June 2015 Banner - Baytown Nature Center       
June 2015
In This Issue
Report Examines Region's Water Quality
Trash Bash® Earns Award Recognition
Roundtable to Discuss Abandoned Buildings
Final Storm Debris Workshop in Series Set for June 23
Ag Programs, Invasive Species Topics of Next CWI Workshop
Focus On - Bringing Back Main Street
Learn About Starting an HHW Program at Roundtable
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time
Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Houston Bike Plan Kicks Off with Public Meetings
North Houston Association Hosts Economic Outlook, Education Innovations Forum
Spring Student Wins Prize in TCEQ Art Competition
Deadline Today for TRIES Water Policy Conference
Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17
Advanced Metering Infrastructure Trainings Set This Summer
Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference
Rail-Volution Set for October 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

The Houston-Galveston Region is home to more than 270,000 acres of parkland and more than 3,000 parks, including Baytown Nature Center. Learn more about parks in the region or find one near you.


 

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.

Report Examines Region's Water Quality

2015 Basin Highlights Report Cover How's the Water? That question is asked and answered in the annual Basin Highlights Report published by H-GAC's Clean Rivers Program.

 

This year's report provides an overview of the current water quality and trends for the region's surface waters, as well as an in-depth look at five specific watersheds: Cedar Bayou Tidal, Bastrop Bayou, West Fork San Jacinto River, East Fork San Jacinto River, and White Oak Bayou.

 

The publication is available online.

Trash Bash® Earns Award Recognition

Official Trash Bash Logo The River, Lakes, Bays 'n Bayous Trash Bash®, an annual waterway clean-up event held each March, recently received two awards.

 

Trash Bash® is runner-up in the Civic/Community category of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's 2015 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards (TEEA).

 

The TEEAs celebrate "the bold efforts of citizens, communities, businesses, and organizations to preserve and protect the Texas environment."


Trash Bash® also won third place in the 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf Guardian Award.

 

"The Gulf of Mexico Program Partnership developed the Gulf Guardian Awards as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful, and productive."

 

Like Trash Bash® on Facebook for updates and information. 

Roundtable to Discuss Abandoned Buildings

Environmental Enforcement Roundtable The next local Environmental Enforcement Roundtable will be Wednesday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor.

 

Representatives from the City of Houston's Department of Neighborhoods will discuss abandoned buildings and substandard structures, options available for dealing with them, and the processes for doing so. Representatives from the Harris County Attorney's Office Environment and Infrastructure Division will offer information on proposed bills being discussed by the Texas Legislature and how local enforcement operations may be affected.


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

Final Storm Debris Workshop in Series Set for June 23

Storm DebrisH-GAC's series of debris management workshops concludes Tuesday, June 23, with Advanced Technology in Disaster Debris Management from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

This workshop will focus on the high-tech equipment and resources available to help manage debris operations. Discussion points will include unmanned aerial surveillance, crowd sourcing, and reporting tools, to name a few.

Refreshments for this workshop are sponsored by AshBritt.

 

There is no cost for this event, but space is limited and registration is required. Register to attend this event in person, or contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525. To attend via webinar, register online.

 

More information is available online.

Ag Programs, Invasive Species Topics of Next CWI Workshop

Clean Waters Initiative Logo

The next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop will be Wednesday, June 24, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., in H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

 

The topic of the workshop is Ag Programs and Invasive Species. Speakers from Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Forest Service, Texas A&M University, Harris County, Armand Bayou Nature Center, and Plum Creek Watershed will discuss a variety of agricultural programs currently underway, as well as invasive species mitigation techniques.

 

The workshop is sponsored by Storm Water Solutions.

Registration information is available online. For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

FocusOnFocus On -  Bringing Back Main Street 

  Focus on Bringing Back Main Street           

With financial assistance from the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation, the Trull Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, H-GAC launched Bringing Back Main Street, a program aimed at helping small communities revitalize their downtown areas.

 

As part of this program, H-GAC hosted a series of workshops with experts from throughout Texas providing tips on how to create an economically-vibrant Main Street. The 40 to 60 people who attended each workshop had opportunities to learn and network.

