Fort Worth, Texas - Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge Green Parking Lot

The photo was taken by Thomas Avles and/or Nick Nelson while they were employed by TNP and under contract with City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Department


The Fort Worth Nature Center parking lot design provides storage areas for storm water runoff and diverting storm water runoff away from the edges of the paved areas while achieving the iSWM goals and providing the Nature Center the many benefits of bioswales.

Using green practices intead of traditional methods for construction complimented the mission of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the parking area proved to be an ideal location for implementation for non-traditional methods.  It serves as an educational tool which supports the mission.  Also, the existing deterioration of the parking lot and denigration of the facility due to continual ground water seepage from high side of parking lot required a creative approach to solve the problem.

The drainage system was designed to provide storage areas for storm water runoff using the gravel parking areas. Storm water runoff is directed through subdrains into the bioswales where it provides irrigation for the landscaped areas.  The gravel parking design provides approximately 0.1 ac-ft of storage, enough to capture and disperse the storm water runoff from a 2 year storm event into the bioswales.  This equates to approximately 0.25” of water per rain event, a reasonable amount of water to sustain plantings of native prairie grasses in the bioswales without supplemental irrigation. The rock filled trenches behind the concrete edging and the subdrains also provide a means to capture storm water runoff and direct it away from the edges of the asphalt paved areas.  This is important to the overall life of the pavement, because infiltration of water under the asphalt can cause pavement failure, especially in the winter months when freezing and thawing of this subsurface water can cause pot-holes.

Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge Hardwick Interpretative Visitors Center

Completion Date
June 2009


Program Details

35 space parking lot, driveway, entry road & walkway to visitors center
660 LF of Limestone Ledge Trail

Land Use
Open Space
Recreational Trail

$259,547.00 (parking area and trails)

Green Features

  • Permeable pavement
  • Bioretention
  • Bioswale
  • Enhanced swale
  • Grass channel
  • Xeric (drought resistant) species 

Environment and Economic Benefits

  • Water quality improvements
  • Run-off reduction
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Increased potential for economic development
  • Improved community aesthetics
  • Public education opportunity

Plant and Vegetation Functions

  • Slowing and retarding flow by increasing hydraulic roughness
  • Preventing the erosion of bare soil
  • Enhancing infiltration of runoff vegetation uptake
  • Providing pollutant removal through vegetative uptake
  • Preventing access to deep open water areas
  • Contributing to wildlife and fish habitat
  • Improving the overall appearance of storm water facilities

Benefits of Bioswales 

  • Reduces the need for storm water infrastructure
  • Reduces runoff volumes and rates
  • Recharges groundwater and sustains base flows to natural water bodies
  • Reduces sediment, nutrient runoff, and other pollutants
  • Reduces maintenance requirements compared to conventional lawn surfaces or other irrigated plantings
  • Diversifies site habitat
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Educational opportunities
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge Hardwick Interpretative Visitors Center, Fort Worth TX 76135