Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
USDA Offers Disaster Recovery Programs for Business Owners, Residents

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies offer disaster assistance and recovery programs for residents and small businesses following Hurricane Harvey.

Crop and Livestock Loss
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish ProgramEmergency Forest Restoration Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. H-GAC will host a webinar with FSA about these programs on Friday, November 3. See below for details.
The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses, or prevented planting.

Community Recovery Resources
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program

NRCS can help producers with damaged agricultural lands caused by natural disasters through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP provides financial assistance to repair and prevent excessive soil erosion that can result from high rainfall events and flooding. Conservation practices supported through EQIP protect the land and aid in recovery, can build the natural resource base, and might help mitigate loss in future events.

Property and Shelter
USDA Rural Development can assist with providing priority hardship application processing for single family housing or can issue a priority letter for next available multi-family housing units. Other assistance, including low-interest loans to community facilities, water environmental programs, businesses and cooperatives, and rural utilities may also be available. For information, visit the Rural Development website or the Texas office.
For complete details and eligibility requirements regarding USDA's disaster assistance programs, contact a local office.

Houston Area Urban Forests Logo
Houston Area Urban Forests to Prioritize Reforestation, Species Diversification Projects

Houston Area Urban Forests, a joint effort of H-GAC, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc., American Forests, local governments, and other partners, is developing a long-range strategy for growing and diversifying the urban forests in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery counties.
As part of this planning process, Houston Area Urban Forests has issued a call for projects to identify, evaluate, and prioritize local reforestation and species diversification projects to implement this strategy.
No funding will be awarded as a result of this call. However, Houston Area Urban Forests hopes designation as a priority project will be helpful to local entities seeking grant funding.
All local governments, non-governmental organizations, and private sector organizations in the urbanized areas in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery counties are invited to submit project ideas for this effort. The deadline to submit projects is Monday, November 20.
More information is available online or by calling Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.

Regional Flood Information Screen Shot
H-GAC Launches Interactive Regional Flood Information App

H-GAC's Regional Flood Information App is an interactive GIS tool providing information on neighborhoods and populations vulnerable to potential flooding and hazards. It consolidates data from various federal and local agencies relevant to recent flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in the 13-county H-GAC region.

Users can get more information about the application and how to use it by accessing the user guide, available by clicking the "information" icon in the application.

For more information, email

Regional Recycling Roundtable Wins STAR Award

H-GAC's Regional Recycling Roundtable received an honorable mention for the 2017 State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) Outstanding Environmental Public Education and Outreach Program Award. 


This award recognizes an innovative nonprofit, government agency, or company whose program shows leadership in public education and outreach on recycling. 

H-GAC was recognized for a series of workshops focusing on the role of the circular economy in the recycling industry. Four workshops allowed for a deeper understanding of how the circular economy can work when all parts of the system

  • preserve natural capital;
  • optimize resource yields; and
  • foster system effectiveness to address the resource and system challenges that recycling economies face.

The quarterly roundtables promote recycling and waste reduction and provide a forum for discussion about recycling issues within the region. They are open to municipalities, counties, commercial recyclers, advocacy groups, nonprofits, neighborhoods, and residents.

Upcoming Events
USDA-FSA Funding Webinar - November 3

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides programs for agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including grants for lost livestock, feed, crops, and equipment. 

 H-GAC will host a webinar from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, November 3, about two FSA programs with upcoming deadlines: the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP)

 An FSA representative will discuss details of each program, application criteria, and other key information for applicants. 

Registration for the webinar is available online. For more information, contact Clint McManus at 832-681-2513.

Census Workshops at H-GAC - November 6 and 7

The U.S. Census Bureau will host two workshops at H-GAC to discuss and promote the Participant Statistical Area Program (PSAP) and Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) that will directly influence the results of the 2020 Census in the Houston-Galveston region.

Introductory PSAP Discussion
Monday, November 6
1 to 3 p.m.
H-GAC Conference Room A 
Second Floor

LUCA Training Workshop
Tuesday, November 7
8 a.m. to noon
H-GAC Conference Room B 
Second Floor

Anyone interested in learning what their communities need to get ready for the next Census is welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Jim Castagneri at 720-962-3872.

A portion of roof is removed with a claw during demolition of a home swept from its foundation into a marsh in Union Beach. The project falls under FEMA's Public Assistance Waterways Debris Removal Program. Photo by Sharon Karr-FEMA
Life After Harvey - November 9

H-GAC provides training and resources to help local governments address the need for communities to perform efficient and timely cleanup of disaster debris.
The 2017 Disaster Debris Workshop Series concludes with Life After Harvey from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, November 9, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.
The destructive forces of Hurricane Harvey, including wind, storm surge, and historic rainfall, generated never before seen quantities of debris throughout the state. 

The purpose of this workshop is to explore
  • Lessons learned for debris operations including:
    • Debris estimation
    • Contracting and Procurement
    • Public Information
    • Disposal
    • Funding sources;
  • Opportunities to mitigate the natural and built environment; and
  • Long term recovery opportunities.
Online registration is requested. The workshop is also available via webinar. 
For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

National Oak Park benches and path
PNA Fall Field Trip  - November 13

The Parks and Natural Areas (PNA) Subcommittee's fall field trip will be from noon to 3 p.m. Monday, November 13, at National Oak Park in Alvin.

Participants will learn more about the award-winning Nature Observation Area at National Oak Park. The field trip will begin at the Alvin Senior Center, 309 W. Sealy Street, Alvin, with lunch provided by the City of Alvin. The City will provide transportation from the senior center to the park.

Online registration is required by Wednesday, November 8, for lunch and transportation.

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

Basin 11 Map
Basin 11 includes all or a portion of 50 cities, villages, and census-designated places, and four counties.
Basin 11 Public Meeting - November 14

H-GAC invites stakeholders to discuss bacteria reduction options for Chocolate Bayou from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, at Brazoria County Public Library-Alvin Branch, 105 S. Gordon Street, Alvin.

Chocolate Bayou is within the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin (Basin 11) project area. The Basin 11 project is a multi-year process to improve the quality of waterways, specifically reducing bacteria levels. 

During this meeting, participants will discuss options for developing a voluntary bacteria reduction plan and begin identifying stakeholders for a coordination committee to guide this effort. 

For more information, contact Kathy Janhsen at 713-993-2423.

Clean Cities Technology Conference - November 14

Registration continues for the Clean Cities Alternative Fuels Low NOx and Zero Emission Technology Conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, at Faust Distributing, 10040 East Freeway, Houston.

The conference will discuss clean technologies available for both on-road and off-road vehicles and equipment. Panel discussions will cover natural gas, propane autogas, and electric vehicles and equipment.

Kent Johnson from the University of California Riverside will present some of his recent work comparing emissions generated in the use of Low NOx compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel engines. He will discuss a study recommending which vehicles should consider using alternative fuels in their operations for better operational efficiency and lower emissions.

The conference will conclude with a panel discussion on the availability of different types of funding for assisting in the purchase of low NOx and zero emission vehicles and equipment and how to apply for funding.


Registration is $50 in advance and $60 the day of the conference. Discounts are available for school district representatives. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
CWI Workshop: Freshwater Inflows - November 28

The next Clean Waters Initiative (CWI) workshop will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 28, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The topic will be freshwater inflows.

Speakers from the Texas Water Development Board, Texas A&M at Galveston, and the Trinity River Authority will provide participants with greater understanding of the function and importance of freshwater inflows and updates on their respective research, projects, and local needs.

Online registration is requested. For more information, contact Kathy Janhsen at 713-993-2423.

Basin 13 Map
This project includes all or a portion of 20 cities, villages, and census-designated places and six counties.
Basin 13 Public Meeting - December 7

H-GAC invites stakeholders to discuss bacteria reduction options for the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin (Basin 13) from 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, December 7, at Wharton County Public Library - Main Branch, 1920 North Fulton, Wharton.

The Basin 13 project is a multi-year process to improve the quality of waterways, specifically reducing bacteria levels in Caney Creek Tidal, Linnville Bayou, and Caney Creek Above Tidal

During this meeting, participants will discuss options for developing a voluntary bacteria reduction plan  and begin identifying stakeholders for a coordination committee to guide this effort. 

For more information, contact Kathy Janhsen at 713-993-2423.

Trash Bash Sims Bayou
25th Trash Bash - March 24, 2018

Many volunteers will be needed in the coming months to help clean up trash and debris deposited in regional waterways by Hurricane Harvey.
The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash will celebrate 25 years of work by helping clean miles of shoreline in the Galveston Bay watershed on Saturday, March 24, 2018. 

Learn more about becoming a volunteer or sponsor for Trash Bash 2018. 

For more information, contact
Partner Announcements
America Recycles Day
America Recycles Day logo
For 20 years, communities have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. Do you have plans for hosting a special event on that day? Log in and register your event.

Take Care of Texas Video Contest
Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Logo
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) invites children in grades six through twelve to enter the second-annual Take Care of Texas Video Contest. Student videos should be 30 seconds long and portray positive ways Texans can help keep air and water clean, conserve water and energy, or reduce waste. The contest deadline is Friday, December 15, and the public will have the opportunity to pick their favorite videos January 11 through 25, 2018. A panel of TCEQ staff and representatives from Waste Management Texas will choose the first, second, and third place winners from each of the grade groups. Winners will be announced February 20, 2018.

Harris County Community Health Survey
Image of a survey being filled out in pencil

Residents are asked to share their opinions on health in Harris County by completing a survey by Friday, December 22. Participants will be entered for a drawing for a $100 gift card. Results of the survey will be used by Harris County Public Health to inform health improvement plans for the county. For more information, contact Aimee Schultze at 713-274-6328.

More Upcoming Events
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
CEC logo
The Citizens' Environmental Coalition will host a screening of greater Houston environmental films on Wednesday, November 15. Select films from this screening will be shown at CEC's showing of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour on January 24 and 25, 2018.

Exploration Green Tree, Wetlands Planting Opportunities
Exploration Green Logo
Volunteers are needed to help plant native trees and wetland species on the Habitat Island at Exploration Green. Plantings will be on two Saturdays. The tree planting, led by Trees for Houston, is Saturday, November 18. The wetland planting, led by the Texas Community Watershed Partners/Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is Saturday, November 25. Access to the island is by boat and limited to 50 people. However, there will be volunteer activities on shore. Children with a parent present are welcome to do work onshore. Volunteers should wear clothes and shoes that can get wet and muddy. Tools will be provided. There is no charge for this community event, but registration is requested. For more information, email

Houston|Bay Area Storm Water Flooding Forum
Environmental Institute of Houston logo
Save the date for the Houston|Bay Area Storm Water Flooding Forum: Harvey, Ike and Our Future at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 28, at the University of Houston - Clear Lake Auditorium, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston. Experts and thought leaders will come together to address the problems and solutions for major rain flooding and hurricane storm surge flooding at a free, public forum. The Flooding Forum is sponsored by Environmental Institute of Houston, Americans United in Action, and Houston Region Concerned Citizens. For more information , email

City Efficiency Leadership Council
The South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER), in collaboration with the State Energy Conservation Office and Houston Advanced Research Center, is hosting the City Efficiency Leadership Council meeting for small and mid-sized cities in the Houston-Galveston region. The meeting will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 13, at H-GAC, Conference Room D, Second Floor. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is limited to cities and other public agencies (including public schools).  Advance registration is required.
Funding Sources
Notice of Loan Fund Availability

The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) invites eligible entities to apply for loan assistance to perform building energy efficiency retrofits.

The Texas LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program finances energy-related, cost-reduction retrofits for state, public school district, public college, public university, and tax district supported nonprofit hospital facilities. Low-interest rate loans enable successful applicants to implement energy-related, cost-reduction efforts at their facilities. The program's revolving loan mechanism allows applicants to repay loans through the energy cost savings realized from the projects. 

Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis during the open enrollment period ending Friday, August 31, 2018. For application information, visit the SECO website.

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.
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: Fall Flowers by Cheryl Mergo

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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