 

Follow-up included one-on-one technical assistance to select cities, providing them with information on how to address issues their communities are facing. Work continues with several communities to provide this assistance.


Based on extensive research, interviews, and information learned at the workshops, H-GAC compiled Bringing Back Main Street: A Guide to Downtown Revitalization for Local Governments. This how-to guide focuses on four characteristics of successful downtowns:

  • Community-Based Vision
  • Attractive Streetscapes
  • Variety of Uses
  • Effective Marketing

Case studies show how revitalization programs can be applied in different settings, and exemplary initiatives from the region and beyond can serve as models for other communities. This guidebook also identifies funding sources that can be used to support this vision.

 

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

Learn About Starting an HHW Program at Roundtable

Household Hazardous WasteStarting a Household Hazardous Waste Program will be the topic of the next Regional Recycling Roundtable on Thursday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Harris County HHW Facility, 6900 Hahl Road, Houston. Cheryl Burton-Fentress will give a presentation, followed by a tour of the facility.

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.

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

Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time, Money

IKE Recognizing the need for communities to perform efficient and timely cleanup of debris generated by natural disasters, H-GAC has developed the Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program. By having pre-event debris hauler contracts in place, cleanup can be quicker and less costly.


Procuring reputable and experienced firms can be challenging. H-GAC has already handled many of the procurement issues for local governments. The Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program offers access to a pool of the most qualified debris removal contractors, saves time and money associated with the procurement process, and helps maximize eligible FEMA reimbursement.


To learn how to participate in the program, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520 or visit the web page.


As a reminder, hurricane evacuation maps, including zip zone evacuation, surge zone, and evacuation routes, can be found on the H-GAC website.

Camera-Sharing Program Helps to 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, 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% 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. 

 

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

Houston Bike Plan Kicks Off with Public Meetings

Houston Bike Plan Logo The City of Houston is kicking off the Houston Bike Plan, a 12-month planning effort to update the its Comprehensive Bikeway Plan originally adopted in 1993. Houston has made great strides in improving people's ability to bike to more destinations, earning a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists in 2013. New trails are being built along bayous, new protected bikeways have been installed, and more people are riding all over the city.

 

The Houston Bike Plan will build on these efforts to help make Houston a safer, healthier, more bike-friendly city. The City of Houston Planning & Development Department will gather input throughout the planning process. Residents can participate at public meetings and through online activities on the project website.

 

Community meetings to discuss goals and opportunities to improve biking in Houston will be held in June. The content of each meeting will be similar and people are encouraged to attend one or several. 

 

Thursday, June 4
6 to 8 p.m.
Kashmere Multi-service Center
4802 Lockwood Drive, Houston / Auditorium #172 Meeting #3

 

Tuesday, June 9
6 to 8 p.m.
Palm Center Business Technology Center
5330 Griggs Road, Houston, TX 77021 / Conference Room C101

 

Tuesday, June 16
6 to 8 p.m.
HCC Memorial City Performing Arts Center
1060 W Sam Houston Parkway  N, Houston / Theater II Room 411

 

Tuesday, June 23
6 to 8 p.m.
Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center
6500 Rookin Street, Houston

North Houston Association Hosts Economic Outlook, Education Innovations Forum

North Houston Association Logo The North Houston Association and North Houston Regional Center for Economic Development will host an economic development forum, Houston's Economic Outlook Innovations in Workforce Education, on Thursday, June 18, from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. at the Houston Airport Marriott, 18700 John F. Kennedy Boulevard., Houston.


The program will include "Houston's Economic Outlook: No Reason to Panic," by Patrick Jankowski of the Greater Houston Partnership; and "Innovations in Workforce Education," by Dr. Michael Fields (University of Houston-Downtown), Dr. Melissa Gonzalez (Lone Star College), and Dr. Mitchell Muehsam (Sam Houston State University).

 

Attendees can learn more about educational programs, including corporate-defined MBA concentrations, freestanding graduate certificates, customized training, open enrollments, professional seminars, and online course opportunities.

 

The cost to attend is $50 in advance and includes breakfast. Elected officials are invited at no charge, but RSVP to Shannon Roberts at 281-875-0660, ext. 12, is required.

