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Hurricane Harvey

Clear Lake Detention Project Underway May Have Saved Hundreds Of Homes During Harvey

But some opponents of “Exploration Green” still don’t like it.

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  • John Branch, board president of the CLCWA, and Jackie Hutto, communications director of the Exploration Green Conservancy, stand on the site of Phase 1 of the project. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
    John Branch, board president of the CLCWA, and Jackie Hutto, communications director of the Exploration Green Conservancy, stand on the site of Phase 1 of the project. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
  • Excavators are digging out part of the detention pond for Phase 1 of Exploration Green. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
    Excavators are digging out part of the detention pond for Phase 1 of Exploration Green. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
  • Phase 1 of Exploration Green is slated to be complete in November. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
    Phase 1 of Exploration Green is slated to be complete in November. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
  • Native soils and plants are good at absorbing water. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin/Houston Public Media)
    Native soils and plants are good at absorbing water. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin/Houston Public Media)
  • Exploration Green will be a stormwater detention system  doubling as a public park. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)
    Exploration Green will be a stormwater detention system doubling as a public park. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin)

The Clear Lake City Water Authority began excavation of the former Clear Lake Golf Course a year and half ago and has completed about 80 percent of Phase 1.

But that was enough to make a difference during Harvey, said John Branch, board president of the CLCWA.

"It held about 100 million gallons of water that would have gone down and hit the bayous and flooded more homes along the bayou," he said.

Branch estimates this saved around 150 homes in the Oakbrook subdivision, which includes the majority of the old golf course.

When the whole project, known as Exploration Green, is finished – estimated to be in five years – the ponds will hold half a billion gallons, taking thousands of homes out of the 500-year floodplain, Branch said.

But Kenneth Proctor is not convinced. He's part of the group Friends of the Old Golf Course, which has fought the project from the beginning.

"The same houses seem to have flooded again that have always had problems with flooding," he said.

He and other homeowners along the property don't like the large detention ponds that are part of Exploration Green, because they will cause a lot of old trees and brush to go away.

He believes flooding can be mitigated with smaller ponds and creeks.

 

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