Among the resources Exploration Green will receive as a 2020 Conservation Wrangler—the designation it received from conservation nonprofit Texan by Nature, or TxN,—are connections to technical expertise and industry support; assistance with stakeholder engagement; marketing support for individual initiatives; and help with social media, newsletters and website content, according to the release. TxN will also recognize the conservancy and other recipients in October at a ceremony in Dallas.
“While 2020 is vastly different than we imagined even a month ago, our work continues as we are inspired by our Conservation Partners, these projects, and the need for nature as a fundamental piece of our health,” said TxN president and CEO Joni Carswell in the release. “We look forward to sharing Conservation Wrangler learnings, best practices, and opportunities to scale conservation efforts...in 2020 and beyond.”
In addition to stormwater relief, the conservancy improves water quality, provides carbon sequestration and has doubled plant and bird diversity, per the release. Projects received the designation based on audiences reached, community partnerships, conservation outcomes and community benefits. The set of projects affects land, water, habitat and more, spanning all of the state’s 254 counties and 12 ecological regions.
Exploration Green is divided into five phases, including numerous recreation areas and nature preserves. Upon completion, it will include native grasses, 5,000 native trees, 150,000 wetland plants, 40 acres of lakes and six miles of trails for area residents, per the release. Phases 1 and 2 are completed and connected so that stormwater drains from Phase 2 to Phase 1. Construction is underway on the first part of the third phase, and construction is expected to start for the fourth phase later this spring.
Once completed, Exploration Green will provide stormwater detention for 500 million gallons of water, protecting over 2,000 nearby homes from seasonal flooding. Early phases of the project saved over 150 homes from flooding during Hurricane Harvey and completely mitigated flooding during 2019 Tropical Storm Imelda, the release states.
“The real gratifying part is seeing communities come together around this thing,” Exploration Green Conservancy Chair Frank Weary told Community Impact Newspaper in March. “People feel good about what’s going on in the community.”