Creekside Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices
Clear Creek is considered to be impaired by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for high levels of bacteria and low levels of dissolved oxygen. These impairments are caused in part by polluted stormwater runoff from developed areas in League City and other communities in the watershed. Stormwater pollution is rarely intentional but rather is the cumulative result of our everyday actions. BMPs are a way to capture and treat polluted stormwater before it is released into our waterways.
Most of us give little thought to how we manage runoff from rain storms, but it has a significant impact on the world around us. Using Best Management Practices (BMPs) like rain gardens, pervious pavement, rain barrels, and bio-swales can treat water where it falls and reduce the negative effects of storm water runoff. BMPs can also help to mitigate flooding by encouraging infiltration and retaining water during the peak of the rain storm drain system, keeping it from overwhelming the system and therefore reducing flooding. BMPs can easily be incorporated into most any yard or landscaped area. If each of us were to make a small change, Clear Creek would see big results!
Clean Water Act Grant
In February 2011, the City of League City was awarded a Clean Water Act, Section 319(h) grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) through the Nonpoint Source Program for the purposes of constructing a WaterSmart Park and to investigate different Best Management Practices (BMPs) and financial incentives to encourage people to implement BMPs on their own property. As part of the grant, a task force was created to identify areas of the district which would benefit from the implementation of green infrastructure and stormwater Best Management Practices.
About Rain Gardens
A rain garden is a shallow depression planted with native and adapted plants that collect rainwater runoff from roofs, parking lots and other surfaces. Rain gardens (also known as bio-retention areas) improve water quality much the same way that a wetland naturally cleans water. These gardens vary in size and design based on the amount of water they are designed to capture and treat.
Commercial rain gardens are typically larger in size and designed to capture more runoff. They also contain an under-drain system and an overflow to prevent water from backing up and flooding parking lots, streets or other areas. Homeowner rain gardens are typically smaller in size and designed to capture runoff from a smaller area.
They are typically situated in a low area of the property away from buildings and water sheet flows into the garden. They are typically designed without an under-drain or an overflow, water is simply allowed to pool and filter at its own pace. Rain gardens have all of the maintenance requirements of a typical flower garden including weeding, periodic mulching and irrigation during times of drought.
WaterSmart is an approach to natural landscaping based on three principles: water conservation, water quality improvement and habitat for wildlife. A number of practices can be incorporated into new or existing flower beds and lawns to build healthier landscapes that have a positive impact on water quality. Principles such as building healthy soil, using fewer chemicals, planting native plants, and planting less turf can be applied to both home and commercial landscapes.
The following are some plant lists available to you for your environmentally friendly project:
How It Works
The concept of collecting and storing rain water is not new and water tanks can be seen in historic photos of League City. Water that drains from an impervious surface (roof, driveway or parking lot) can easily be captured and stored for later non-potable usage. This provides several benefits.
First, water that is collected is not immediately funneled into ditches and swales, thus reducing the amount of runoff from the property and the amount of water traveling through the storm drain system, reducing flow volumes and rates and decreasing the likelihood of flooding. Second, stored water can be used in place of costly potable water for irrigating flowers and lawns and for washing vehicles.
Harvesting systems can be small scale such as rain barrels which are typically less than 100 gallons, large above ground tanks that range from 500-5,000 gallons in size or underground systems that can exceed 10,000 gallon capacity. While a large system will have a greater impact, rain barrels are an easy, low cost practice for home owners to adopt and are a simple way to introduce stormwater BMPs to the community.
Rain Barrel Programs
During various times of the year, the City of League City offers rain barrel programs. You do not have to be a resident to purchase a rain barrel from League City, however League City residents are potentially eligible for rebates on rain barrels purchased through the program.
Permeable pavement is an alternative to asphalt or concrete allows rain water to drain through the porous surface to a reservoir underneath for temporary storage. Many variations exist from very basic rock or gravel parking areas that allow water to soak through, to pervious concrete and paver systems.
This variety allows for pervious pavement to be used in many different situations. Soil in League City typically has very high clay content, so water does not absorb quickly or easily into the ground. Because of this, an under drain system is required to help move water through the pervious system and into the storm drain.