December 2015 C&E Planning Update Newsletter Banner       
December 2015
In This Issue
Guide Offers Tips for Companies to Make Biking Easier
We Want to Hear About Your Experiences in Greenway Plaza
Survey to Help Prioritize Economic Development Strategies
Learn About Mattress Recycling at Roundtable
Save the Date for Next Revitalization Roundtable
Parks and Natural Areas Award Recipients to be Honored
Focus On - Water Resources Programs
Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Be a Part of the 23rd Annual River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®
Early Registration Still Open for State of the Bay Symposium
City Continues Work on Houston Bike Plan
KTB Announces Registration for Great American Cleanup
Audubon Christmas Bird Count Begins December 14
KTB Awards Honor Communities, Businesses, Media Outlets, and Individuals
Scenic City Certification Program Announces 2016 Standards
National Stormwater Center Offers Certified Stormwater Inspector Training Course in Dallas
NADO Research Foundation Releases New Report and Website on Regional Resilience
Save the Date for the 3rd SelectUSA Investment Summit
Funding Opportunities
Community and Environmental Planning
News and Notes
Quick Links
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Meeting Information
To visit the H-GAC website for a list of all upcoming meetings click here.

To get a list of other environmentally related meetings and events in our region click here.

Disability SignIn compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, H-GAC will provide for reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities attending H-GAC functions. Requests should be received 24 hours prior to the function. Call the meeting organizer to make arrangements.

As part of our commitment to Going Green, Green WorldH-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department encourages meeting attendees to bring their own mug or cup to all meetings.
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Would you like for us to consider featuring your municipality, program or regional photo on the C&E Planning Update banner? Just forward your picture, along with some information about the subject and the photographer, and you might see it in a future month's newsletter. 


Forward your picture and information to Andrea Tantillo.

Guide Offers Tips for Companies to Make Biking Easier

Cover of End of Trip Facilities Guide Although more places are connected to the region's growing bicycle network, cyclists may be unable to store their bikes, fix a flat tire, or freshen up once they reach their destination. H-GAC just released End-of-Trip Facilities: A Planning Guide for the Houston-Galveston Region which identifies different types of end-of-trip facilities public and private entities can provide to make it easier for visitors and employees to arrive by bike.


The guide is organized into three sections that address bicycle parking (Lock Up), bicycle repair (Tune Up), and changing facilities for cyclists (Clean Up). Case studies from our region and beyond demonstrate how companies are successfully making end-of-trip facilities available for their employees and visitors.

We Want to Hear About Your Experiences in Greenway Plaza

Greenway to Greater Mobility logo H-GAC is partnering with Cousins Properties to identify projects, policies, and programs that could make it easier to walk and bike around Greenway Plaza, one of Houston's largest employment centers.

H-GAC is currently working with a team of experts and local stakeholders to develop recommendations on how public and private entities can work together to improve mobility for pedestrians and cyclists. Public meetings and other events will continue in early 2016, and anyone living, working, and playing in Greenway Plaza can share their ideas on how to improve the area.


Take a survey to tell us about your experiences traveling around Greenway Plaza.

Survey to Help Prioritize Economic Development Strategies

Gulf Coast Economic Developmetn District Logo What do we need to do to improve the region's economy?


The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the regional plan for economic development. The CEDS analyzes the regional economy, establishes regional economic goals and strategies, and outlines a plan of action.


The Gulf Coast Economic Development District is examining which strategies and actions to prioritize for implementation in 2016. Please complete a brief survey to help us with this prioritization effort.

Learn About Mattress Recycling at Roundtable
Two men preparing a mattress for recycling

The next Regional Recycling Roundtable is Wednesday, December 2, from 10 a.m. to noon in H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.


Oli Mohammed and Hal Lynde with the Houston Furniture Bank will discuss mattress 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.


More information is available online. To be added to the list for notices of upcoming meetings, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525. 

Save the Date for Next Revitalization Roundtable

Bringing Back Main Street Logo Save the date for the next Bringing Back Main Street Revitalization Roundtable Thursday, January 14, 2016, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Friendswood Chamber of Commerce, 1100 S. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood.


H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables that focus on downtown revitalization.

Parks and Natural Areas Award Recipients to be Honored

flewellan creek restoration The 2015 Parks and Natural Areas Awards reception will be Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at 10:45 a.m. at H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor, following the H-GAC Board meeting.


Award recipients will receive notification later this month. For more information, contact Mary Martha Gaiennie at 713-993-2468.

