Baylor University, the City of Waco and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of Waco were honored by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at the 18th annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. The commission awards select Texans for their efforts to protect natural resources.
The three institutions were honored in the education category for their partnership, the Lake Waco Wetlands, which provides on-site research support for wetland and other environmental studies.
In 1998, the Waco City Council voted to increase the Lake Waco pool by seven feet, providing 20,177 acre-feet more water. That amount would provide Lake Waco sufficient drinking water to supply most of Central Texas. As a result, the City of Waco, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service began constructing a 180-acre wetland on Lake Waco to partially replace a habitat that will be lost when the lake is raised.
The Lake Waco Wetlands is home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants, mammals, birds, insects, amphibians and reptiles. The Wetlands Research and Education Center was built in 2004 and provides aquatic resources for Baylor University research. The center provides hands-on learning and educational opportunities for visitors and non-university students.
It also is the site for Baylor's Center for Reservoir and Aquatic System Research (CRASR). CRASR provides research opportunities for Baylor's biology, environmental studies and geology students. For more than 40 years, Baylor has focused research on the scientific principles that control the structure and function of aquatic environments.