January 2015 Banner - Bethel Park       
 January 2015
In This Issue
Register Now for Bringing Back Main Street Workshops
Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan Comment Period Ends January 9
H-GAC to Release Fourth Quarter Regional Growth Forecast
Roundtable to Discuss Enforcement and Small Businesses
H-GALDC 2014 Wrap Up
Focus on Texas Stream Team
Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan on Agenda for Brown Bag Lunch Series Program
Water Quality Case Studies Set for Next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop
H-GAC Honors Area Parks for Outstanding Planning and Project Implementation
Save the Date for Trash Bash® March 28
2015 Low Impact Development Conference Set for January 2015
Texas Communities Encouraged to Apply for Prestigious Statewide Award
Businesses Make the Pledge to Take Care of Texas a Proud Partner
Students Can Participate in Art Contests, Slogan Contest, and Scholarship Competition
EPA Announces New ENERGY STAR Tool for Homeowners
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

Bethel Park 

The City of Houston and a design team* led by White Oak Studio created a beautiful community park from the ruins of a church in Houston's historic Fourth Ward. Masonry walls, left from a 2005 fire, frame an open-air space that celebrates the history of the church and the Freedman's Town community. The Bethel Park project received an H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas award for "On-The-Ground Projects over $500k" in 2013. (*Landscape Architect - White Oak Studio, Architect - PGAL, and Structural Engineers - Henderson+Rogers and Walter P. Moore).


Learn more about the 2014 Parks Awards Winners here.


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.

Register Now for Bringing Back Main Street Workshops

Bringing Back Main Street LogoH-GAC will host Bringing Back Main Street, a series of workshops focusing on tools small cities and towns can use to revitalize their downtowns. Experts from throughout Texas will provide tips for creating an economically-vibrant Main Street.

These all-day workshops will be at the Rosenberg Civic and Convention Center, 3825 Highway 36 South, Rosenberg. Sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m., and lunch will be provided.  


The workshops are:


Thursday, January 15, Creating Your Vision 
Learn about successful revitalization efforts statewide, and how your community can develop a long-term plan for making downtown a vibrant destination. Register here.


Thursday, February 5, Realizing Your Vision 
Learn about policies, programs, and funding tools that can support and encourage investment downtown. Register here.

Wednesday, February 25, Selling Your Vision 
Learn how your community can market its downtown to residents, businesses, and visitors. Register here.


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

Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan Comment Period Ends January 9

Ped-BikePlanLogo The draft H-GAC 2040 Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan is available online for public review and comments through Friday, January 9.

The Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan is a long-range planning document describing the region's vision for enhancing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure within the eight-county Transportation Management Area (TMA).  


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

H-GAC to Release Fourth Quarter Regional Growth Forecast

GIS GlobesH-GAC will release its 2014 fourth quarter regional growth forecast estimates in mid-January. The 2014 Q4 release will include data on population and jobs down to the Transportation Analysis Zone (TAZ) and Census Tract level. The data will be available for display as maps and tables, as well as for downloading. 


More information is available online.

Roundtable to Discuss Enforcement and Small Businesses

Environmental Enforcement Roundtable The next Environmental Enforcement Roundtable will be Thursday, January 22, from 10 a.m. to noon in H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


The topic will be Environmental Enforcement and Small Business Assistance. Speakers will be Jennifer Amelang with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Small Business and Local Government Assistance Group and a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health  Administration (OSHA) Consultation Program. Attendees can learn what these organizations do, how to best work with them, and some specific information on how they work with certain types of small businesses, such as surface coating facilities and auto salvage yards.

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


H-GAC hosts quarterly 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 TCEQ's Region 12 office. To be included in our invitation list for these roundtables, contact Erin Livingston

H-GALDC 2014 Wrap Up

H-GALDC Sponsored a Golf Tournament in 2014
Pictured at the HAGGL Golf Tournament are Katia Jahnke, H-GALDC SBA 504 Loan Operations Manager; Ozzie Martinez, LDC Board Member; Karen Bean of Signature Securities; and Russell Hughes with Houston SBA District Office.

Last year was busy for the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC). A new manager, Katia Jahnke, joined the team in May of 2014. Shana Griffin and Judy Przyborski have been working with the new manager to enhance the department with new operational procedures.


To help promote the program in the community, H-GALDC was a sponsor for the Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders' Golf Tournament (HAGGL) in October.


H-GALDC is excited to report their first Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan approval in the past two years. The $1,584,000 loan is for a hotel project in College Station, Texas.


In addition to the SBA 504 Loan Program, H-GALDC has taken over operation of the Business Loan Fund. Two new loans have closed totaling over $400,000.


Both programs have several hopeful loan approvals in their pipeline. H-GALDC is looking forward to a prosperous and productive 2015.

  Focus on Texas Stream Team           

Texas Stream Team, formerly known as Texas Watch, has been educating and training community members to become certified volunteer water quality monitors since 1991. The organization is based out of Texas State University at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and has over 1,400 volunteers collecting water quality data on lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, bays, and bayous across the state.


H-GAC has been a Stream Team partner since 1993 and funds a program locally through the Clean Rivers Program. H-GAC currently has 96 Stream Team monitors at 94 monitoring sites. To become a Stream Team monitor, volunteers must complete three phases of training. Phase I is an introduction and hands-on classroom instruction. Phase II is in the field and involves a discussion of field observations and practice of the monitoring procedures in the outdoor environment. Phases I and II are generally all-day training sessions. Phase III is a one-on-one session with a trainer at the volunteer's proposed monitoring site. We encourage volunteers to find their own monitoring stations; however, H-GAC is happy to work with new monitors to find a suitable monitoring site in proximity to the volunteer's home or work.


