Freshwater wetlands in the Houston-Galveston region provide many ecosystem services. Freshwater wetlands capture rainfall and reduce surface runoff to diminish flooding, store nutrients, filter pollutants, and provide valuable habitat for many species of wildlife.
Southeast Harris County Water Quality Improvement
The majority of tributaries flowing into the western side of Galveston Bay in Harris County do not meet water quality standards and are classified as impaired. Harris County is home to a population of nearly four million people, estimated to double in size by the year 2030. If this population increase occurs as expected, development pressures and non-point source contamination of surface water will likely increase as well. HARC has worked to help local communities improve water quality and quality of life.
The project was led by Dr. Stephanie Glenn, Senior Research Scientist in Hydrology and Watersheds and Lisa Gonzalez, President of HARC. HARC partnered with Harris County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Shead Conservation Solutions to assess the effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMPs) used to improve water quality and mitigate flooding. BMPs such as riparian buffers and wet bottom and dry bottom detention ponds were evaluated for their capability to sequester nutrients, bacteria, and other pollutants from stormwater runoff entering coastal tributaries. To view water quality data collected during the study visit the Stormwater Connection Data Viewer.