Houston/Galveston: Green Infrstructure and Ecosystem Services Assessment

In collaboration with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and with support from local foundations, The Conservation Fund evaluated lands of highest green infrastructure and ecosystem services value. The plan updates H-GAC's existing decision support tool, known as Eco-Logical. The study area spread across 13 counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Fort Bend, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller, Austin, Colorado, Matagorda, Wharton, and Walker County. Ultimately, TCF recommended concrete actions and strategies, along with a matching timeline for their implementation.
Year Published2013
StateTexas
Landscape ContextInland
Housing DensitySuburban, Rural
Funding TypeBoth (Public and Private)
Habitat FocusForest, Herbaceous, Wetlands
Organizations InvolvedThe Conservation Fund (TCF), Houston Wilderness, Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)
ValuesWater Supply, Water Quality, Floodplains/Flood Prevention, Open Space/Habitat, Climate Resilience, Carbon Sequestration, Air Quality, Biodiversity
Stakeholder InvolvementStakeholders were consulted.
Planning ProcessTCF split the project into three main components: create a green infrastructure network, evaluate ecosystem services and multi-benefit areas, implementation recommendations. A Technical Advisory Committee was convened to prioritize ecosystem services, which resulted in a focus on water quality and supply, air quality, storm water and flood management, carbon sequestration. Finally, in the implementation component, TCF identified underutilized resources, programs, and funding for the conservation and easement of areas identified to be highly valuable economically, environmentally, or both.
Desired OutcomesTCF aimed to develop a decision support tool to help regional leaders efficently and cost effectively preserve the region's landscape. More specifically, direct land use policy with public, science-based data, encourage sustainable development, inform H-CAG's growth scenarios, and identify financing mechanisms for the protection of green infrastructure.
What It AccomplishedHelped establish the scientific and mapping foundation for the following ongoing efforts: 1) H-GAC's Eco-Logical program in the 13-county area for advance mitigation and transportation planning for avoidance and minimization of impacts, 2) City of Houston and partner efforts to implement the Bayou Greenways Initiative, 3) Houston Wilderness's eight-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan.