Keeping you up to date on the many community planning, economic development, and environmental planning programs going on at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Meetings, trainings, awards, funding opportunities, and more.
Upcoming Events
Texas Stream Team Monitoring
H-GAC Texas Stream Team Training is January 13

H-GAC and Keep Sugar Land Beautiful will offer certified water quality monitoring training for H-GAC Texas Stream Team volunteers in the Sugar Land area from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, January 13, at Eldridge Park, 2511 Eldridge Road, Sugar Land.

Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the training will be completed in this full-day session. 


The training is open only to volunteers willing to commit to monitor for at least two years at sites in the Sugar Land area only.

Registration is required. 


For more information, contact Ilana Harris at 281-275-2497.

Texas Clean Rivers Logo
CRP Basin Steering Committee to Meet Via Webinar January 19 

The H-GAC Clean Rivers Program Basin Steering Committee will meet from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 19, via webinar. Participants will discuss the proposed work plan for the Clean Rivers Program for FY 2018-19.


For more information, contact Jean Wright at 713-499-6660.

Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Next Revitalization Roundtable Set for January 24 in La Porte

Register today for the next Bringing Back Main Street Revitalization Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, January 24, at the Jennie Riley Community Center, 322 N. Fourth Street, La Porte.


The workshop agenda includes Constructing a Framework that Capitalizes on Existing Assets to Foster Revitalization and the Google Initiative: Let's Put Our Cities on the Map.


For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.

Trash Bash Sponsors
Sponsorship Deadline Nears for Annual Trash Bash


The 24th River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash is set for Saturday, March 25. Join thousands of volunteers to clean up trash and debris along shoreline in the Galveston Bay watershed. There's a location near where you live, work, or play.


Trash Bash is made possible through donations by generous sponsors. The deadline for sponsorship is Tuesday, January 31. Learn more about volunteering or sponsoring at

Environmental Enforcement Roundtable
Environmental Enforcement Roundtable to be February 9


Mark your calendars for the next Environmental Enforcement Roundtable from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, February 9, at H-GAC Conference Rooms B-C, Second Floor.


H-GAC hosts quarterly Local Environmental Enforcement Roundtables to provide a forum for discussing illegal dumping issues within the H-GAC region. The group includes peace officers, county prosecutors, city officials, and personnel from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Region 12 office.


To be included in the invitation list for these roundtables, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Recycling Bin
Regional Recycling Roundtable to Look at Glass Recycling


Save the date for the next Regional Recycling Roundtable from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, February 23, at H-GAC Conference Rooms B-C, Second Floor. Participants will discuss the state of glass recycling.


H-GAC hosts quarterly Regional Recycling Roundtables to promote recycling and waste reduction and provide a forum for discussion about recycling issues within the H-GAC region.


For more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

More Upcoming Events
Flooding and Storm Surge Symposium
Beach House
Houston Urban Design Committee, the Houston-Galveston Area Council, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Houston will host a Flooding and Storm Surge Symposium at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Room 371 ABDE, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is available online.

Brazoria County Dunes Day
Dunes Day 2017 logo
The Brazoria County Parks Department is collecting Christmas trees for Dunes Day 2017 at any Brazoria County Precinct Office and at their headquarters, 313 Mulberry, Angleton. On Saturday, January 21, volunteers and Brazoria County Parks staff will position the trees along  Surfside and Quintana beaches to help gather blowing sand to build up  dunes. Volunteers can meet at 9 a.m. at either beach. For more information, call 979-864-1541.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
CEC logo
The Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC) will host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour from 7 to 9 p.m. January 25 and 26, at River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray Street, Houston. Each night up to 450 patrons will enjoy 10 short films highlighting the latest environmental issues. For more information, including ticket details, contact Rachel Powers at 713-524-4232.

Urban Riparian Symposium  
Texas Water Resources Institute logo
The Texas Water Resources Institute Urban Riparian Symposium: Balancing the Challenges of Healthy Rural to Urban Streams will be February 15-17 at the BioScience Collaborative at Rice University, 6500 Main Street, MS-650, Houston. The symposium provides an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share ideas and discuss management and policy issues, lessons learned in urban riparian and stream planning, assessment, design, construction, and evaluation.

Recycle Mania Registration 
Recycle Mania Logo
RecycleMania, a collegiate recycling competition, kicks off in February 2017, and registration is open now. Webinars are planned in early 2017 to help teams get ready for the competition: Tips & Case Study Examples for Outreach, Tuesday, January 17; and Overview of Rules & Tracking Requirements, Wednesday, February 1. Both webinars are from 1 to 2 p.m.

