HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston City Council approved an ordinance designed to protect 7,423 acres of natural habitat in City of Houston parks on Wednesday.
The Nature Preserve Ordinance will preserve land within 26 parks with a focus on habitat protection and passive recreation. The ordinance will work to preserve the habitat for native wildlife and for the ecosystem services they provide to the citizens of Houston.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department said that preserving these areas will help to mitigate flooding, store carbon, reduce urban heat island effects, improve air and water quality, and provide educational opportunities for the public.
"This nature preserve ordinance is an outstanding conservation effort to make Houston a greener city," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "This measure makes it a priority to protect this land from future development."
According to HPARD, most of the parks included in the ordinance have both developed areas and nature preserve sections, but now the nature preserve boundaries will be clearly marked.
"This is one of the most significant land preservation actions ever undertaken by the City of Houston," Director of Houston Parks and Recreation Department Kenneth Allen said.
The HPARD's Natural Resources Management Program will be responsible for creating oversight objectives at the sites.
"This ordinance protects the best of Houston's remaining forests, prairies, and wetlands across the city for both wildlife and for people," HPARD's Natural Resources Manager Kelli Ondracek said.
For a list of the 26 parks included in the nature preserve ordinance, visit the Houston Park website.