February 2105 Banner       
 February 2015
In This Issue
Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan Approved
H-GAC Launches Designing for Impact Project
Open House to Showcase Rapid Housing Prototype
Pet Waste to be Topic for Next CWI
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Focus on Regional Growth Forecast
TxDOT, H-GAC to Host Transportation Alternatives Program Workshop
H-GAC Offers Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Regional Recycling Roundtable to be February 26
Public Comment Sought for Water Quality Project in Armand Bayou
2015 Storm Debris Workshop Series Kicks Off March 26
Clean Up Area Waterways at Annual Trash Bash® March 28
New App Makes Reporting Pollution in Galveston Bay Easier
Texas Communities Encouraged to Apply for Prestigious Statewide Award
Students Can Participate in Art Contests, Slogan Contest, and Scholarship Competition
Application Period Now Open for Scenic City Certification
Wildfire Mitigation Webinars Planned for February 10 and 12
Plastics Recycling 2015 Conference Planned for February 23-25 in Dallas
News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Funding Opportunities
Community and Environmental Planning
News and Notes
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!
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.
Banner Photo

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.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan Approved

Ped-BikePlanLogo On January 23, the Transportation Policy Council (TPC) approved the H-GAC 2040 Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, a long-range planning document describing our region's vision for enhancing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure within the eight-county Transportation Management Area (TMA).

 

The full plan is available online.

 

For more information, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

H-GAC Launches Designing for Impact Project

H-GAC and LID Map H-GAC has launched Designing for Impact, a multi-faceted project seeking to promote and educate the public, engineers, and developers on the many benefits of implementing Low Impact Development (LID) practices in all types of development projects.

 

A new website is now available to explain LID and exhibit photos of what different LID practices look like in our region. You can also learn more about the Designing for Impact project and where LID practices can be found in our region

 

For more information, contact Mary Martha Gaiennie at 713-993-2468.

Open House to Showcase Rapid Housing Prototype

Back Home - Rapid Housing Recovery Pilot Program Logo

The H-GAC Back Home Rapid Housing Recovery Pilot Program will build 20 homes in Harris and Galveston counties to explore an alternative post-disaster housing model; providing permanent housing that is durable, efficient, meets local codes, and fits into the neighborhood. 

Interested community members are invited to tour the prototype of the completed home during an open house on Tuesday, February 3, from 9 to 11 a.m. at 11305 Gulf Freeway, Houston. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and help interested homeowners begin the application process.

H-GAC, along with partners Tegrity Homes, Architend, and Home Innovations Research Labs, designed, developed and constructed the prototype home based on input from the community and local officials.

More information is available online or contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.

Pet Waste to be Topic for Next CWI

Clean Waters Initiative Logo The next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop will be Wednesday, February 25, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor.

 

The topic of the workshop is Pet Waste and Trash Pickup and will include discussions on Trash Bash®, the Trashman of Buffalo Bayou, Adopt a Beach, dog park pet waste stations, trash clean up initiatives along bayous, and the Galveston Bay Action Network app.


Registration information is available online. For more information, contact Aubin Phillips at 832-681-2524.

Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping establish the demand for pedestrian-bicyclist facilities. H-GAC has three 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 more information about the loan of the counters, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

            

Each quarter H-GAC releases an update to the Regional Growth Forecast including information on projected population, employment, and land use in the 8-county (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller) H-GAC region. 

 

The forecast can be used in transportation studies, socioeconomic research, and determining possible future development projects. Each quarterly release incorporates new information, changes made based upon feedback, and improvements to the forecast model. Each release is uniquely identified by the year and quarter. The latest release is current through the duration of the quarter.

 

We invite you to explore the forecast data: you can view summary charts and maps, use our web-based mapping application, query data, work with the Excel tables, and read documentation. All the data from our web mapping application is also available for GIS users to download. Your review of the forecast is extremely important to us, and we encourage you to send us your feedback. To receive updates about the forecast, please sign up for our news

TxDOT, H-GAC to Host Transportation Alternatives Program Workshop

TxDOT logoThe Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and H-GAC are hosting a workshop about the recently-announced Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Call for Projects. This all-day workshop will be Thursday, February 12, at TxDOT-Houston District, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston. Sessions will begin at 9 a.m.