Spring Student Wins Prize in TCEQ Art Competition

Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Logo Congratulations to Julie Anne Nicole Nacar, a 5th grade student at Hirsch Elementary School in Spring. She is the Region 12 winner in the Take Care of Texas Art Contest.

 

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Take Care of Texas program asked students to submit artwork showing how they help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. More than 2,600 K-5 students from across the state entered the competition.

 

Julie Anne was one of 16 regional winners selected for recognition. Click here to see her artwork. All of the winning art pieces will be showcased on the Take Care of Texas and TCEQ websites, in newsletters, and social media posts.

Deadline Today for TRIES Water Policy Conference

TRIES Conference Graphic Today (Monday, June 1) is the deadline to register for the Texas Research Institute of Environmental Studies (TRIES) at Sam Houston State University's Water Policy Conference. The conference, scheduled for June 18-19, is an interdisciplinary event bringing together professionals and academics to "facilitate an open dialogue on topics that shape water policy at both federal and state levels of government." The conference will be at the University Center-The Woodlands.

 

Keynote speakers will discuss federal perspectives on water reuse, auxiliary water opportunities and implementation challenges, regulation of water reuse in municipal systems, and criminal enforcement and forensics activities.

 

Registration fees range from $30 for guests to $200 for participants. Advance registration includes lunch both days. On-site registration will be permitted on conference days, however, lunch will not be provided for late registrants.

 

For more information, contact Kathy Allen at 936-294-4634 or Kaitlen Gary at 936-294-2501.

Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17

Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Logo The 48th annual Keep Texas Beautiful Conference will be June 15-17 at the Omni Hotel, 1300 Houston Street, Fort Worth.


The annual conference offers educational sessions on innovative approaches to community beautification, waste reduction, and litter prevention, and celebrates the achievements of youth and community leaders, civic groups, businesses, and governments.

 

Registration pricing is available online.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure Trainings Set This Summer

Advanced Metering Infrastructure GraphicThe Texas A&M Institute of Water Resources is hosting 10 free Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) trainings across the state, including one in Conroe on Friday, July 17.

 

At this free workshop, participants can learn about AMI and how these technologies can empower water utilities and users.

 

The following topics will be discussed: 

  • AMI system components
  • Transmitting options
  • Network topology
  • Line of sight communications
  • Compare and contrast AMI systems for water-only utilities
  • Health and privacy concerns
  • Business case for AMI systems
  • Installing an AMI system
  • Lessons learned

The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided for attendees who register at least two weeks before the workshop date. Space is limited to 45 participants at each workshop.

 

Registration details and a list of all workshop locations and dates are available online.

 

For more information, contact Allen Berthold at 979-845-2028.

Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference

CATEE Banner - 2015

Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency (CATEE) is continuing to accept applications for sponsors and exhibitors for the 2015 conference scheduled for December 1-3 at the Hotel Galvez & Spa in Galveston.

 

CATEE 2015 is a premier educational conference and energy-related business expo aimed at local governments, business and civic leaders, and the development community. Its purpose is to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency in the built environment by sharing effective policies, new technologies, best practices, and local successes. 

 

Sponsors and exhibitors have promotional opportunities to present information and products to an anticipated audience of more than 200 attendees and a business expo with an expected participation of approximately 20 exhibitors. For more information about available sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Tammy Persky at 979-458-3437.

 

Rail~Volution Set for October in Dallas

Rail-Volution Logo Mark your calendars for Rail~Volution 2015, scheduled for October 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas


The Rail~Volution conference will explore challenges and opportunities facing the Dallas region within a broad theme: Connected Systems. Connected Communities. Developing livable cities for all.  Rail~Volution brings together leading experts on livability from around the world who will bring real examples that illustrate how the rediscovery of "community" is a growing trend across the country.

 

Ideal participants run the gamut from established experts to new professionals who share a common goal of building livable communities with transit. The conference includes more than 80 workshops, networking events, and toolbox sessions.

 

The cost of registration is $495 and includes continental breakfast, lunches, and all conference activities except mobile workshops. Scholarships will be available beginning Monday, June 22.

