – Texan by Nature
- 2019 Texas Engineering Excellence Award, Gold Medal for Exploration Green Phase 1 – American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Texas division
- 2019 Treasure of the Bay – Texas Master Naturalist Galveston Bay Chapter
- 2019 Parks and Natural Area On-the-Ground Project over $500k – H-GAC
- 2019 Our Great Region “Excellence Award” – H-GAC
- 2019 People’s Choice Award – Urban Land Institute
- 2019 Finalist, Development of Distinction – Urban Land Institute
- 2018 Stormwater Management Green Infrastructure (second place) – National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA)
- 2018 Exploration Green Day Proclamation – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner
- 2018 Mayor’s Proud Partner Recognition – Keep Houston Beautiful, Mayor Sylvester Turner
- 2018 Guardian of the Bay – Galveston Bay Foundation
- 2018 Allied World Resilience Award – National Wildlife Foundation
- 2018 Special Service Award – Houston region Sierra Club
- 2016 Our Great Region “Connections Award” – H-GAC
- 2015 Arbor Award – Trees for Houston
Exploration Green Conservancy and Executive Board Member Debra Goode both received an annual Arbor Award from Trees For Houston, our highly acclaimed partner for acquiring, nurturing and planting native Texas trees.
- 2015 American Society of Landscape Architects Texas Chapter Honor Award – American Society of Landscape Architects
Landscape architectural firm SWA Architecture Group, creator of the detailed Exploration Green Master Plan, received national recognition for the concept and quality of the project’s Master Plan.
- 2014 Exploration Green Day Proclamation – Houston Mayor Anise Parker
- 2013 Parks and Natural Areas Award for Planning – Houston-Galveston Area Council
EGC won the Planning Award while facing stiff competition like the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, testifying to the project leadership’s clarity of vision and planning, our partner organizations in this enterprise, and the number and enthusiasm of our volunteer corps.
- 2013 Mayor’s Proud Partner Recognition – Keep Houston Beautiful, Mayor Anise Parker
The Office of Houston Mayor Anise Parker recognized CLCWA’s “tremendous efforts on behalf of our city.” Keep Houston Beautiful honored the Exploration Green flood control, conservation and recreation project.
Exploration Green has been recognized in articles around the area, Texas, and the Nation.
Exploration Green wins Houston-Galveston Area Council award
H-GAC gave the Exploration Green Conservancy an Our Great Region Award in the Excellence category.
Clear Lake turns ex-golf course into detention area to drain floodwater
Houston Public Media
Clear Lake Detention Project Underway May Have Saved Hundreds Of Homes During Harvey
Houston Business Journal
Former golf course to protect thousands of Bay Area homes from flooding
The Texas Tribune
In search of a flood fix, one Houston community turned to a golf course
Reclaiming golf courses could help Houston fight the next Hurricane Harvey
Houston Chronicle/Bay Area Citizen
Clear Lakes's former golf course-turned reservoir holds up under Harvey
How this small Houston community survived Hurricane Harvey when other parts didn’t
Houston Real Estate Landscape Swamplot
Surveying the Former Clear Lake City Golf Club Now That the Hazards Have Taken Over the Course
Houston Business Journal
Houston-area flood-mitigation, green space project finishes first phase
Residents, AgriLife Extension, others work to ‘Harvey-proof’ Houston-area community
Exploration Green Receives 2018 Excellence in Green Infrastructure Award
Before and after photos show how dead golf courses are being transformed into housing, parks, and flood protection systems
Work to resume at golf-course turned reservoir Exploration Green after pond construction delay
National Wildlife Federation
Houston’s Exploration Green Honored with NWF-Allied World Resilience Award
CLCWA is pleased to announce partnerships with the following entities who have provided support for Exploration Green:
Exploration Green Detention Facility Photo Galleries
Click on each image to see it full size.