FocusOnFocus On -  Water Resources Programs

  Focus on Water Resources Programs

H-GAC Coastal Basins
H-GAC Coastal Basins

Since 1993, H-GAC's Water Resources group has collected data and worked regionally to improve surface water quality through watershed planning efforts.


In late 2015, two new watershed planning projects kicked off to address bacteria impairments and other water quality issues: Basins 11 & 13 Planning Efforts and the West Fork San Jacinto River/Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan.

Basins 11 & 13 Planning Efforts
For this project, H-GAC will implement a basin-wide approach to look at multiple bacterial impairments in two coastal basins: Basin 11 - San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin and Basin 13 - Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin.


This effort will be a multi-year process to identify, plan, and address bacteria impairments across the basin in coordination with local stakeholders. H-GAC will provide stakeholders with a better understanding of bacteria impairments in the project area and will assist them in making informed decisions on steps to improve water quality.


West Fork San Jacinto River WPP Characterization
West Fork San Jacinto River Watershed Protection Plan Characterization

West Fork/Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan
This project will address water quality issues and concerns  through the development of a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). The project will also develop characterization studies of Spring Creek and Cypress Creek watersheds to support future efforts.


As tributaries to Lake Houston, these watersheds provide a significant portion of the drinking water resources for the Houston metropolitan area. The project area is experiencing rapid development, increasing local concern about degrading water quality.


H-GAC staff will conduct modeling to identify potential sources of pollution and work with area stakeholders to develop a plan of voluntary solutions to improve water quality issues.


Want to Get Involved?
Interested in becoming a stakeholder or learning more about these efforts? Email or call the project managers.


Basins 11 & 13 Planning Efforts
Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579


West Fork San Jacinto River/Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan
Justin Bower at 713-499-6653 

Camera-Sharing Program Helps to Combat Illegal Dumping

Camera To help track and reduce illegal dumping, H-GAC  offers surveillance cameras and accompanying accessories through a sharing program. The cameras can capture clear videos day or night, including license plates of cars traveling up to 50 mph.


Participation in the program is for local governments within the 13-county H-GAC region and involves specific agreements, including a commitment to use the cameras for solid waste purposes 100 percent of the time and report results to H-GAC.


To allow easier access to local governments, ownership of the cameras has been transferred to Fort Bend, Galveston, and Walker counties. To access the cameras, borrow them from one of those three counties. 


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping determine the demand for pedestrian-bicyclist facilities. 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.


For information about borrowing the counters, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

Be a Part of the 23rd Annual River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®

Trash Bash 2015 The 23rd River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash® is Saturday, April 2, 2016


Become a sponsor. Trash Bash® is made possible through generous contributions and support by sponsors. Check out Sponsorship Levels and Benefits to see how your organization can benefit as a Trash Bash® partner while making a significant positive impact on local waterways. 


Volunteers Needed. Since its inception, more than 98,000 volunteers have collected nearly 2,100 tons of trash, 1.3 tons of recyclable materials, and 9,600 tires. Learn how you can volunteer.

Early Registration Still Open for State of the Bay Symposium

back the bay logo Registration is now open for the Galveston Bay Estuary Program's 10th Annual State of the Bay Symposium: 20 Years of Successfully Preserving Galveston Bay on January 13-14, 2016, at the Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center, Galveston.

Early registration (before Friday, December 11) is $179. Student discounts are available.


Hear from regional leaders and local experts and connect with other leading scientists and natural resource management experts. A tentative agenda is available, including the following sessions led by H-GAC staff:

  • Public Outreach Toolbox by Amanda Thorin
  • Flushing Out Onsite Sewage Facility (OSSF) Problems: Innovative Mapping and Education Help Lead the Way by Will Merrell
  • Watershed Protection Planning: Stakeholder Involvement - Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership by Justin Bower
  • Designing for Impact: Promoting Low Impact Development in the Houston-Galveston Region by Mary Martha Gaiennie
  • Trash Bash: 22 Years of Education and Outreach on Trash Pollution in the Galveston Bay Watershed by Rebecca Begley

City Continues Work on Houston Bike Plan

Houston Bike Plan Logo Over the past month, the Houston Bike Plan team reached out to local partners such as Management Districts, TIRZs, and adjacent jurisdictions to get feedback on local plans and ideas for bike facilities.  This feedback will help guide the development of the draft Houston Bike Plan. 


A draft plan will be released soon for public review and feedback.The Houston Bike Plan team will ask if they got it right or if there is something they missed.


Visit to view the plan vision and goals and sign up for email updates to be notified when the draft Houston Bike Plan is available.

