Ecosystem Services for Houston-Galveston
To ensure that the area remains competitive and attractive, we’re using our expertise in green infrastructure planning to help local officials and conservation partners in the Houston-Galveston area plan for a greener region.
By preserving the best natural areas, directing development away from flood-prone regions, and ensuring that residents have safe and easy access to local parks, trails and green space, the Houston-Galveston area can improve water management and air quality, buffer against the impacts of a changing climate, and enhance the livability of the community.
Our RoleAt the request of local leaders and with support from the Houston Endowment and other local foundations, The Conservation Fund, in collaboration with Houston Wilderness and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) completed a green infrastructure network and ecosystem service planning initiative for the Houston-Galveston region. Download the Houston-Galveston Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services Assessment here. In a separate, but related, effort we worked with the Houston Parks Board (HPB) and its funding partner, the Houston Endowment, to develop a rapid-assessment tool to help HPB make strategic, cost-effective park development decisions. Download the Houston Parks Rapid Assessment for New Parkland Acquisition Report (PDF).
The green infrastructure plan we helped develop provides a toolkit of maps and analysis for regional leaders to take a strategic approach to a greener Houston-Galveston. The plan:
- Identifies the region’s forests, prairies, wetlands, rivers and streams to be protected, as well as landscape hubs and corridors to link these areas.
- Evaluates the economic benefits these lands and waters provide and identifies the areas most important to conserve for economic and environmental reasons.
- Provides more than two-dozen recommendations for implementing the plan, and suggests ways to match available resources to the most pressing community needs.
Similarly, our rapid-assessment tool for parkland acquisition is helping local leaders and park planners:
- Prioritize opportunities for acquiring parkland,
- Identify locations for new parks and park expansions,
- Evaluate requests from Houston residents for new parks, and
- Raise capital for conservation projects.
Why This Project MattersThe green infrastructure maps we developed are helping area communities understand all the valuable natural resources available to help minimize urban flooding, support food production, and promote livability. The maps also help decision makers understand tradeoffs for future growth and development scenarios. The plan provides a framework for a multitude of federal, state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations to make informed decisions about conservation and restoration priorities.
- Houston Endowment
- Houston Wilderness
- Houston-Galveston Area Council
- Houston Parks Board
- Article: “Grow for the Green: The Business Case for Green Infrastructure”