Our Work

Galveston Bay Wetland Permit and Mitigation Assessment

Freshwater wetlands in the Houston-Galveston region provide many ecosystem services. Freshwater wetlands capture rainfall and reduce surface runoff to diminish flooding, store nutrients, filter pollutants, and provide valuable habitat for many species of wildlife. These important wetland habitats are being lost at an increasing rate in the Lower Galveston Bay Watershed. Losses are largely due to the growing human population and associated development patterns in the Houston-Galveston Region.

The federal wetland permitting and mitigation process is a key way in which wetland function and ecosystem services are maintained in the Houston-Galveston region. However, without examining the long-term status of permitting and mitigation activities, there is no way of knowing whether the federal wetland policy is achieving its intended goals. Furthermore, the federal wetland permitting process as it is implemented in Texas is separate and disconnected from construction permitting and development ordinances implemented by local and county governments.

This project is led by Lisa Gonzalez, President and Chief Executive Officer, of HARC. The HARC team is partnering with the Texas General Land Office and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Texas Coastal Watershed Program to examine the long-term status of wetland permit and mitigation activities in the Lower Galveston Bay watershed. The ultimate goal of the project is to bridge the gap between local residential and commercial development, land use permitting decisions of local governments, the federal wetland permitting process, and regional habitat conservation goals.

Explore the HARC Wetland Impact and Watershed Planning tool at

Project Announcements

Press Releases

The online wetland mitigation mapping tool has been released to identify impacts to wetlands and potential hazards associated with surrounding development.

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

Brad Neish will present at the 2014 AWRA Spring Specialty Conference (Geographic Information Systems and Water Resources VIII - Data to Decisions) in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 12, 2014.

Press Releases

HARC created an interactive mapping application to allow the public to understand some of the potential environmental impacts the March 2014 oil spill may have on the Galveston Bay.

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

HARC Research Scientist, Stephanie Glenn, Program Director, Hydrology and Watersheds, was invited to present at an international workshop on Sustainability of Engineered Rivers in Arid Lands in Austin, Texas.


Primary Researcher