Sewer Pond Turned into a Thriving Wildlife “Jewel”

The Takeaway: The payoff includes cleaner water and an increasing number of migratory birds and tourists.

What do you do with an abandoned sewer pond that has become an eyesore? The Texas City of San Benito turned it into a thriving wetland that improves water quality in streams flowing to a nearby river and attracts hoards of migratory birds and wildlife tourists.

To create the wetland, city officials refurbished old levees and rock berms and piped clean water from the local wastewater treatment plant to the unused sewer ponds. Local fauna flourished, providing another layer of cleaning as water makes its way from the treatment plant to the Arroyo Colorado River. As a bonus, 146 bird species have been identified at the site, with as many as 250 species expected during the migratory season. has recently designated it a “Jewel of the Valley” birding location. Inspired by this transformation, the nearby City of La Feria is also working to turn some local sewer ponds into wetlands.

The San Benito effort was funded by the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Management Program. (2017)

Partners: Texas Coastal Management Program, City of San Benito