Oct 14, 2022 - News

New ordinance protects over 7,000 acres of natural habitats

Illustration of a forest in a bell jar.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The City Council approved an ordinance that will protect 7,423 acres of natural habitat in Houston's parks.

Why it matters: This is the first time Houston has passed any land preservation legislation, and it's the most significant action the city has taken to protect natural habitats, according to Kelli Ondracek, the natural resources manager at the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Between the lines: The preservation will protect wildlife and ecosystems that help mitigate flooding, store carbon, reduce urban heat island effects, improve air and water quality, and provide educational opportunities.

  • Plus: Thousands of acres are now protected against development, which is constantly happening in Houston.

What they're saying: "We have tried to distribute our nature preserves pretty evenly throughout the city of Houston so they're accessible to all different communities," Ondracek said in a Houston Parks and Recreation Department video.

Details: The ordinance preserves the natural habitats, such as forests, prairies and wetlands, within 26 of Houston's 381 parks.

  • Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the largest nature preserve, spanning 5,000 acres, and has wetlands, forests and a lake.

What's next: The natural resources team will create habitat management plans for each location and prioritize restoration projects in the 26 parks.


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