Headwaters At The Comal

Background:

The Headwaters at the Comal is a 16-acre site containing unique riparian habitat and the first springs of the Comal River, the historical water source for the city of New Braunfels. From 1940 to 2004, the site was completely paved over with impervious asphalt, used by New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) as a warehouse, fleet and facilities yard, and office space. In keeping with a longstanding commitment to the environment and the community, NBU has committed to restoring this site into a multi-use facility honoring the cultural and environmental history of the area and encouraging future stewardship of water and environmental resources.

Comal River

Project:

The Headwaters project is a multi-phased project designed to reintroduce the people of New Braunfels and the surrounding area to their natural water and ecological resources. Phase I, substantially completed in November 2017, focuses on the restoration of a large section of the site as an immersive native landscape and restoration of the springs and riparian areas. Phase II, in the fundraising stage, will focus on sustainability and the adaptive reuse of existing structures to develop new public amenities. Community resources will include: an Environmental Education Center (with ‘living’ exterior walls featuring pollinator-friendly plants), a water feature using rainwater collected from the building, constructed wetland cells that demonstrate how wetlands cleanse and filter water, central courtyard, event lawn, display and demonstration low-water gardens, walking trails, outdoor classrooms, natural spring overlook, and composting facilities.

Headwaters map

Restoration:

Upon completion of the project, 85% of the impervious cover currently on the property will be removed, reducing the amount of pollutants and solids entering the Comal River by 94%.  The springs and riparian habitats will be restored, improving habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species.  The removal of invasive species and restoration of native plant communities will increase the availability of riparian woodland habitat in an area of Texas rapidly losing that habitat to development. A number of innovative best practices for managing stormwater, gray water, rainwater and black water will be implemented and combined with other low impact development techniques to demonstrate and educate the community on ways everyone can become better stewards of their natural environments. Read up on restoration updates at the Headwaters here.

Community Impact:

The goal of Headwaters at the Comal is to become a resource for the greater community: a living demonstration of restoration and conservation efforts for businesses, developers, and homeowners, a leader in water and energy conservation topics, and a beautiful place where people of all ages, skills and abilities come to learn, enjoy and connect with nature.

Headwaters design

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