TR-529 Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan Implementation - Los Fresnos Best Management Practices (BMP) Implementation

Authors: Jaime Flores

Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) implemented the Contract Name: Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) Implementation – Los Fresnos Best Management Practices (BMPs) Implementation Contract Number: 582-17-70357, from August 1 2016 through August 31, 2020.  This project was funded by a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This project funded the implementation of selected low impact development (LID) improvements that are outlined in the Update to the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan (2017).  Two sites in the city of Los Fresnos were selected: the City of Los Fresnos Nature Park and the Los Fresnos City Independent School District High School student parking lot and stormwater detention basin.

Los Fresnos developed a 20-acre nature park immediately south of the Los Fresnos High School, with funding in part from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, on land purchased with Coastal Impact Assistance Program funds. With this Contract, LID elements were installed in the nature park including the installation of a bio-retention basin in the parking lot, a rainwater collection system from the roof of the restroom building to a stormwater cistern, installation of a bio-swale to capture stormwater overflow from the cistern and educational signage. High school classes are also able to utilize the park as an outdoor classroom for a variety of natural sciences- and natural resource-based classwork.

The Los Fresnos High School has a large, sloped parking lot that drains into a stormwater detention basin that happens to be part of an abandoned Resaca.  With this Contract, several LID, BMPS were implemented including planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in the detention basin to remove sediments and pollutants from the stormwater, install interpretive signage to identify the native trees and plants and trained Los Fresnos science students to conduct Citizen Water Quality Monitoring in the parking lot, with water testing kits from the Texas Stream Team. The high school was able to incorporate this experiential learning into their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curricula.