KTB Announces Registration for Great American Cleanup

Great American Cleanup Logo Plans are underway across the country for the Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program, from March 1 to May 31, 2016. Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) is asking everyone planning to host a cleanup event during this time to register to gain access to valuable resources and materials for planning, promoting, and hosting the event, such as trash bags, banners, gloves, and giveaways. Also, be sure to add your event to the KTB calendar.


In addition to offering an event planning and implementation toolkit, KTB has also scheduled planning webinars on Thursday, December 17, and Tuesday, January 5, 2016. Both webinars are free and begin at 11 a.m.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count Begins December 14

Mockingbird The 116th annual Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for Monday, December 14, to January 5, 2016. This activity, organized by the National Audubon Society, is a global, all volunteer effort that collects data on local bird populations. The results are used to help shape scientific understanding of trends among bird populations. Individual counts are organized at the local level and are open to birders of all skill levels. There is no fee to participate in the Christmas Bird Count.


Local counts around the region include:

More information about other locations around the region is available at the Houston Audubon Society website.

KTB Awards Honor Communities, Businesses, Media Outlets, and Individuals

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.


Applications will soon be available for the Keep Texas Beautiful Awards, the Governor's Community Achievement Awards, and the Youth and Educator Awards. All awards applications will be due in early 2016.


Awards training is available to help applicants through the process. Topics include tips and tools for writing award applications, understanding the judging process, and how to effectively organize and present an award application. The next webinar will be Thursday, December 3, at 11 a.m. The topic will be Idea Sharing on the 7 Topic Areas for the Governor's Community Achievement Award. Some pre-recorded webinars are also available.


Interested in helping celebrate individual and community efforts to keep Texas clean? Apply to be a volunteer judge for the Keep Texas Beautiful and Governor's Community Achievement Awards.


Judging will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. February 29, March 1, and May 9, 2016. 


The deadline to submit your application to be a judge is Monday, January 11, 2016. 

Scenic City Certification Program Announces 2016 Standards
The Scenic City Certification Program, a project of Scenic Texas in cooperation with H-GAC, Texas Municipal League, and several additional partners, will accept applications from January 1 through March 31, 2016.

The program supplies cities an objective review of existing infrastructure ordinances for public roadways and public spaces, evaluated against the Scenic City model. Assessments are points-based, with every applicant receiving a detailed, scored evaluation.

The Scenic City information packet with updated 2016 model standards is now available for download.

A new step has been added to the Scenic City application process. All new applicant cities and re-certifying Scenic Cities will participate in a short phone orientation with staff prior to beginning the application. Email  to schedule a phone orientation. Please include two or three available dates and times.

Cities earning the highest points are certified for five years. Currently there are 58 certified Scenic Cities in Texas, including 11 in the H-GAC region: Friendswood, Houston, Magnolia, Missouri City, Nassau Bay, Pearland, Seabrook, Sealy, Sugar Land, Webster, and West University Place.

National Stormwater Center Offers Certified Stormwater Inspector Training Course in Dallas

National Stormwater Center logoThe National Stormwater Center is offering Certified Stormwater Inspector Training in Dallas on December 14-15. Designed specifically for municipal personnel, the course offers training and certification to demonstrate that inspectors are qualified.

Inspectors who take the course learn how to inspect construction, commercial, industrial, and municipal activities, what to inspect, and the limits of their authority. Graduates of the course receive certification for five years, continuing education units, and support of the National Stormwater Center.


Registration is available online. The cost of the course is $824 per person, with discounts available for more than one registrant from the same organization.

NADO Research Foundation Releases New Report and Website on Regional Resilience

NADO Resiliency PublicationThe National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation released Planning for a More Resilient Future: A Guide to Regional Approaches, a report that summarizes the rapidly-growing body of research on resilience, describing the main ideas driving policy and practice across the country and examining current thinking on regional and economic resilience.  It is intended for regional development organizations, local governments, community foundations, voluntary organizations, and others who work as planners, conveners, organizers, fundraisers, mediators, coordinators, and advocates on behalf of communities impacted by, or at risk of being impacted by, disasters.

In addition to this publication, NADO Research Foundation has developed a companion online resource guide which includes examples of ways to approach planning for resilience, a primer on the expansive federal policy framework which determines the priorities for funding resilience initiatives, and the current state of philanthropic engagement in resilience efforts.

Save the Date for the 3rd SelectUSA Investment Summit
Select USA Investment Summit LogoOn June 19-21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce will host the SelectUSA Investment Summit at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. Visit the website and sign up for the SelectUSA email list to be the first to know when registration opens.