 

Representatives from TxDOT and other organizations will provide information on how eligible local governments can use this opportunity to seek funding for pedestrian, bicycle, and other transportation improvements.

 

For more information, contact  Ana Ramirez with TxDOT-Houston District at 713-802-5810.

H-GAC Offers Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping

CameraTo 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 as well as license plates of cars traveling up to 50 mph.

 

Participation in the program is for local governments and involves specific agreements, including a commitment to use the cameras for solid waste purposes 100% of the time and report results back 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, you will need to borrow them from one of those three counties.

 

More information is available online or contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Regional Recycling Roundtable to be February 26

Recycling Bin Save the date for the next Regional Recycling Roundtable, scheduled for Thursday, February 26, from 10 a.m. to noon in H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.

 

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.

Public Comment Sought for Water Quality Project in Armand Bayou

Armand Bayou The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will take public comment on six draft total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for indicator bacteria in the Armand Bayou watershed of the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin in Harris County.


The comment meeting is open to the public and is scheduled for Thursday, February 12, at 6 p.m. in the Discovery Room (#108) at the Johnson Space Center, Gilruth Center, (NASA/JSC Gilruth Center) 2101 E NASA Parkway Houston.

Copies of the draft TMDLs will be available online or can be obtained by calling 512-239-6682.

2015 Storm Debris Workshop Series Kicks Off March 26

Storm Debris from Hurricane Ike Mark your calendars for this year's H-GAC Storm Debris Workshop series, beginning Thursday, March 26.

 

Storms can create large amounts of debris that is costly to clean up and requires space in area landfills. For example, a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 155 mph would create an estimated 12 million tons of debris.

 

H-GAC recognizes the need for communities to perform efficient and timely cleanup of debris generated by natural disasters and provides training and resources to prepare for such an event. The 2015 Storm Debris Workshop schedule is as follows:

  • Debris Management 101, Thursday, March 26
  • Disaster Debris and the Whole Community, Tuesday, April 28
  • Appeals Strategy and Stamina, Wednesday, May 20
  • Advanced Technology in Disaster Debris Management, Tuesday, June 23

More information, including details about topics and registration, will be available online.

Clean Up Area Waterways at Annual Trash Bash® March 28

Official Trash Bash LogoGet ready to "Clean It Like You Mean It" at the 22nd annual River, Lakes, Bays, N' Bayous Trash Bash® on Saturday, March 28. This annual half-day shoreline cleanup will be held at 16 locations across the region. Volunteers will receive free t-shirts, lunch, educational games, and entertainment.

 

Last year during Trash Bash®, more than 5,000 volunteers collected 4.93 tons of trash along 167 miles of shoreline.

 

More information, including start times and registration information, is available online or you can find us on Facebook.

New App Makes Reporting Pollution in Galveston Bay Easier

IphoneMockUp


The Galveston Bay Foundation recently launched the Galveston Bay Action Network, a new online tool and mobile app to help make reporting pollution in Galveston Bay easier. Simply log on to www.galvbay.org/gban and submit a report. Your report will be forwarded to the proper authorities. 

 

Click here to learn more about the Galveston Bay Action Network.

Texas Communities Encouraged to Apply for Prestigious Statewide Award

Keep Texas Beautiful logoKeep Texas Beautiful (KTB) is kicking off its awards season by accepting applications for the Governor's Community Achievement Award (GCAA) program. These awards recognize Texas communities with the best grassroots environmental programs, and the 10 winning communities will share $2 million in landscaping awards. 

 

Applications for the Governor's Community Achievement Awards are due Tuesday, February 3. 