Annual Harris County Onsite Wastewater Seminar                                
Harris County logo
Plans are underway for the seventh annual Harris County Wastewater Seminar scheduled for Tuesday, May 30. Registration will open in April. Forward your suggestions for topics to Danielle Cioce.
Parks and Natural Areas Winners collage
H-GAC Announces Winners of Annual Parks Awards

H-GAC is pleased to announce the winners of the Parks and Natural Areas Awards, an annual recognition for projects serving as models for planning and implementation for parks and natural areas in the region.


On Tuesday, January 17, the H-GAC Board of Directors is scheduled to honor the outstanding parks and natural areas projects during the regular Board meeting beginning at 10 a.m. A reception will follow.


Award winners are:


Planning Category

  • Hackberry Gully Regional Park (City of Mont Belvieu) - Winner
  • Nature Observation Area at National Oak Park (City of Alvin) - Honorable Mention
  • Independence Park Phase 1 (City of Pearland) - Honorable Mention

Policy Tools Category

  • Galveston Sand Management Strategies (Galveston Park Board) - Winner

On-the-Ground Over $500K Category

  • Buffalo Bayou Park (Buffalo Bayou Partnership) - Winner
  • Riverside Community Park (City of East Bernard) - Honorable Mention
  • Town Square (City of Baytown) - Special Recognition
  • Cypress Creek Hike and Bike Trail and Bridge TIP Project (Timber Lane Utility District) - Special Recognition

On-the-Ground Under $500K Category

  • Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve Natural Resources Management and Public Access and Education Project (Galveston Bay Foundation) - Winner
  • Rotary Trail (City of Texas City Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism) - Honorable Mention
  • HSCO Clean and Green - Collins Park (Bayou Preservation Association) - Honorable Mention
  • City of Deer Park RC Rock Crawler Course (City of Deer Park Parks and Recreation) - Special Recognition 

H-GAC Presents Inaugural Our Great Region Awards
H-GAC presented the first Our Great Region Awards in early December to recognize outstanding local projects. Seven awards were presented across five categories. More than 30 local governments and organizations submitted applications covering transportation, the environment, economic development, resiliency, housing, and healthy communities.

The Excellence Award, the highest honor, recognized the project best advancing the vision of the Our Great Region 2040 plan:
  • Port of Houston Authority for the Small Business Development Program and Maritime Education Program
The Connection Award, honored projects advancing two or more of the Our Great Region 2040 plan's strategies through innovative partnerships:
  • Clear Lake City Water Authority for Exploration Green
  • West Houston Association for the Greater West Houston Mobility Plan
The Diligence Award, honored an implemented project executing a creative and tenacious approach to overcome challenges to implementation:
  • Houston Advanced Research Center for the Double Bayou Watershed Protection Plan
  • Harris County Engineering Department for the Net-Zero Energy Restroom Prototype (Honorable Mention)
The Opportunity Award, honored a project helping to overcome disparities in access to opportunity:
  • The Salvation Army for the Young Adult Resource Center
The Reach Award, honored a project demonstrating exemplary public participation:
  • Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge for the From Crosswalks to Boardwalks Initiative

Community Enhancement Grants Collage
Community Enhancement
Grants Update

The Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC), in coordination with H-GAC, funded 10 Downtown Public Spaces Improvement grants and two Community Trees grants through the Community Enhancement Grants program. Thanks to this program, more than $192,000 in grant funding was infused into the region in 2016.


The grants help municipalities, counties, and nonprofit organizations enhance public spaces, such as gateways, parks, waterfronts and business districts. Projects in 2016 included historical murals, downtown seating and beautification, building refurbishment, and lighting and sidewalks.


The 2017 funding season will take on a new look with upgraded online applications and reporting, as well as new funding timelines. More information on the funding process will be available in early 2017.

Partner Announcements

Galveston Bay Foundation Education Program
Galveston Bay Foundation Logo
The Galveston Bay Foundation recently received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program to educate residents on how they can help the bay and the environment of coastal Texas. Strategies include translating and marketing the Galveston Bay Report Card for Spanish-speaking audiences and improving and raising awareness of the pollution reporting application, the Galveston Bay Action Network. The project will reach more than 2 million people over the next three years.

