Our Work

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 is working to help local communities improve water quality and quality of life.

The project is led by Dr. Stephanie Glenn, Senior Research Scientist in Hydrology and Watersheds and Lisa Gonzalez, Vice President of HARC. HARC is partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Harris County, the US 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 will be evaluated for their capability to sequester nutrients, bacteria, and other pollutants from stormwater runoff entering tidal streams. The project will also preserve a tract of riparian and wetland habitat along Clear Creek which is located in a highly suburban and developing watershed.

HARC will recommend approaches to facilitate regional implementation of the water quality BMPs should they prove valuable in protecting or improving water quality. The effort and will also provide recommendations for future habitat conservation efforts in the Lower Galveston Bay watershed with broader applicability to other watersheds along the Gulf Coast.

Project Announcements

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

Stephanie Glenn will present at the 2014 American Water Resources Association Annual Water Resources Conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia, November 5, 2014.

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

The Paramount Theatre and The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation presented the regional premiere of Watershed in Austin, Texas, on January 15th.

Primary Researcher