Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Announcements
Multi-colored fair housing awareness ribbom
April is Fair Housing Month

April is Fair Housing Month, and H-GAC reminds everyone that when it comes to housing, the Federal Fair Housing Act makes it against the law to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or family status. This applies to both selling or renting housing.
  
Anyone who feels their fair housing rights have been violated should contact the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing.

screen shots of occupations medical mechanical aerospace technology
H-GAC Releases Regional Occupational Snapshot

H-GAC recently released the Regional Occupational Snapshot. This interactive application lets users see where people with different occupations live in the 13-county H-GAC region.
 
The geographical distribution of people with different occupations can provide local agencies, enterprises, and researchers vital insights and guidance on the pattern of the region's human resources. Residential patterns combined with employment data could have significant implications for the region's land use, transportation, and commute planning.

For more information, e-mail cegis@h-gac.com.

Text-to-911 Service Available

The Gulf Coast Regional 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District (GCRECD) announces the availability of Text-to-9-1-1 service in Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Liberty, Matagorda, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties.

Text-to-9-1-1 is a service that allows cell phone users to send a text message directly to 9-1-1 for assistance when they can't make a voice call. Text-to-9-1-1 services should only be used in an emergency when the person needing assistance is unable to speak or hear. 

To learn more, watch this short video or visit www.gulfcoast911.org and click on "Text-to-911."

Text to 911 video
Text-to-911 video

Upcoming Events
Upper Oyster Creek
Upper Oyster Creek TMDL Implementation Plan Group Annual Meeting - April 11

H-GAC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will host the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Upper Oyster Creek Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plan Group as part of an ongoing effort to address water quality issues in Upper Oyster Creek. The meeting will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Cane Room, City of Sugar Land City Hall, 2700 Town Center Boulevard, Sugar Land.

Discussion will include project progress and future plans. The Implementation Plan for bacteria and dissolved oxygen in Upper Oyster Creek is available online for review.

For more information, contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.

Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - April 23

H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 23, at the Tomball Community Center, 221 Market Street, Tomball. The Texas Masonry Council will share information and resources for local communities looking to replace existing building facades or construct new masonry buildings in their downtowns. 

H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas.

RSVP is requested. For more information, contact Joey Kaspar at 713-993-4547.

Texas Watershed Steward logo with stylized waterway
Texas Watershed Steward Workshop - April 25 

H-GAC and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host a Texas Watershed Steward workshop from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Prairie View A&M Northwest Educational Building, 9449 Grant Road, Houston.

This free workshop will provide an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, including a discussion on Cypress Creek Watershed and efforts by H-GAC and local stakeholders to help improve and protect it.
 
Pre-registration is requested at least four days prior to the training date. More information is available on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service website.

Parks and Natural Areas Logo with stylized tree H-GAC logo swing bird water and soccer ball
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable Field Trip - May 9

H-GAC's next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable field trip will be from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 9, at Levy Park, 3801 Eastside, Houston.
 
The Roundtable meets the second Monday of March, July, and September with field trips scheduled in May and November. The group is open to anyone who is interested in participating.

RSVP is requested. For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo at 832-681-2507.

Basin 13 Map
Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meeting - May 9

H-GAC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invite area stakeholders to help create a plan to reduce high concentrations of bacteria found in the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin. The meeting for Caney Creek/Linville Bayou (Basin 13) will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Caney Creek Chapel, 2477 County Road 297, Sargent.

During the meeting, participants will discuss sources of bacteria and bacteria reduction measures and will continue to develop a plan to be used to address the bacteria in the impacted watershed.

For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

Recycling Bin
Solid Waste Workshop Series on Recycling - May 16

H-GAC's Solid Waste Workshop Series continues from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The workshop will focus on recycling, and topics include addressing contamination and challenging markets. 

H-GAC's Solid Waste Workshop Series provides information on a variety of solid waste topics. Upcoming topics include Food Waste (August 22) and Special Waste (November 21). 
 
RSVP is requested. For more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
Clean Waters Initiative - May 22

Save the Date for the next Clean Waters Initiative workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 22, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The topic will be announced soon.

The CWI program offers workshops that help local governments, landowners, and residents develop effective strategies to reduce pollution in area waterways.

For more information, contact Brian Sims at 713-993-2438.

BIG logo
BIG Spring Meeting - June 4

Save the Date for the Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) Spring Meeting from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. 
 
Topics will include the BIG Implementation Plan (I-Plan) revisions and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) updates.

For more information, contact 
Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

Green Infrastructure for Texas with stormwater management screen shots
Managing Stormwater Workshop - June 12

H-GAC and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will host a free stormwater workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the John Hargrove Environmental Complex, 5800 Magnolia Street, Pearland. Managing Our Stormwater from Gutter to Stream will cover nature-based techniques to clean and conserve stormwater for people and wildlife at any scale: backyard to urban/suburban/industrial to regional.

This workshop is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension's Green Infrastructure for Texas program.

Registration is required.

