Note: This story was updated at noon Oct. 20 to correct the spelling of two names.

Phase 3A of Exploration Green, a 178-acre flood control project in the Clear Lake area, is now complete, according to an Oct. 15 press release from Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, the project’s design engineer.

Exploration Green, which was named due to the community’s legacy for exploration and proximity to the Johnson Space Center, is a former golf course that is being converted into five detention ponds, each of which can hold 100 million gallons of stormwater, protecting up to 3,000 homes from flooding. Additionally, Exploration Green serves as a nature park of 105 acres of natural habitat with wetlands and native grasses, attracting birds and other wildlife; 6 miles of hike and bike trails; two athletic fields; and other amenities, according to the release.

Phase 3A includes a 16.6-acre detention pond, 11.4 acres of natural habitat and wetlands and 0.8 miles of trails. Phase 3B, which will be completed next summer, includes an 11.3-acre pond, 12.2 acres of habitat and 0.67 miles of trails.

Phase 4, which is under construction and will be completed this fall, features a 22.5-acre pond, 9.8 acres of habitat and a 1-mile trail. Phase 5 has not yet begun.

Phases 1 and 2 were completed in April 2018 and September 2020, respectively.

The Clear Lake City Water Authority, which provides water, sewer and drainage services locally, is spearheading the project. Nonprofit group Exploration Green Conservancy is working with the CLCWA to preserve the project’s green spaces, the release reads.

During Hurricane Harvey, Phase 1 of the project, which was only 80% excavated at the time, detained 100 million gallons of water, protecting at least 150 homes from flooding. The project also benefited neighbors during Hurricane Nicholas and tropical storms Imelda and Beta, according to the release.

“As we recently watched Hurricane Nicholas test this latest phase addition of Exploration Green, it performed as designed and has impressively improved flooding conditions for the surrounding Clear Lake community,” said Jennifer Morrow, CLCWA’s general manager.

Anecdotal evidence from area real estate agents indicates homes adjacent to the project has increased in value by 50% to 100% over the past three years. The project also lowers flood insurance costs, the release reads.

Nearly 70% of the 40,000 residents living in Clear Lake are within walking distance of Exploration Green, and the remaining 30% are less than 1 mile from one of its phases, according to the release.