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Sustainability City of Laredo comprehensive plan

Overall Goal: Ensure that environmental resources are conserved and properly managed in Laredo so that future generations may experience an improving environment that is more resilient than that of the previous generation.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

Goal 6.1: Create new and revitalize existing sustainable architecture throughout the city.

Policy 6.1.11: Promote education programs, especially in schools, which stress the responsibility of each person to conserve energy resources.

Our Future Rests on Educating Our Children Today: The City’s Environmental Services Department regularly visits local schools to promote environmental sustainability and energy conservation. Additionally, the importance of recycling continues to be taught and encouraged at a young age. The Laredo Solid Waste Department hosted the 11th Annual Recycles Day fair event on November 15, 2018. The event was attended by 550 school students from UISD and LISD. Students and teachers are invited to participate in a day filled with fun activities and practical lessons on recycling and waste management.

Children participating in Recycles Day Fair.

CIVIC SPACES

Goal 6.2: Provide a wide variety of neighborhood parks and recreational programs that are integrated with neighborhoods and accessible to most residents and visitors to Laredo.

Policy 6.2.7: Create trails, greenbelts, and linear parks for their inherent value and to provide connections among other parks, schools, neighborhoods, and natural open spaces.

The Department has implemented this policy and has constructed hike and bike networks throughout Chacon, Manadas, Zacate Creeks, and is currently working on the design of trails on the River Vega.

HABITAT & BIODIVERSITY

Goal 6.3: Protect and enhance ecologically sensitive areas, plants and wildlife resources

Policy 6.3.2: Encourage retention of land that is in a natural, undisturbed condition. Plan new parks and open spaces to preserve ecologically sensitive areas.

Laredo’s Green Space Preservation Ordinance: The City’s Environmental Services Department is responsible for the enforcement of the City’s Green Space preservation ordinance which provides for the environmentally sound use of Laredo’s land. The ordinance establishes minimal acceptable requirements for the design of buffers to protect the streams, wetlands and floodplains and ultimately protect the water courses, reservoirs, lakes, and other significant water resources and the riparian and aquatic ecosystems.

Policy 6.3.3: Use the existing and future recreational connected park systems along creeks to interconnect potential development sites with complimentary land uses for park-goers.

The City has implemented this policy and has constructed hike and bike networks throughout Chacon, Manadas, Zacate, and is currently working on the design of trails on the River Vega.

Policy 6.3.4: Incorporate the expansion and creation of wetlands into park systems in order to complement urban design and enhance parks and natural habitat.

Wetland Enhancement Projects: The City’s Environmental Services Department funds and promotes wetland enhancement into parks such as the wetland enhancement at Killam Lake, wetland enhancement at North Central (part of Fletcha Lane project), and wetland enhancement and creation in the Chacon Creek Feasibility Study that has been submitted and approved by the Corps of Engineers.

Policy 6.3.5: Encourage the establishment and maintenance of wildlife and nature preserves.

Riverbend Restoration Project Completed: In support of the City’s Green Space Preservation Ordinance and in partnership with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the City of Laredo completed a 77 acre nature preserve in the river bend area South of Laredo College. Restoration of the River bend area was completed at a cost of $2.44 million and included cleaning and removing exotic plant species; stabilizing major areas of erosion; reforesting with native trees and shrubs; and excavating the gravel pits.

Policy 6.3.8: Establish a tree planting and maintenance campaign throughout the city.

Tree Planting Events Draw Volunteers: As sponsored by Members of City Council and as supported by community volunteers, various tree planting events have occurred throughout the year. Moreover, $75,000 has been earmarked for the purchase and planting of trees along the City’s Right-of-Way (ROW).

ENERGY & ATMOSPHERE

Goal 6.4: Develop Laredo in a way that requires less automobile use for access to daily needs, which will help to reduce the prevalence of greenhouse gases. Strive to continue to meet the national ambient air quality standards for all pollutants.

Policy 6.4.6: Promote the use of renewable energy sources that reduce demand on fossil fuels such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

City Implements Energy Saving Programs: The City’s Environmental Department has implemented energy saving pilot programs at its office facility located at 619 Reynolds. The Department has installed a 38.5 kW photovoltaic system as well as a 2.8kW wind generator that supplies up to two-thirds of the Department’s energy requirements.

WATER MANAGEMENT

Goal 6.5: Continue to develop policies that promote water reclamation, conservation, stormwater management, and access to a sustainable water supply.

Policy 6.5.9: Protect the community from floods and reduce the risk of flood damage.

The City has undertaken various projects to reduce flooding throughout Laredo. One such project includes the Chacon Creek Feasibility Study which was submitted to the U.S. Corps of engineers for funding consideration. When funded by Congress this project will provide $52 million in flood control, ecosystem enhancements, and recreational opportunities to the Chacon Creek watershed.