Greenprint Projects

Houston/Galveston: Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem services assessment


A pink bird flies over a wetland with a factory in the background.
Houston/Galveston The DOW Chemical plant in Freeport, Texas. DOW is working with TNC to demonstrate that protecting nature can be both a global business strategy and a company priority. © Jennifer Molnar/The Nature Conservancy

In collaboration with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and with support from local foundations, The Conservation Fund evaluated lands of highest green infrastructure and ecosystem services value. The plan updates H-GAC's existing decision support tool, known as Eco-Logical.

The study area spread across 13 counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Fort Bend, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller, Austin, Colorado, Matagorda, Wharton, and Walker County. Ultimately, TCF recommended concrete actions and strategies, along with a matching timeline for their implementation.

Year Published:  2013

State:  Texas

Landscape Context:  Inland

Housing Density:  Suburban, Rural

Funding Type:  Both (Public and Private)

Habitat Focus:  Forest, Herbaceous, Wetlands

Organizations Involved:

The Conservation Fund (TCF), Houston Wilderness, Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)


Water Supply, Water Quality, Floodplains/Flood Prevention, Open Space/Habitat, Climate Resilience, Carbon Sequestration, Air Quality, Biodiversity

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were consulted.

Planning Process:

TCF split the project into three main components: create a green infrastructure network, evaluate ecosystem services and multi-benefit areas, implementation recommendations. A Technical Advisory Committee was convened to prioritize ecosystem services, which resulted in a focus on water quality and supply, air quality, storm water and flood management, carbon sequestration.

Finally, in the implementation component, TCF identified underutilized resources, programs, and funding for the conservation and easement of areas identified to be highly valuable economically, environmentally, or both.

Desired Outcomes:

TCF aimed to develop a decision support tool to help regional leaders efficently and cost effectively preserve the region's landscape. More specifically, direct land use policy with public, science-based data, encourage sustainable development, inform H-CAG's growth scenarios, and identify financing mechanisms for the protection of green infrastructure.

What It Accomplished:

Helped establish the scientific and mapping foundation for the following ongoing efforts: 1) H-GAC's Eco-Logical program in the 13-county area for advance mitigation and transportation planning for avoidance and minimization of impacts, 2) City of Houston and partner efforts to implement the Bayou Greenways Initiative, 3) Houston Wilderness's eight-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan.

Additional Information and Reports