The Brownwood Marsh Restoration Project/The Baytown Nature Center – Multiple Mitigation Projects

The Brownwood Marsh Restoration project was originally required as mitigation for impacts to wetlands by the French Limited Superfund Site. Twenty-eight potential sites were evaluated between the Lake Houston Dam and Galveston Bay. Conceptual designs were generated for the four top candidate sites. The former Brownwood Subdivision in Baytown, Texas, was selected as the preferred site, and a detailed design was generated for the mitigation project at this location.

Crouch Environmental Services developed a 450-acre master plan for a wildlife refuge at this location. Crouch Environmental Services provided overall project management for site selection, permitting, design and construction of a new 60-acre coastal wetland at the site. The design included the creation of 40 acres of new saline marsh, 10 acres of deepwater channels allowing tidal influence from the bay, and 10 acres of forested islands supporting shallow freshwater ponds.

Crouch Environmental Services obtained necessary permits for impacts to Waters of the US, cultural resources, and vegetation impacts on behalf of the client in a timely and ultimately cost-saving manner. Construction of the project began in November 1994 and was completed in June 1995. Planting of the new marsh was completed in August 1995. Crouch Environmental Services was responsible for on-going maintenance of the site for five years as requested by the client and the state and federal oversight committee, including representatives from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas General Land Office, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Crouch Environmental Services and the client met regularly with these entities to ensure successful implementation of the project.

A large portion of the site was designed so that private industries, non-profit environmental groups, and municipalities with mitigation requirements could select and participate in the construction of specific features of the project. Types of projects that could be sponsored include wetlands construction, wooden boardwalks, tree planting, and creation of freshwater ponds.

The City of Baytown subsequently adopted the successful project and designated it as the “Baytown Nature Center.” This project has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and television specials.