The data collected by Stream Team volunteers is extremely valuable. The data is used to supplement data collected by professional monitors and factors into regional water quality assessments and decision making. Most Stream Team monitoring sites are located in areas where professional monitoring does not currently take place. Stream Team data is also used to inform where new professional monitoring should take place and to identify areas with potential water quality issues.


The next volunteer training will be in the spring. To learn more about upcoming training sessions and current monitoring locations, contact Will Merrell at 713-993-4594.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan on Agenda for Brown Bag Lunch Series Program

JEFF TAEBEL H-GAC's next Brown Bag Lunch Series program will be all about the Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan on Monday, January 19, from noon to 1 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


Jeff Taebel, Director of Community and Environmental Planning for H-GAC, will present the first update of the Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan since 2007. Key plan components include:

  • Regional Bikeway Network Concept
  • Local Networks
  • Access to and within Activity Centers
  • Funding priorities
This event is open to the public. For more information or to submit an abstract for a future presentation, contact Rosalind Hebert at 713-993-2471

Water Quality Case Studies Set for Next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop

Clean Waters Initiative Logo The next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop will be Wednesday, January 28, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.


The topic of the workshop will be Water Quality Case Studies and will include case studies such as Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) Bacteria Sampling, On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF) permitting and inspections, and use of cameras for environmental investigations and illegal dumping.

Online registration will be available soon. For more information, contact Aubin Phillips at 832-681-2524.

parksH-GAC Honors Area Parks for Outstanding Planning and Project Implementation

H-GAC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Parks and Natural Areas Award competition. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region.


H-GAC received applications in four categories: Policy Tools, the Planning Process, On the-Ground Projects Over $500,000, and On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000. On Tuesday, January 20, the H-GAC Board of Directors is scheduled to honor the outstanding parks and natural areas projects during the regular Board meeting. A reception will follow at 10:45 a.m. at H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.


Go Native - 2014 Parks Award Winner


Go Native, a project by the City of Missouri City, is the winner in the Policy Tools category. The Go Native policy was established with the help of Missouri City Green volunteers to transform a few of the city's high maintenance landscapes with more adaptable native landscapes.





Fort Bend Master Plan - 2014 Parks Awards Winner 

Brazos River Recreation Master Plan, a project by Fort Bend Green, is the winner in the Planning Process category. The plan identified recreation and conservation opportunities for Fort Bend County, and clarified projects and partners to work across jurisdictional boundaries to meet a regional goal. Planning Process Honorable Mention project is Creation of Evelyn's Park, a project by Evelyn's Park Conservancy.


Ghirardi WatrerSmart Park - 2014 Parks Awards Winner


Ghirardi Family WaterSmart Park, a project by the City of League City, is the winner in the Projects Over $500K category. The park was created to educate the public on best water management practices, while providing an open space for recreation and research.





Baytown Nature Center - 2014 Parks Awards Winner


Baytown Nature Center 11-acre Wetlands Construction Project,  a project by the City of Baytown, is the winner in the Projects Under $500K category. Constructed in May 2014, this project transformed over 11 acres of degraded land into high-quality tidal wetlands at the Baytown Nature Center. Projects Under $500K Honorable Mention project is Irene Stern Butterfly Garden, a project by the City of Fulshear.



Special recognition is also given in the following categories: 


Planning Process 

  • Every Day is Earth Day (City of Missouri City)

  • Keith Elementary School Butterfly Garden (Keith Elementary School)

On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000

  • Replenish the Tree Canopy (City of Seabrook)

  • Invasive Exotic Plant Removal and Habitat Restoration in Public Spaces (Bayou Preservation Association)

Save the Date for Trash Bash® March 28

Official Trash Bash LogoMark your calendars for the 22nd annual River, Lakes, Bays, N' Bayous Trash Bash® 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, 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.

2015 Low Impact Development Conference Set for January 2015

rain gardenThe 2015 International Low Impact Development (LID) Conference will be January 19-21, at the Omni Houston Galleria Hotel, 4 Riverway, Houston.

The LID Conference will highlight new and continuing work including research developments and community adoption of LID throughout the United States and internationally. In addition, this conference will focus on the application of LID technology in the Southwest region of the United States and will also include a mini-symposium on arid region LID.

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. 


Awards training (via webinar on January 8, 13 and 22) 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 a community's award application.  


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 people, groups and government agencies who work to enhance their communities. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 14.

Businesses Make the Pledge To Be Take Care of Texas a Proud Partners

Take Care of Texas Proud Partner LogoThe Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Program encourages all businesses and organizations to pledge to do their part to protect the environment. As members of the community, corporations, governments, nonprofits, and private organizations can assume a leadership role by reducing emissions and waste, conserving energy, using water wisely, recycling, and creating opportunities to reduce employee travel.

Organizations that make the pledge (which is 100% voluntary and 100% free) can receive Proud Partner window and door decals and a customized partnership package.

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.

EPA Announces New ENERGY STAR Tool for Homeowners

EPA logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor, an online tool designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized and prioritized home-improvement projects.


The updated Home Advisor guides the homeowner through a do-it-yourself energy assessment to create an ENERGY STAR home profile. 


The new tool also helps prioritize money-saving projects like insulating the attic and replacing HVAC filters. These improvements reduce heating and cooling costs and help keep your home free from allergens.


Learn more about using the Home Advisor.

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.


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.



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