Exploration Green Continues Summer Progress Amid COVID-19

The chairman of Exploration Green Conservancy—a former golf course turned stormwater detention pond between El Camino Real, Bay Area Boulevard, and Space Center Boulevard—said in an August email update that the project’s progress has remained steady in 2020 amid COVID-19.

Exploration Green is a project to turn a former Clear Lake golf course into a detention pond capable of holding 500 million gallons of stormwater.(Courtesy of Clear Lake City Water Authority)

Chair Frank Weary detailed the state of each of the conservancy’s five phases in the email update, adding additional funds will be needed fairly soon to continue development. Even with the setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers have adapted to various circumstances and ensured steady progress, he said.

“Our efforts may be slowed somewhat, but the spirit of our volunteers and their willingness to work in new manners has been fantastic,” he wrote.

Phase 1 is beginning to mature, and Phase 2 construction and sandy soil repairs have been completed. Wetland grasses will be added to Phase 2 this month, along with benches, and additional trees will be added to Phase 2 in the fall, he said.

Phase 3A excavation is almost complete, and volunteers expect to place wetland plants, trees and benches there this fall, Weary said in the update. Excavation on Phase 4 started in early August and is expected to be complete in early 2021. Engineering for Phases 5 and 3B is complete, and construction will start on those once Phase 4 is done. Engineering and construction for the main parking lot replacement is in progress and will continue into the fall.

The project attracted statewide attention this year, both at the Texas Land Conservation Conference in February and from conservation nonprofit Texan by Nature in April, Weary said in the update. Exploration Green received financial support from TxN as one of the nonprofit’s six 2020 Conservation Wranglers, which Weary said will help fund the entry plaza.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will decide this month on a final grant for the trails in Phases 5 and 3B, and more funds will be needed to finish the plaza, he added. The conservancy was unable to campaign for additional funds in the spring due to COVID-19, and money is needed to complete irrigation efforts for new trees and provide other amenities not covered by grants, he said.

“We recognize that some of these [economic shutdown concerns and] considerations may still be impacting some, but we are nearing the date when the additional funds for irrigation systems and other amenities will be needed,” Weary said. “We desperately need [supporters’] help as you can give it.”

The conservancy hosts events such as sunset yoga and offers several acres of lake and wetland areas with more than a mile of trails for walking and jogging. Conservancy leaders will continue making efforts to connect with Clear Creek ISD schools once it is safe to do so, Weary said.

For more about the conservancy, visit www.explorationgreen.org.


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