A Jersey Village detention basin that blends natural flood control with recreation is serving as a model for sustainable development across the county.

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), in partnership with Harris County Precinct 4 and the City of Jersey Village, completed the Jersey Meadows Stormwater Detention Basin in 2014 with a goal of reducing flood risk to residents along White Oak Bayou in northwest Harris County.

In December, the West Houston Association, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing innovative ideas to the Houston area, awarded the project the Sustainability Stars award in the following three categories:

• Investigation Star – Recognizes project sponsors who study or evaluate the use of sustainability elements in their project prior to any project implementation activities.
• Investment Star – Recognizes project sponsors who include sustainability elements in the design of their project.
• Integration Star – Recognizes project sponsors who include sustainability elements in a constructed project.

While most flood control basins in Harris County do not retain water, the Jersey Village project features a permanent wet-bottom basin with wetlands that naturally filter stormwater and provide natural habitat to wildlife.

The project also involved restoring all unprotected wetlands impacted by basin construction. These wetlands remain separate from the stormwater quality treatment wetlands.

To complete the project, HCFCD reforested the site with native trees and shrubs that will reduce long-term maintenance costs associated with mowing and removing undesirable or invasive species.

An inter-local agreement with the City of Jersey Village allowed for construction of a trail around the perimeter of the basin. Trail users can now access the site for multi-use objectives, providing an opportunity for recreation in addition to flood damage reduction and water quality improvement goals.