Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Upcoming Events
Parks and Natural Areas Logo with stylized tree H-GAC logo swing bird water and soccer ball
Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards Ceremony - February 8

H-GAC will host the first Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards Ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, February 8, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The summit will include presentations about various H-GAC programs that can provide goods, services, technical assistance, and funding for parks and natural areas projects. 


A light breakfast will be served. Online registration is requested. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the H-GAC program presentations at 9 a.m. The awards program will be followed by networking with H-GAC staff and other parks professionals.

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

Public Meetings Set for 2045 RTP: Moving Our Region into Tomorrow

Learn what's next for the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) at an upcoming public meeting. 

A list of meeting times and locations is available online. During the public meetings, panel of transportation experts will discuss future transportation projects selected from the recent 2018 Call for Projects. The panel will also talk about air quality and conformity initiatives, regional resiliency efforts, and the estimated releases date for the 2045 RTP draft plan. For more information, watch the 2045 RTP video.

Females smiling and demonstrating water quality testing using a test tube.
Texas Stream Team Training - February 15

H-GAC is hosting a Texas Stream Team volunteer water quality monitor training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, February 15, at Buffalo Bayou Partnership, 1019 Commerce Street, Houston. 

Registration is open and limited to 10 volunteers. Please share this information with friends and colleagues who might have an interest in becoming a volunteer water quality monitor, especially in the eastern part of Houston and Harris County.

More than 400 Texas Stream Team volunteers, including about 100 in the Houston-Galveston region, collect water quality data on lakes, rivers, and streams as part of this statewide program.

Learn more about getting involved in Texas Stream Team and sign up for the trainings online or by contacting stream.team@h-gac.com.

Coastal Communities Logo
Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup Meeting - February 20

Save the date for the next H-GAC Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 20, at Alvin Community College.

Representatives from city and county governments, schools, and community groups in Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Matagorda counties are invited to become part of the group. Participants can network with outreach and education partners and other governments about starting a conversation with residents to prevent water pollution in their communities. 

Contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410 to be added to the contact list for this group. 

Environmental Enforcement Roundtable
Solid Waste Workshop Series: Environmental Enforcement - February 21

H-GAC will host a Solid Waste Workshop focusing on environmental enforcement from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, February 21, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered.
 
Topics for the workshop include:
  • Using Technology
  • Putting Together a Case for Court
  • Challenges of Rural Enforcement
  • How Code Enforcement and Peace Officers Can Work Together
  • Preventing Future Illegal Dumping
  • Overview of Environmental Enforcement Law
Registration is requestedFor more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Future workshops will focus on recycling, food waste recovery, and special wastes.

Upper Oyster Creek
Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meetings - February 21, March 12

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 two coastal basins. Meetings to discuss sources of bacteria, form committees to consider options to reduce bacteria, and develop plans to act on those options are scheduled for two of the impacted watersheds.
 
February 21
5 to 7 p.m.
Bay City Civic Center
201 Seventh Street, Bay City
 
March 12
2 to 4 p.m.
Brazoria County Library-Lake Jackson
250 Circle Way, Lake Jackson
 
Bacteria concentrations above the state's water quality standards for contact recreation pose a potential risk to people coming into contact through fishing, swimming or wading. H-GAC needs input from local governments, permit holders, and residents to make these plans successful.
 
For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
Clean Waters Initiative - February 26

The next Clean Waters Initiative (CWI) workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, February 26, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The topic will be Funding Opportunities for Water/Wastewater Infrastructure. Speakers from funding agencies will discuss various grant and loan programs. The workshop will consist of two hours of presentations, followed by an optional hour-long meet-and-greet to allow attendees to meet one-on-one with representatives to ask specific questions and pick up applications and informational literature in an open house-style setting.

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

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

Livable Centers Brochure Cover
International Management District Livable Centers Study Kick Off - February 2, 9, and 28

H-GAC and project partners will kick off the International Management District Livable Centers Study this month. The study will analyze existing conditions in the boundaries of the International Management District and make recommendations that guide future land use and transportation investments in the area. 

