In 2000, the city council of Waco voted to increase the water level of Lake Waco by seven feet in an attempt to provide drinking water to citizens of Waco and surrounding communities. To mitigate the habitat loss from this water level increase, the Lake Waco Wetlands were created in 2001.
Today, these wetlands are a source for environmental and scientific education, wildlife, and recreation for the community.
The Lake Waco Wetlands Research and Education Center offers classes for biology students at Baylor University, providing students with a living lab and providing the city of Waco with important information for managing its water supply. The center also provides opportunities for field trips for local school children and the community at-large.
Through a program provided by GEAR UP Waco, a partnership that helps prepare low-income students for meaningful interaction with colleges and universities, students are presented with a chance to go on field trips to the Lake Waco Wetlands for field and laboratory experiences. These field trips are offered in order to provide hands-on experience, interaction with environmental professionals, and endless learning opportunities.