Partner Announcements
Texas Homeowner Assistance Program Continues
General Land Office logo
Individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey may qualify for assistance through the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program to repair, rehabilitate, or rebuild if they owned their home, it was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and it was their primary residence at the time of the storm, among other eligibility factors. Applications for the Homeowner Assistance Program take approximately 30 minutes to complete.  Applications are available online or may be completed in-person. For more information, visit recovery.texas.gov/hap or call 1-844-893-8937.

Keep Texas Beautiful logo
Keep Texas Beautiful Awards Due April 2
Each year, Keep Texas Beautiful honors Texas communities, businesses, schools, media outlets, and individuals who work to keep the environment clean. Applications for the Youth and Educator Awards close Tuesday, April 2. 

Composting Council Offers National Scholarship
The Composting Council Research & Education Foundation (CCREF) application period to apply for a compost research scholarship closes Friday, April 12. The CCREF National Compost Research Scholarship program is open to all U.S. college or university students. The scholarship is $4,000 and includes an invitation to present research findings at the US Composting Council Annual Conference. 

Scenic City Application Deadline Extended to April 30
H-GAC and Scenic Texas support vibrant, healthy communities across the state. Partnering with Scenic Texas and other agencies to form the Scenic City Certification Program has been a natural fit for H-GAC. See the full roster of certified Scenic Cities and review program requirements by exploring www.sceniccitycertification.org
. Due to a high volume of interest, the deadline to apply has been extended to Tuesday, April 30.

Get Involved With Trash Free Texas
Trash Free Texas works to keep trash out of area waterways by working with communities and organizations across the state to connect people to places that need routine litter cleanup activities. Local governments and organizations can get involved with this Adopt-a-Spot online interactive mapping application that identifies locations that are littered frequently and need to be adopted and matching those spots with volunteers to keep them cleaned up. For more information about submitting new spots or adopting a spot in the Houston-Galveston region, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Texas Recreation and Parks Education and Funding Initiative 
Texas Parks and Recreation Society seal
Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS), GameTime, and PlayCore are partnering to promote community health and wellness throughout Texas through an Education and Funding Initiative. Parks professionals are invited to write a 1000- to 2000-word essay describing their communities and playground needs by Tuesday, May 7. Five awardees will receive a playground structure. TRAPS will also host a workshop for parks and recreation professionals, education professionals, planning and design professionals, and community partners to learn about current trends and research-based best practices for play and recreation destinations. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Missouri City Recreation Center, 2701 Cypress Point Dr, Missouri City.
More Upcoming Events
Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green logo with stylized globe in forground and outline of Houston skyline in background
Earth Day Houston 
Earth Day Houston, hosted by Discovery Green Conservancy in partnership with Citizens' Environmental Coalition and sponsored by Green Mountain Energy, will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney Street, Houston. Earth Day Houston is designed to inspire and encourage action. The event will feature displays, exhibits and booths on topics ranging from alternative energy to recycling methods, a foodie farmers market, live music, recycling and more. Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks. Anyone looking for volunteer opportunities can contact Amy Boyers.

Texas Emergency Management Conference 
TDEM logo
The Texas Division of Emergency Management will host the Texas Emergency Management Conference April 15 to 18 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center, 900 East Market Street, San Antonio. The conference schedule and list of workshops are posted online. For more information, email the event organizers. Registration is $200 and is required.

Adopt-A-Beach
Adopt a Beach logo
Save the date for Adopt-A-Beach Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 13, at various Texas beaches. This annual event by the Texas General Land Office encourages volunteers to help keep beaches clean and pristine. Since the program began in 1986, more than 529,000 volunteers have removed 9,600 tons of trash from Texas beaches. Registration and a list of cleanup locations are available online.

DEA Prescription Take Back 
DEA National Drug Take Back Logo
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host its National Prescription Drug Take Back event in communities across the country from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. The national event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the medications and the potential for abuse. A list of collection sites is available on the DEA website.

Trash and Marine Debris Summit
The third Houston-Galveston Regional Trash and Marine Debris Summit will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Houston Zoo. At the summit, the action plan will be reviewed, a geographic focus will be finalized, a name for the group will be determined, and data collection goals for the plan will be identified. Input from local governments, organizations, business and industry, and area residents is needed to make the plan more comprehensive and effective. Visit DontTrashAGoodThing.org for more information.

Texas Citizen Planner Training
Texas Citizen Planner logo
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is offering a Texas Citizen Planner training to emphasize integrating hazard mitigation approaches with local planning practices. The day and a half event will be June 4 and 5, at the Galveston County Extension Office (inside Carbide Park), 4102-B Main Street, La Marque.
 The project is funded in part by a Texas Coastal Management Program Grant approved by the Texas Land Commissioner pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA18NOS4190153. For information, contact Celina Gauthier Lowry at 281-560-3970.

STAR Summit 
STAR Logo
The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) 2019 Summit will be September 9-11 in San Antonio. Approximately 200 to 300 professionals representing private sector companies, local/state/federal government, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations attend the summit each year. The summit features educational sessions, equipment demonstrations, round table discussions, and training opportunities. Exhibitor and sponsor information for 2019 will be available soon.