Specifically, the study seeks to identify ways that the district can create a more walkable, mixed-use, transit-served neighborhood that is both a destination and a great place to live, work, and play.
 
H-GAC staff will discuss the project at three upcoming events:
  • Texas International Lunar Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 2, at 11122 Bellaire Blvd., Houston
  • TexAsia Lunar New Year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 9, at 8388 W Sam Houston Parkway South, Houston
  • Public Meeting #1, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 28, Elsik Ninth Grade Center Cafeteria, 6767 S. Dairy Ashford, Houston
For more information, contact Anita Hollmann at 713-993-4587.

trash bash logo
Trash Bash - March 30

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30. There are 16 locations, including a new site in Lake Jackson. Visit the Trash Bash website to find out where to volunteer, get registration information, donate online to support the cleanup, and more.

Groups of 10 or more can complete a group reservation to let the site coordinator know in advance. Individual registration on the day of the event is still required for each member of the group. All volunteers get a t-shirt, lunch, cleanup supplies, chances to win door prizes, and opportunities to learn more about preventing water pollution.

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

Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 23. The location and topic are to be determined. 

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

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


Announcements
WISE Awards logo with water droplet styled to resemble an owl
Deadline to Submit WISE Awards Application is February 7

H-GAC will accept Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards until Thursday, February 7.
 
The WISE Awards are a new initiative honoring innovative strategies and projects in the Houston-Galveston region that serve as models for improving water quality in four categories: Planning and Policy; Education and Public Awareness; Built Project (Greater than $500k); and Built Project (Less than $500k). Winning projects must exhibit efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation.

For more information, visit www.h-gac.com/go/wise or e-mail Kathy Janhsen.

map showing area where land use is identified
H-GAC Releases 
2018 Regional Land Cover Data

The Community and Environmental Planning GIS program at H-GAC developed the 2018 Regional Land Cover Data.
 
The dataset was developed based on 2017 and 2018 LandSat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) scenes of 30-meter resolution acquired from the USGS. Four scenes with 0 to 5 percent cloud cover were used to cover the entire area. Using supervised and unsupervised classification techniques in ENVI remote sensing package and ArcGIS Image Analysis Extensions, the imageries were classified into 10 major land cover classes. Classification classes were determined based on the NOAA and NLCD land cover classification schemes. The output cell size is in 30-meter resolution.


west fork watersheds partnership logo
EPA Accepts West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan, which is now in implementation.

The focus of the plan is reducing bacteria, improving dissolved oxygen, and raising awareness of water quality in the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek watersheds. H-GAC, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and local partners developed the plan as a voluntary means of addressing water quality issues that affect local health, economy, and environment.

H-GAC is working with local partners to schedule a series of educational and outreach events to move forward voluntary recommendations in the plan. For more information, contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.

Cypress Creek sign
Plans Underway to Begin Watershed Protection Plan for Cypress Creek

H-GAC is beginning a  watershed protection plan project for Cypress Creek. The project will take place over two years and will build on work done during the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan project.

H-GAC is developing the scientific data needed to support stakeholder discussions and will schedule the first meeting in the spring. The project will focus on voluntary ways to improve water quality in the Cypress Creek watershed with a focus on reducing bacteria levels, improving dissolved oxygen, and addressing other stakeholder concerns.

Cypress Creek is a primary tributary of Lake Houston, which serves as a popular recreation destination and drinking water source for many communities in Houston.

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

Winners of the excellence award stand by our great region awards banner
Avenue Community Development Corporation received the Excellence Award.
Our Great Region 2040 Award Winners 

H-GAC presented the Our Great Region Awards in January to recognize outstanding projects focusing on transportation, the environment, economic development, resiliency, housing, and healthy communities.
  • The Excellence Award - Avenue Community Development Corporation for their Avenue to Opportunity project. This award, the highest honor, recognizes the project best advancing the vision of the Our Great Region 2040 plan.
  • The Connection Award  - Harris County Transit- RIDES Program for the RIDES Program. This award honors projects advancing two or more of the  Our Great Region 2040 plan's strategies through innovative partnerships. 
  • The Diligence Award - West Houston Association for the West Houston 2060 Plan. This award honors an implemented project executing a creative and tenacious approach to overcome challenges to implementation.
  • The Opportunity Award - Texas A&M University for their Resilience Through Regeneration Project. This award honors a project helping to overcome disparities in access to opportunity.
  • The Reach Award - City of Houston for the Complete Communities Project. This award honors a project demonstrating exemplary public participation.
More information about the Our Great Region Awards is available online.

