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Cypress Creek: Implementing a Watershed Protection Plan with Low Impact Development Demonstration and Guidance

The Meadows Center installed low impact development (LID), recommended stormwater related ordinance updates, and improved LID proposal review processes as part of the initial implementation of the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan.

Background

Cypress Creek originates in western Hays County and flows into the Blanco River. Jacob's Well, an artesian spring, contributes perennial flow to Cypress Creek. Flow from the spring is critical for maintaining adequate dissolved oxygen levels in the creek.

Although Cypress Creek meets all state water quality standards, local stakeholders are concerned that urbanization in the watershed could negatively impact water quality. Stakeholders are specifically concerned about a loss of flow from Jacob's Well and increases in bacteria and nutrient levels in Cypress Creek. In 2010, a they developed the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accepted in 2015.

To minimize nonpoint source pollution, the WPP identifies best management practices that implement low impact development (LID). LID is a comprehensive approach that incorporates or mimics natural processes (e.g., filtration, sedimentation, evapotranspiration) into site planning, design, or redevelopment with the goal of managing surface water runoff volume and reducing pollution as close to the source as possible. Examples include rain gardens, porous pavement, green roofs, and rainwater harvesting for later use. For more information, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Low Impact DevelopmentExit the TCEQ webpage.

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Project Description

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment implemented years one through three of the WPP implementation schedule. They reviewed the effectiveness of city and county ordinances in protecting and improving water quality and recommended ordinance updates and future projects to improve stormwater quality.

The Meadows Center installed four rainwater harvesting systems and four permeable pavement sites to demonstrate the effectiveness of LID. They also established an accelerated review process of development proposals to increase LID implementation and provided technical assistance in reviews. The Meadows Center and the stakeholder committee reviewed the project’s progress annually and updated the WPP to incorporate recommended changes. This project was completed in February 2020.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at nps@tceq.texas.gov.

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