 

Additional KTB awards programs will recognize the efforts of individuals, schools, businesses, media outlets, and communities who work to keep the environment clean.

 

The Keep Texas Beautiful Awards celebrate the efforts of people, groups and government agencies who work to enhance their communities. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 14.

Students Can Participate in Art Contests, Slogan Contest, and Scholarship Competition

Crayons in a circleTake Care of Texas and Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) are looking for student artwork focusing on keeping Texas' environment clean for future generations. KTB is also looking for some student help developing a new slogan for Don't mess with Texas cans across the state.


Open to all K-5 students in Texas, the Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest is looking for artwork depicting how the students, along with their friends and families, can help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. One grand-prize winner will receive a Samsung laptop, and 15 students will win a Samsung tablet. The contest begins Monday, January 5, and artwork must be received by Friday, March 6.

Don't mess with Texas and KTB are teaming up for the second annual Don't mess with Texas Elementary School Art Contest. Students in K-5 are invited to submit original artwork promoting litter prevention and keeping Texas beautiful. The top 12 designs will be included in the 2016 Don't mess with Texas calendar, and each winner will receive an iDea USA 8-inch tablet. Details, including deadlines, will be posted soon.


Don't mess with Texas is also offering college scholarships for high school seniors. They will also announce details for their middle school slogan contest early this year.

Application Period Now Open for Scenic City Certification

The Scenic City Certification Program, a project of Scenic Texas in cooperation with H-GAC, Texas Municipal League and several additional partners, is accepting 2015 applications through Tuesday, 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. Assessment is points-based, with every applicant receiving a detailed, scored evaluation.

Cities earning the highest points are certified for five years. Currently there are 52 certified Scenic Cities in Texas, including nine in the H-GAC region: Friendswood, Houston, Missouri City, Pearland, Sealy, Seabrook, Sugar Land, Webster, and West University Place.

More information, including how to register for an instructional webinar on Tuesday, February 24, is available online.

Wildfire Mitigation Webinars Planned for February 10 and 12

The Federal Emergency Managment (FEMA) R6 Mitigation Program and Texas A&M Forest Services are hosting Wildfire Mitigation: Awareness Leads to Action webinars on February 10 and 12 at 11:30 a.m.

 

This is a collaborative effort to educate local officials of actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of wildfire devastation within communities. Mitigating wildfire risk to the wild land urban interface can reduce or eliminate risk of wildfire to the human environment (homes, neighborhoods, communities).

 

Online registration for each session is now available. Sign up early as space is limited. More information on the stakeholder sessions is available online.

Plastics Recycling 2015 Conference Planned for February 23-25 in Dallas

PlasticsRecyclingConferencewebBanner.jpg  

The Plastics Recycling 2015 Conference will be February 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency, Dallas.

 

Learn how to take advantage of the economy to maintain and grow your business from the leading experts in the field of plastics recovery and utilization. Speakers will present extensive and detailed industry assessments, including analyses of trends in the United States and Canada, plastics collection issues, recycling market factors, and legislative and policy considerations. Registration is $625 and includes some meals.  

News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logoEPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency

EPA launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center on Jan. 16 to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems through innovative financing and building resilience to climate change. Vice President Joseph Biden and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the center during a construction site tour for a tunnel to reduce sewer overflows into the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. by 98 percent. The center is part of the President's Build America Investment Initiative - a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate, expand public-private partnerships, and increase the use of federal credit programs. For more information, visit here.

 

EPA Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative Releases Storm Surge Inundation Map

The Storm Surge Inundation Map is an interactive map that illustrates the current worst-case storm surge and inundation scenarios on the American Gulf and Atlantic coasts, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The map combines data layers from FEMA 100 and 500 year flood maps as well as NOAA's Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) and National Hurricane Center's coastal county hurricane strike maps. Explore the map on EPA's website.

fundingFunding Opportunities

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration GrantsEnvironmental Investigator

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program is seeking applications for projects that develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations. Fundable projects include wetlands creation and restoration; green infrastructure and stormwater management; citizen's science and volunteer water monitoring; coastal habitat, riparian, urban forest restoration and other water quality protection and restoration projects in local communities. Applications must be submitted by Monday, February 2, 2015.