More than 2,000 participants from more than 70 international markets and all 50 states attended the 2015 conference.
fundingFunding Opportunities
Tree with $ Money
TCEQ Clean School Bus Program Grants
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Texas Clean School Bus Program is accepting grant applications from schools to retrofit eligible diesel-powered school buses with emissions-reduction technology. This grant opportunity is open to all public and charter schools in Texas that operate one or more diesel-powered school buses. While a school district may apply for any amount of funding, the TCEQ has limited funds and will review applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 2.

NOAA Gulf-B WET Program
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Region is seeking proposals for the Gulf of Mexico-Bay Watershed Education and Training (GULF B-WET) Program. The program is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. Funded projects provide meaningful watershed educational experiences for students, related professional development for teachers, and help to support regional education and environmental priorities in the Gulf of Mexico. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 11.
HHS Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is accepting applications for the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP) to help small rural hospitals of 49 beds or less, do any or all of the following: 1) enable the purchase of equipment and/or training to help attain the value-based purchasing provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); 2) aid in joining or becoming accountable care organizations, or create shared savings programs per the ACA; and 3) enable the purchase of health information technology, equipment, and/or training to comply with meaningful use, ICD-10 standards, and payment bundling.  The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 15.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The president declared a major disaster for the State of Texas following the dangerous flooding earlier this year. Funding for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-4223-DR is now available statewide through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Funding priority will be given to projects including flood control, demolition, and individual and community safe rooms. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 15.
EPA 2016 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Funds and Cleanup Grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Request for Proposals for the 2016 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Funds, and Cleanup Grants. More information, frequently asked questions, and application instructions are available online. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 18.
CIRD Workshop Funding
The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is seeking proposals from rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017. Six communities will be selected through this annual, competitive process. Selected communities will receive technical assistance from a team of experts who have experience working on downtown revitalization, historic preservation, and transportation planning. In addition to this technical assistance (valued at $35,000), successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (one-to-one match required). Proposals are due Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

TPWD Recreational Trail Grants
Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) is accepting applications for the Recreational Trail Program. This is a reimbursable grant program to cover up to 80 percent of project costs with a maximum of $200,000 for non-motorized trail grants and $400,000 for motorized off-highway vehicle grants. Funds can be spent on both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects that are open and accessible to the general public, such as the construction of new recreational trails, improving existing trails, developing trailheads or trailside facilities, and acquiring trail corridors. The deadline to apply is Monday, February 1, 2016.
TCEQ Texas Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) Texas Emissions Reduction Plan program is accepting applications for Emissions Reduction Incentives Grants designed to reduce air pollution. Owners of eligible vehicles and equipment in counties in the nonattainment or near-nonattainment areas for national ambient air quality standards are eligible for funding. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, February 2, 2016.
NFWF Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is seeking applications for the 2016 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. This program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality and watersheds and the species and habitats they support. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 3, 2016.
EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants
The U.S. EPA is seeking applicants for a total of $1.2 million in Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving grants. Cooperative agreements may be awarded to local community-based organizations seeking to address environmental and/or public health concerns in their communities through collaboration with other stakeholders, such as state and local governments, industry, academia, or non-governmental organizations. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 12, 2016.

EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting grant applications to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA's Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. There are no submission deadlines under this opportunity. Proposals and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the publication of a new funding opportunity notice.
Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants
Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants help state and local organizations take advantage of unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. Detailed guidelines, criteria, and application requirements are available onlineRapid Response Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.
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.

If you know of a funding opportunity, forward it to Andrea Tantillo.
Community and Environmental Planning

Grant Programs

H-GAC's Community Enhancement Grants are designed to help municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations enhance public spaces, such as gateways, parks, waterfronts, and business districts.


Loan Programs 

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department currently manages three loan programs------the Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program, the Business Loan Fund, and the Government Loan Fund.


HGALDCThe SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction and equipment purchases.Gulf Coast Economic Developmetn District Logo 


The Business Loan Fund assists small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region.

The Government Loan Fund assists local governments and school districts in the Houston-Galveston region. 

Anyone interested in applying for a loan or getting more information should contact


Mapping Applications and GIS Data

GIS GlobesIf you are looking for maps, mapping 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. Map Book provides maps in several formats for printing. Mobile applications are available.



find us on facebookH-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), and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.



Twitter LogoFind the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter Feed @hgaccog. H-GAC's water resources department program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region, including fish consumption advisories, @HGACwater.

News and Notes
Andrea Tantillo, Communications Specialist
Houston-Galveston Area Council
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