 

News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logoTwo New Economic Development Resources for Small Towns, Cities

How can small towns and cities adapt to changing conditions that affect  ndustries, technologies, and land use patterns that help form the foundation of their local economies? EPA's new report provides case studies of seven communities that have successfully reinvigorated their struggling economies by emphasizing existing assets and distinctive resources. The report, How Small Towns and Cities Can Use Local Assets to Rebuild Their Economies: Lessons from Successful Places, draws on these case studies to offer strategies other communities can use. Through the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, EPA worked directly with Kelso, Washington, to explore how these types of strategies could address the city's economic challenges brought about by the decline of the logging and smelt fishing industries. The resulting report, Using Smart Growth Strategies to Foster Economic Development: A Kelso, Washington, Case Study, provides a tool for communities looking to create their own smart growth economic development strategy that emphasizes existing assets. It also illustrates the use of that tool in Kelso.

 

Comments on Broadband Opportunity Council Due by June 10
EPA is committed to making a visible difference in communities. Sometimes that difference can be seen as the result of planning, training and preparedness in advance of a hazardous release or natural disaster. That's why EPA supports affordable, reliable access to high-speed broadband as not only critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness, but also as a means to help communities prepare and respond to events that impact their health and the environment. Recently, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum to address expanding access to broadband internet service and establishing the Broadband Opportunity Council. The Rural Utilities Service and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration are requesting public comment to inform deliberations of the Council. Comments are due by Wednesday, June 10.

 

New Community Resources Website Launched
EPA has launched a new Community Resources website to help local officials and community members find information for improving the environment, public health, and quality of life. The site leverages information from three existing community-oriented resources: The Local Government Environmental Assistance Network, managed in partnership with the International City/County Management Association, provides information on environmental compliance and stewardship. The National Resource Network, established by HUD as part of the Obama Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative, offers practical solutions to help communities pursue economic development and growth. The EPA Community Health site can help users learn about and improve local environmental health conditions. Read the news release.

 

Measure Your Carbon Footprint
Ever wonder how much of your daily activity, such as using electricity, driving a car, or disposing of waste, results in greenhouse gas emissions? Together, these emissions make up a household's carbon footprint. EPA's updated carbon footprint calculator estimates footprint in three main areas: home energy, transportation, and waste. Everyone's carbon footprint is different depending on their location, habits, and personal choices. Small actions add up. Track your footprint and learn new ways to reduce your impact.

fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental InvestigatorTSSWCB Clean Water Act 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant Program
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board is requesting proposals for the FY2016 Clean Water Act 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant Program. Proposals should be for watershed assessment, planning, implementation, demonstration and education projects with a focus on agricultural and/or silvicultural nonpoint source pollution prevention and abatement activities within the boundaries of impaired or threatened watersheds. Proposals must be received electronically by Friday, June 5, 2015.

 

EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance
The Economic Development Administration Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program supports construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan projects, including infrastructure, design and engineering, technical assistance, economic recovery strategies, and capitalization/recapitalization of revolving loan funds. Eligible applicants are district organizations; states, counties, cities, or any other political subdivision of the state; colleges and universities; and non-profits working in partnership with a political subdivision. Applications must be submitted by June 12, 2015, for Cycle 3 funding.

 

EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)

Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting applications for $13.5 million in grant funding available to help transform the U.S. transportation fleet to use cleaner diesel engines. Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, and port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Non-profit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or if their principal purpose is promoting clean transportation or air quality. Proposals are due by Monday, June 15, 2015.

 

Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART: Drought Contingency Planning Grants

The Bureau of Reclamation is accepting applications for WaterSMART: Drought Contingency Planning Grants. Up to $200,000 per grant may be awarded for projects to develop a new drought contingency plan or update an existing plan. Match (50% cash or in-kind) is required. The deadline to apply is Thursday, June 25, 2015.

 

Department of Agriculture 2015 Community Enhancement Fund

The Texas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2015 Community Enhancement Fund. This new funding opportunity will assist communities in achieving the goals of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program by developing enhancements that address public health, community centers, workforce development/education, public safety, and/or renewable energy (as part of a public facility). Applications are due Thursday, August 6, 2015.

 

TCEQ 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.
  

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 Loan Program and the Economic Development Administration Business 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 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 H-GAC 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 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
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