Partner Announcements
Texas Homeowner Assistance Program
General Land Office logo
Assistance may be available for homeowners whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey through the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program. Complete the application in person at the Montgomery County Mobile Intake Center, at the East Montgomery County Courthouse, 21130 U.S. Highway 59, New Caney, Texas. Program representatives will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays. Individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey may qualify for assistance through the 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 are available online or may be completed in-person. For more information, visit recovery.texas.gov/hap or call 1-844-893-8937.

Exhibitor Registration Open for Earth Day Houston
Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green logo with stylized globe in forground and outline of Houston skyline in background
Early registration for exhibitors for Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green is open through Thursday, February 14. Hosted by Discovery Green Conservancy in partnership with Citizens' Environmental Coalition, and sponsored by Green Mountain Energy, this year's event will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14. Featuring exhibits, bands, food, speakers, and more, the 2019 celebration supports Discovery Green's mission of providing free events that promote a healthy environment and sustainable operations. Exhibitor space is limited, and the price to register increases on Friday, February 15. Exhibitor Registration closes Thursday, March 14. 

Scenic City Applications Available
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. The 2019 application is now available for review, and the 2019 application period ends Sunday, March 31.

Keep Texas Beautiful Awards
Keep Texas Beautiful logo
Each year, Keep Texas Beautiful honors Texas communities, businesses, schools, media outlets, and individuals who work to keep the environment clean. Learn more about the Individual and Organization Awards, the Governor's Community Achievement Awards, and the Youth and Educator Awards. Applications are due in February and April.

Adopt a Beach logo
Treasures of the Texas Coast Art Contest
The Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach program invites kindergarten-sixth grade students to participate in the annual Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest. The purpose of this contest is to encourage young artists to learn about natural resources along the Texas coast. The deadline to enter is Friday, March 1.

Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Logo
Take Care of Texas Art Contest
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is hosting the Take Care of Texas Art Contest for kindergarten-fifth grade students to depict positive ways to help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. The deadline to enter is Friday, March 1.
More Upcoming Events
Environmental Institute of Houston logo
EIH Surface Water Quality Monitoring Techniques Course
The Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake is offering a two-part training course focusing on surface water quality monitoring techniques. This course will cover methods and protocols outlined in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Surface Water Quality Monitoring guidelines. The partial course (March 18) will cover fundamental techniques for water quality and hydrological monitoring. The full course (March 18-21) will cover additional techniques and protocols. Each course day will consist of classroom and field-based instruction. Registration closes Monday, March 4. For more information, email EIH@uhcl.edu or call 281-283-3950.
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 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 Brian Sims at 713-993-2438 or learn more about maintaining these systems.

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. 

For more information, visit www.aircheckhouston.com or call 832-681-2527.

EPA Logo
EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Small Grants Program provides funding directly to community-based organizations for projects that help residents of underserved communities understand and address local environmental and public health issues. 

Projects should engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. 

Applications are due Friday, February 15.

TERP Logo with equipment and large truck
Texas Clean Fleet Program Grant Funding

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Texas Clean Fleet Program is offering approximately $7.7 million in grants to encourage businesses that operate large fleets of vehicles in Texas to replace diesel-powered vehicles with alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles. Applications are due Monday, February 18.

For more information, e-mail terp@tceq.texas.gov or call 800-919-TERP (8377).

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 and upcoming workshops, visit TxDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding web page.

TxDOT and H-GAC will host an informational workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, February 14, at the Johnny Arolfo Civic Center, 400 W. Walker, League City. 

USDA Logo
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
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 @hgaccog. 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: Seagull on the beach on Bolivar Pennisula. Photo by Jeff Taebel

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