 

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants
The Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants Program offers approximately $76 million for awards. Eligible applicants are public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofits, tribal entities and for-profit developers. Applications must present a plan to revitalize a severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing project located in a distressed neighborhood into a viable, mixed-income community. Applications must be submitted by Monday, February 9, 2015.

 

WaterSMART: Development of Feasibility Studies for Water Reclamation and Reuse
The U.S. Department of Interior is seeking applications for funding to develop feasibility studies under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for Fiscal Year 2015. This funding opportunity for communities which may be seeking new sources of water supplies using water recycling and reuse technologies. Funding made available will assist communities in determining whether water recycling and reuse projects are feasible. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

 

Foam Recycling Equipment Grant
The Foam Recycling Coalition has launched a new grant program, which will pay for equipment needed to process post-consumer expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service packaging, egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging used for shipping fragile items. Applications must be submitted by Monday, March 16, 2015.

 

Drayage Truck Incentive Program
The Drayage Truck Incentive Program is taking applications for up to $3.1 million for the replacement of older drayage trucks operating at seaports and Class I rail yards in areas of Texas designated as nonattainment under the Federal Clean Air Act. The grants may reimburse up to 80 percent of the cost to purchase the new drayage truck. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 5 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2015, or until all funding is awarded, whichever occurs earlier.

 

Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program

The Texas Water Development Board provides low interest financial assistance for planning, design, and construction of wastewater infrastructure. Eligible participants include cities, counties, districts, river authorities, other public bodies and private entities proposing nonpoint source or estuary management projects. Loan applications will be accepted from December 1 through March 1 each year.

 

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Loan Program

The Texas Water Development Board provides low interest financial for assistance planning, design and construction of water infrastructure. Eligible participants include publicly and privately owned community public water systems, including nonprofit water supply corporations and nonprofit, non-community public water systems. Loan applications will be accepted from December 1 through March 1 each year.

 

Light-Duty Purchase or Lease Incentive Program

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering up to $7.7 million in incentives toward the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (propane), or electric drives. Visit the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) website for more information, including deadlines.

 

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 online.

Rapid Response Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

  

Funding Sources Associated with the Gulf Restoration for the BP Oil Spill
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Fund - This funding source was created under the authority of the Oil Pollution Act for early Gulf Coast restoration. Gulf restoration-related projects can currently be added to the NRDA list of projects for potential funding.

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund - This funding source was created out of the criminal settlements associated with the BP Oil Spill. 

 

Sugar Land Legacy Foundation

The Sugar Land Legacy Foundation is a private non-profit organization that was established in 2010 to create a vehicle for sustainable charitable and planned donations for parks and civic facilities in Sugar Land. This includes capital projects and funds supporting activities for recreation, entertainment, sports, the arts, or similar activities that might benefit the citizens of Sugar Land. More information is available online.

 

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

Loan Programs 

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department currently manages two business loan programs--the Small Business Administration 504 and the Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund.

 

HGALDCThe SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction and equipment purchases. Additional information is available onlineGulf Coast Economic Developmetn District LogoThe EDA Business Loan Fund assists small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region.

Anyone interested in applying for a loan or getting more information should contact loans@h-gac.com.

 

Mapping Applications and GIS Data

GIS GlobesIf you are looking for maps, mapping applications, or GIS data related to the Community and Environmental Planning Department, visit www.h-gac.com/go/cegis to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast and more. Our Map Book provides maps in several formats for printing. We also have mobile iPhone/iPad applications.

 

Facebook

find us on facebookH-GAC has a Facebook page where we post information about current and upcoming events. You can find the page here. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While you're there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, such as Recycling, Trash Bash, Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG), and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

 

Twitter

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
Join Our Mailing List!


Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777