Funding Sources
Installing an OSSF
H-GAC Wastewater Assistance Program Helps Homeowners

H-GAC's Wastewater Assistance Program offers funding for the repair or replacement of residential conventional septic or aerobic wastewater systems in the 13-county H-GAC planning region. Homeowners who meet certain income restrictions are eligible.

For more information, contact email ossf@h-gac.com or learn more about maintaining these systems online.

AirCheck Logo
Financial Assistance Available Through AirCheck Texas

The AirCheck Texas - Drive a Clean Machine Program is designed to help motorists in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Harris, Galveston, and Montgomery counties comply with vehicle emissions standards. 

AirCheck Texas offers financial incentives to repair or replace currently driven vehicles. An applicant will receive both a financial and environmental benefit while contributing to air quality solutions by removing older vehicles from Texas roadways. 

The deadline to apply is Monday, April 8. For more information, visit www.aircheckhouston.com or call 832-681-2527.

Transportation Alternatives, Safe Routes to Schools Funding Programs

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announces an upcoming call for projects for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Two sources of funding will be included: Transportation Alternatives (TA) $10.6M and Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) $8.7M.

Eligible projects include sidewalks, bikeways, shared use paths, traffic calming measures, and other safety improvements for non-motorized travel.
 
The 2019 TA/SRTS Call for Projects will have a two-step process:
  • Preliminary Project Applications will be due in April 2019
  • Detailed Project Applications will be due in August 2019 
For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit TxDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding web page. 

USDA Logo
Community Connect Program Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to establish broadband infrastructure in unserved rural communities. The Community Connect Program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. State and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations are eligible to apply. Grants awarded through this program must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream, which is the speed benchmark for broadband connectivity adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. Awardees must also use their USDA funding to offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities and a community center in their proposed service area for two years. The minimum grant amount is $100,000; the maximum amount is $3 million. Applicants must be able to provide a 15 percent match on the desired grant amount. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2019. For additional information about the current application window, see the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Applicants are also encouraged to review the Community Connect Grant Program Application Guide for Fiscal Year 2019 for details on how to complete a successful application.

Rural Utilities Service Water & Environmental Programs

The USDA's Rural Utilities Service Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) has $165,475,000 in supplemental grant funding available for repairs to drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Entities wishing to apply for assistance or needing additional information should contact: 

USDA Rural Development State Office
Federal Building, Suite 102 
101 South Main, Temple, TX 76501
(254) 742-9700/TDD (254) 742-9712

Local water and sewer departments having workforce challenges to recruit and retain qualified workers within the Houston-Galveston region are encouraged to contact Traci Nolen at 713-993-2468.

US Economic Development Administration logo
Regional Innovation Strategies Program

The U.S. Economic Development Administration is accepting applications for this year's Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Cities, counties, and nonprofits are included in eligible applicants. The program has two separate challenges: 
  • FY19 i6 Challenge - catalyzing high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the country, the i6 Challenge awards up to $750,000 for projects that increase regional capacity to accelerate the translation of innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into products, services, companies, and jobs. 
  • FY19 Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant Competition - unlocking risk capital for entrepreneurs and startups to grow, SFS grants provide up to $300,000 for projects that create, launch, or expand equity-based seed funds or that create networks and tools that enable capital to flow into high-growth startups in all parts of the United States.
The deadline to apply is Friday, April 4. The RIS Program is managed by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and more information can be found on the  RIS webpage.

EDA Harvey Recovery Grants

The U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Austin regional office received $129,119,000 in supplemental funding for disaster relief and is actively seeking projects to help communities in the Houston-Galveston region recover from Hurricane Harvey. 

The recently released Notice of Funding Opportunity outlines the requirements, which include the following:
  • Projects require a 20 percent match, which can include in-kind contributions
  • Typical projects will range from $1-$2.5 million
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
  • Projects must demonstrate a nexus to Harvey in terms of economic recovery or resilience
  • Eligible applicants include governments, nonprofits, and universities
For more information, contact Robert Peche of the EDA.

Additional Funding Opportunities

Tree with $ Money
H-GAC has compiled a list of local, regional, state, federal, and private funding sources for local governments and other organizations. H-GAC also maintains a list of ongoing funding opportunities for parks improvements.

If you know of a funding opportunity, forward it to Andrea Tantillo.

All content, including links to websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.
Community and Environmental Planning Programs
GIS Globes
Mapping Applications
Looking for interactive applications or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department? Visit H-GAC's interactive applications web page to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more.
 
Facebook
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H-GAC has a Facebook page where information about current and upcoming events is posted. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, including Recycling, Trash Bash, Regional Data LabBacteria Implementation Group (BIG), West Fork Watersheds Partnership, and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

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Twitter
Find the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter feed @HouGalvAreaCog. H-GAC's water resources program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region @HGACwater.
All meetings scheduled at H-GAC conference rooms are at 3555 Timmons Lane, Houston, Texas.

Banner Photo: Levy Park. Photo by Kathy Janhsen

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