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.
Wetlands Friendly Drilling Story Map
Wetlands are all around us, including the major metropolitan cities of the Texas Coastal Zone. Impacts to wetlands include natural pressures, such as sea level rise, droughts, tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as human-induced change.Through funding from the Coastal Impacts Technology Program (CITP), a research initiative of the HARC Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program (EFD), HARC engaged a diverse group of stakeholders in research to benefit the Texas Coastal Zone. The program focused on addressing environmental aspects of oil and gas operations, including site restoration, air emissions, water resources, and workforce development.
As part of this effort, HARC scientists developed an online story map (https://harcresearch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=5f96e54fd1bb457f8f8df9c1798a08f2) to inform the user about the functionality of wetlands in the Texas coastal zone. Datasets include water quality, wetland permits, drilling well locations, wetland elevation, coastal fisheries, and coastal waterbirds. As part of the research and data analysis, HARC partnered with USGS to conduct sediment core sampling; spatial analysis of orphaned wells in proximity to wetlands was conducted to identify potential sampling sites. Results of the sediment coring analysis are included in the story map; results are visualized through graphs and maps. In addition, a detailed visualization tool (the Coastal Resources Viewer, https://gis1.harcresearch.org/txcrv/) was developed illustrating coastal waterbird and fisheries populations.