Brazoria County Parks New Education/Event Center 
Quintana Beach County Park Logo
The Brazoria County Parks Department recently opened an education/event center at Quintana Beach County Park. The facility, equipped with projection microscopes and a 90-inch flat-screen television, is available for local school districts to use for science classes and outdoor interpretive activities. The center is also available for rent for private events, such as weddings, receptions, and business meetings.

Scenic City Certification Program
The Scenic City Certification Program, a project of Scenic Texas in cooperation with H-GAC, Texas Municipal League, and additional partners, will accept 2017 applications through Friday, March 31. The program supplies cities an objective review of existing infrastructure ordinances for public roadways and public spaces, evaluated against the Scenic City model.
Great American Cleanup Registration
Great American Cleanup Logo
Registration is now open for Keep Texas Beautiful's Great American Cleanup for events held March 1 to May 31. Groups planning an event can register to gain access to resources and materials for planning, promoting and hosting the event, such as trash bags, banners, gloves, and giveaways.

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

USOWR/NIWR Conference Call for Abstracts 
UCOWR logo
The Universities Council on Water Resources/National Institutes for Water Resources 2017 Annual Conference is calling for abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Abstracts should be 300 words or less and submitted electronically by Friday, January 20. The conference will be June 13-15 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

NUSA Annual Awards Competition 
NUSA logo
Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) is accepting entries for its 2017 Awards Competition honoring neighborhood efforts and initiatives with four awards: The Neighborhood of the Year; The Best Neighborhood Program; Neighborhood Newsletter; and Who's Who in America's Neighborhoods. All entries, including entry fees, must be postmarked by Wednesday, February 1.

Smart Growth America Free Technical Assistance 
Smart Growth America Logo
Smart Growth America is accepting applications for a free technical assistance workshop series as part of its Complete Streets Consortium Series. This is an opportunity for three communities from the same state to work together to implement Complete Streets---streets that are safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Applications are due Thursday, February 2.

EPA Water Progress Storymap
EPA Logo
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an interactive, multimedia storymap to highlight the progress made to protect America's waters since 2009. The storymap is a snapshot of EPA's ongoing efforts toward clean and reliable water
FHWA Alternative Fuels Corridors  
Alternative Fuels Corridor
The Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) announced 55 routes as alternative fuels corridors for electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas as directed in the FAST Act. Corridors are designated as signage-ready (sufficient facilities to warrant signage) or signage pending (insufficient facilities available to warrant signage). The both designations have routes in the Houston-Galveston region.
Funding Sources
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 other websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.
News and Notes
Become a Road Warrior for a Smarter Commute

What began as a necessity has, over the years, turned into a passion. Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, moved to Houston with his family in 1979. They only had one car, so he rode his bike to work-11 miles one way, two or three days a week. 

Soon he was biking to work every day, something he's continued ever since even though his commute is five miles longer than it used to be. "I ride because it's very relaxing," Bob said. "I meet the most interesting people on the bike trails." 

Though helping the environment wasn't his original motivation for biking to work, Bob appreciates that positive side effect. So do others. Bob was recently stopped 
by a couple who live near Rice University. They said they had seen him riding for years and wanted to thank him for not putting another car on the road.

Become a Road Warrior for a smarter commute. Carpool, vanpool, bus, bike, or rail one day a week.
Learn more about alternative ways to commute.
Community and Environmental Planning Programs
Walking in a cross walk
Temporary Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters
H-GAC has temporary pedestrian-bicyclist counters available for use by local governments to count the number of people using sidewalks and/or trails, giving implementing entities and H-GAC a better understanding of the demand and use of these facilities.
Community Enhancement Grants help municipalities, counties, and nonprofit organizations enhance public spaces, such as gateways, parks, waterfronts, and business districts.
H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department currently manages three loan programs: Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program, Business Loan Fund, and Government Loan Fund.

GIS Globes
Mapping Applications
Looking for interactive applications or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department? Visit to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more.

find us on facebook
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, Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG), West Fork Watersheds Partnership, and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

Twitter Logo
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, including fish consumption advisories, @HGACwater.
Banner Photo: Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve Natural Resources Management and Public Access and Education Project is a winner in the H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas Awards Program in the On-the-Ground-Projects Over $500,000 category. 

The project, along with the other winning projects, will be honored Tuesday, January 17, at H-GAC.
Would you like us to consider featuring your municipality, program, or regional photo on the C&E Planning Update banner? Just forward Andrea Tantillo your picture, along with some information about the subject and the photographer, and you might see it in a future month's newsletter.  
Houston-Galveston Area Council, PO Box 22777, Houston, TX 77227-2777
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