Awards, Etc.

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.

Latest Update

Phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 is wrapping up construction and expected to be ready for tree planting by Fall 2019. Phase 3A has had a delay with permitting issues but should be resolved by August 2019, and then re-bidding this project in August or September. Phase 4 is starting the permitting process soon and should be starting construction very close to the 3A schedule. Phase 5 and 3B will be last, and the order has not been finalized, but we are expecting it all to be complete by 2021.

See past updates

Past Updates

  • Stories to follow in 2019: Bay Area continues fight against flooding
  • Despite hiccups, Exploration Green on track for late 2021 completion
  • (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:

Exploration Green Detention Facility


The Exploration Green project has been recognized for several awards:

  • 2018 EPA Green Infrastructure Award – 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.
  • 2013 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.

Houston Chronicle

Exploration Green protected from commercial development forever

Houston Public Media

Some Clear Lake Residents Oppose New Park Plan For Old Golf Course

Houston Chronicle

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

Business Insider

Houston is tackling the threat of destructive hurricanes and flooding

Washington Post

Reclaiming golf courses could help Houston fight the next Hurricane Harvey

Storm Water Solutions

Drainage Hole-in-One

Houston Chronicle/Bay Area Citizen

Clear Lakes's former golf course-turned reservoir holds up under Harvey


Houston Flood Prevention Plan: High-Priced Golf Courses

USA Today

How this small Houston community survived Hurricane Harvey when other parts didn’t

Fast Company

The Suburban Golf Course, Reconsidered For The Age Of Climate Change

civil + structural ENGINEER

Exploration Green

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

Houston Chronicle

The volunteer effect (Letter to the Editor)

Agrilife TODAY

Residents, AgriLife Extension, others work to ‘Harvey-proof’ Houston-area community

Houston Chronicle

After Harvey, Houston has to get greener


Return on Resilience: A Dollar of Prevention Is Worth $6 in Avoided Costs

Agrilife TODAY

Exploration Green Receives 2018 Excellence in Green Infrastructure Award

Stormwater Solutions

Exploration Green Receives 2018 Excellence in Green Infrastructure Award

Community Impact Newspaper

Bay Area residents prepare for future flooding

Community Impact Newspaper

Exploration Green detention project temporarily halted

Public Works

Could You Stop Chronic Flooding by Repurposing a Golf Course?

Business Insider

Before and after photos show how dead golf courses are being transformed into housing, parks, and flood protection systems

Community Impact Newsletter

Exploration Green granted variance for project to continue

Houston Chronicle

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

Galveston Bay Foundation

Guardian of the Bay Awards Celebration


CLCWA is pleased to announce partnerships with the following entities who have provided support for Exploration Green: