Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Learn more about our Master Plans and read answers to questions submitted by the community. If you have a question that isn't listed here, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will get you the answers.
Where is Exploration Green located?
Exploration Green is located at the former Clear Lake City Golf Course. The street address of the Phase 1 parking lot is 16203 Diana Ln., Houston, TX 77062. See the Google Map here.
Who should I call if I notice someone violating the established Exploration Green rules of use or engaging in other potentially criminal activity on Exploration Green?
For non-emergencies call the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office at (281) 488-4040. The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) has a standing agreement with the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office to prosecute any criminal activity occurring on Exploration Green. The Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office is located just two blocks away from Exploration Green.
For emergencies call 911.
Can I feed the animals and fish?
Please don’t! Exploration Green is forming a native habitat for native species. The fish, ducks, and other birds and animals can fend for themselves. In addition, feeding them human food can harm them and creates a dependency issue, and feeding them “wild” bird seed can introduce non-native species of plants that may be invasive to this area.
Will the lakes be stocked with fish and what kind?
No. The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) and Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) prohibit fishing in any of the Exploration Green stormwater detention ponds. The reasons are threefold: (1) Exploration Green has no piers or other structures for fishing. Fishing would likely cause damage to the wetlands adjacent to the detention ponds. (2) Discarded monofilament fishing line, lures, and weights would pollute the detention ponds and possibly injure wildlife or volunteers working in wetlands. (3) In the event of a prolonged drought, the CLCWA is permitted to pump reclaim water to the stormwater detention ponds to prevent algae blooms among other issues. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) allows the use of reclaim water “in remote, restricted, controlled, or limited-access areas where human contact is unlikely” for use as a “supply to non-recreational water bodies.” The waterway, wetland areas, and tree-lined slopes will be designed to serve as natural habitat for fish, birds and wildlife natural to the area.
Why can I see air bubbling up from under the water in several locations on Phase 1, and what is the purpose of the fountains?
The bubblers and fountains in Phase 1 aerate the water (increase the dissolved oxygen in the water). Higher dissolved oxygen supports fish and other aquatic life and helps prevent algae growth. Phase 1 has a combination of bubblers and fountains. The bubblers run year round. When temperatures rise into the 90's the oxygen is depleted faster because the ponds are shallow. At that point the fountains (aerators) are turned on to keep the oxygen level at an acceptable level. Phase 2 will have bubblers and fountains will be added if tests show that the bubblers are not sufficient. Same goes for Phases 3 through 5.
The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) routinely monitors the dissolved oxygen content of the lake and turns the fountains on in late spring when the oxygen content starts to drop and then turns them off in the fall as they are no longer needed.
Exploration Green and the CLCWA minimize the use of fountains because birds seem not to like them and avoid them.
What is Exploration Green versus the Exploration Green Conservancy?
Exploration Green is the former Clear Lake City Golf Course property. The property was purchased by the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) for use as a storm water detention area. The CLCWA created a Master Plan for the area and initially sponsored the formation of the EGC.
Exploration Green Conservancy, Inc. (EGC) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed to develop, preserve and protect the land known as Exploration Green (EG). EGC is responsible for raising philanthropic funds to fulfill the part of the Exploration Green Master Plan that includes the installation, operation and maintenance of the park amenities. The installation, operation and maintenance of the park amenities is not within the CLCWA’s purpose of providing water, sewer, and stormwater management to the Clear Lake Community. EGC is one of several partner organizations to the CLCWA. Other partner organizations include the Galveston Bay Foundation, Trees for Houston, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service/Texas Community Watershed Partners.
What is the long term plan for Exploration Green?
A detailed description of the Master Plan for Exploration Green can be found at the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) website. "The CLCWA embraced the concept early on of engaging the community in developing ideas for the master plan for the project. Although the primary purpose of the project is flood damage reduction and water quality improvements, CLCWA recognized the important function the property has served and will continue to serve as permanent open space in the community.”
How will the Exploration Green be paid for?
The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) is working with the City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control and other government entities to ensure maximum efficiency for the development budget. The CLCWA will fund the actual engineering plan (drains, pipes, etc.) and is working to minimize that cost as well, by looking for sources for dirt removal by entities/local governments searching for dirt for their construction purposes. On a parallel path, the Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) applies for various grants for beautification of parks and green spaces, hike and bike trail development, reforestation plans, and wetland establishment. Both the City of Houston Council Member District E and Harris County Precinct 2 have contributed funding for Exploration Green amenities. EGC also raises funds for amenities and operating expenses through private, business, and corporate donations.
What is the probability of the City of Houston paying to accelerate development? Don’t we pay Houston taxes for these types of spaces?
The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) is responsible for stormwater management within the areas it services. City of Houston residents serviced by the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) are exempted from paying the City of Houston Drainage Fee by an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Houston and CLCWA. The CLCWA bond issue passed overwhelmingly in 2016 has enabled the CLCWA to accelerate the project, with completion of all five phases expected in late 2021 or early 2022.
Is separate funding required for each phase’s amenities?
The plan outlines a budget for the elements of each phase, according to logical planning for the costs of the project. Funding will be ongoing with the pursuit of grants, and the financial contributions of governmental entities in partnership with the CLCWA, as well as fundraising by EGC.
How much of the visualized product is within the scope or authority of the CLCWA to fund?
The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) is primarily responsible for the costs of retrofitting the property with state of the art flood control systems that meet the primary use of the land for flood control purposes. The CLCWA is working with other government entities such as the Harris County Flood Control District that overlap in flood control responsibilities to maximize budgeting efficiency for all stakeholders in development of the engineering requirements. The CLCWA and the Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) are partnering with environmental and recreational elements, as well as aesthetic elements for the plan. The entire project, all visual elements of the master plan, underlying flood control systems, reforestation and habitat maintenance are very high priorities for the CLCWA.
What is the cost per household for the proposed work?
The Clear Lake City Water Authority’s (CLCWA’s) costs for excavating and retrofitting the property will be included in the homeowners’ property taxes. The projected budget varies due to many possible funding variations, the sale and removal of the dirt being one of the biggest. Therefore, it is not possible to provide the exact annual cost, but it will be spread over 20 to 30 years. The Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) will raise funds for the amenities through contributions and grants for a majority of costs at no cost to residents, while the flood control systems will be paid for by the CLCWA.
How much will it cost to maintain once it is all in place and where will the money come from?
The Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC), a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservancy, has been created by and will oversee long term funding, maintenance and future amenity additions for the park space. The model of using a conservancy has worked well for Memorial Park and Hermann Park in Houston. All flood control operations will be managed and funded by the CLCWA in conjunction with Harris County Flood Control and the City of Houston. Under the intergovernmental agreement between the City of Houston and the CLCWA expenditures for flood control and drainage over $2.5 million will continue to exempt property owners in the City of Houston. CLCWA will continue to exempt them from paying the City of Houston Drainage Fee.
Who will maintain the trails, landscaping, etc. and how often?
Overall maintenance of the amenities and landscaping will be determined with the partnership agreements currently in negotiations with the City of Houston and Harris County Flood control. The CLCWA will be involved in all flood control maintenance issues as is its purview. The EGC will pursue partnerships, agreements, fundraising and many volunteers to grow a strong volunteer base for special projects, landscaping needs and maintenance.
What year does the Friendswood Development lease expire and will it have any effect on the plans?
The deed restrictions held by Exxon expire in 2021. The CLCWA and Conservancy Committee have benchmarked over a dozen organizations to develop a solid plan for conserving the property and protecting it. The CLCWA has worked with the land trust and nonprofit Galveston Bay Foundation to create a conservation easement that will protect it from development in perpetuity -- that is forever. The expiration of the deed restrictions should have no impact on the plans.
How far from the residents’ property line will the public area be?
The public area distance from homeowner’s property line is unchanged from what it is now, just like on the front side of homeowners’ properties. The Master Plan calls for the existing elevation to be maintained somewhere between 30 feet and to over 50+ feet in order to save as many of the existing old growth trees as possible and provide an appealing contour. At that point, a slope will begin leading down to the hike and bike trail which would not be visible from most back yards. This gives more privacy than exists today.
How will home privacy be protected (visual and sound)?
Due to the gentle slope that will begin at least thirty feet and often much further from the private property line and then descend at a 4:1 grade to the upper path, any visual and sound effects should be less than current and be even more effective in providing for privacy. The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) has assured homeowner concerns for privacy and security are a major priority in the Master Plan. Existing public use rules already posted on the property restrict public use to daylight hours only.
How close will the paths be to homeowners’ property?
The paths are set back from homeowner’s property lines at a minimum of 50 feet. There are only a few exceptions that are 30 feet away and located at the end of some phases when the path was sloped to meet street elevations. The Master Plan shows a 10’ trail on the upper path and mowed grass for the lower path. The upper paths will be constructed out of concrete for durability. The Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) Board of Directors is currently debating with the lower mowed grass path is necessary or desirable.
Will the trails be lighted at night?
Neither the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) nor the Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) plan to light the trails at night. In keeping with the original use and safety concerns expressed in the first town hall meeting, use of Exploration Green will be limited to daylight hours only.
The Phase 1 area currently has some nice, although small, hills which add some fun to a bicycle ride. Will the new trails have any elevation change or will they be flat?
The paths themselves will likely be flat within each of the five phases, with some gentle sloping from street level for access.
Will the trails be accessible for wheel chairs?
Exploration Green’s main hike and bike trails will meet all federal and state requirements for handicap access. Wheel chair accessibility will be part of the detailed plan.
Will there be a fence required between private property and the “park” property?
That will be a decision by the Clear Lake City Community Association (CLCCA). The CLCCA sets and enforces the deed restrictions for properties adjacent to Exploration Green. Any change to the community association deed restrictions is the responsibility of the CLCCA.
What will the expected view be from backyards on Exploration Green? Will there be a fence, trees, vista, etc.?
There will not be a fence, unless the homeowner chooses to install one or the Clear Lake City Community Association (CLCCA) requires one. The master plan illustrations show an anticipated view. Please see page 27 of the master plan at clcwa.org or clcgreenplan.org.
Will homeowners living on the former golf course still have access while the development is going on for each separate phase?
Yes, there should be no interruption of use of the land except in each specific area as it is under development. The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) is making it a priority to minimize the effects of construction on the surrounding community.
What are the prospects of other uses such as more athletics, civic center, etc.?
Prospects for additional amenities over time are dependent on community input, financing, space availability and potential impact on conservation and flood control requirements. Opening the property to additional uses and amenities is not planned at this time, and any new development will have to meet strict environmental requirements of the existing conservation easement administered by the Galveston Bay Foundation.
What “safety net” will be around all water features?
The safe use of the park amenities will require supervision for young children, just like any park area where children play.
Will anything be done to help control the mosquito population with the still water and marsh-like areas?
Managing mosquito populations in subtropical climates like Clear Lake is a challenge even today. Exploration Green actively promotes natural solutions to mosquito control, including natural predator species of dragonflies, and fish in the stormwater detention ponds and plants to limit mosquitoes. Moving water will help avoid any atypical mosquito problem. A Boy Scout erected six bat roosting boxes on Phase 1 as an Eagle Project to encourage bats, a natural predator of mosquitos, to inhabit the area. Texas Parks & Wildlife has provided the Exploration Green Conservancy (EGC) a grant to construct swift towers. Swifts are also natural mosquito predators. As anywhere in the Bay Area, it is best to use repellant when walking outside during the rainy season.
What will be done to control the alligators and other wildlife on Exploration Green?
While rare, alligators or other wildlife, found on the property should be reported to the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) offices at (281) 488-1164 as soon as sighted. Appropriate professionals will be called in to relocate them to more distant habitat, just as in done in other areas of Clear Lake when such creatures get too close to the public in the existing bayous and drainage ditches. As is stressed at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Johnson Space Center, do not approach, feed, or antagonize dangerous wildlife in the area!
What happens to the large trees close to our homes but not on our property?
Through careful planning, the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) Master Plan will save approximately half of the existing native trees on the property and envisions a large scale replacement effort. An extensive reforestation plan will maximize the establishment natural forests as the phases are completed. A tree nursery in partnership with “Trees for Houston” has been in place since early 2014 and is growing bigger!
What happens to the two beautiful ponds between Torry Pines and Diana below El Dorado & north of Reseda?
The green space’s water areas will be even more beautiful! The waterway is designed to undulate along a natural wetland bank, with wild grasses and wetland vegetation along the shore in places that will maximize the mitigation of algae and serve as a natural filter, making the waterway a beautiful amenity for the park and local neighborhoods.
Will someone be watering the trees and plants or will there be an irrigation system?
Yes, the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) now provides reclaimed water to the Bay Oaks golf course and UHCL and in the past to the golf course at this location. There is a substantial amount of reclaimed water that has been treated but not chlorinated for drinking, that will be used to water the property and provide flow to the waterway.
I live at the corner of Ramada and Reseda. My neighbors and I are inundated by skunks. Is there any program in place to take care of the wildlife before they move to my home during the development stage?
Please contact the Harris County Animal Control now for help with your current skunk problem before it becomes stinky! The Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) will help control any such animals that become a problem in the area as it is developed.
What will happen with the utility lines buried along the Exploration Green property?
The SWA Group Landscape Architects and the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) engineering teams are highly skilled with extensive experience in developments like ours. Most utilities will be within the utility easement behind homeowners’ property line. Careful measures will be taken to ensure that construction in each phase of the property will not damage important infrastructure already in place and move it only as required. Minimizing the inconvenience for residents is a prime goal during the development of this facility.
Will there only be one parking lot and if so how many cars will be able to park there?
The Master Plan centralizes parking at the existing parking lot on Diana Lane (street address 16203 Diana Ln., Houston, TX 77062). The parking area there will be designed for 352 vehicles, however it may be smaller in order to save more mature trees. Activities which would draw larger crowds are focused in the first phase in order to minimize on-street parking in the neighborhoods. There will also be smaller parking areas in Phase 2 and Phase 5. Please note these parking areas are designed primarily for Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) maintenance access and not public parking. Space may be limited.
Are these detention ponds being built in order to provide detention for new development in the district?
Absolutely not. In 2005, the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) instituted detention requirements for new development inside the district which is twice the requirement anywhere else in Harris County. Any new development since that time is required to comply with detention requirements on their own property. This property was purchased to provide detention for Oakbrook and Oakbrook West which were built before detention requirements were created and, the 2,000 acres that drain through the property into Horsepen Bayou to reduce flooding from the start of Horsepen Bayou all the way to Clear Lake.
What happened to the community garden?
The extensive and thoughtful work of the Community Garden subcommittee (from the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) public input project) has not fallen on deaf ears. While the narrow constraints of the property limit some of the amenities that fit along its flood control design, other City of Houston parks in the area, especially Sylvan Rodriguez Park, have an abundance of land and would welcome the expertise and commitment of the Community Gardens subcommittee.