May 2015 Banner - Bike Route       
May 2015
In This Issue
Results Are In for Trash Bash®
H-GAC Releases Storm Debris Management Video, Flyer
Bringing Back Main Street Guide Launch
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Focus On - National Bike Month
Storm Debris Workshops Continue
BIG Annual Meeting to Be May 26
Roundtable to Discuss Abandoned Buildings
H-GAC Offers Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Texas Stream Team Volunteer Monitor Spotlight
Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time
Port of Houston to be Topic at Next Brown Bag Lunch Series Program
Deadline is May 4 for TxDOT Transportation Alternatives Program Call for Projects
NUSA Conference Set for May 20-23 in Houston
Advanced Metering Infrastructure Trainings Set This Summer
Application Period Now Open for Communities Seeking Texas Main Street Designation
Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17
Save the Date for Annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference in December
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

May is National Bike Month. Learn more about biking in the Houston-Galveston region in this month's Focus On feature.

 

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.

Results Are In for Trash Bash®

Official Trash Bash Logo The 22nd annual River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®, held on Saturday, March 28, was a great success.


More than 4,300 volunteers came out to clean up trash and debris and learn how to protect their local waterways throughout the year. Trash Bash® participants collected 37.4 tons of trash along 161 miles of shoreline at 15 different cleanup sites. Volunteers also collected 434 tires and recycled approximately 1.3 tons of material. Educational displays and activities were provided at each site and continue to be an important part of the event each year.

 

Trash Bash® would like to acknowledge the volunteers and sponsors who make the event possible. The next Trash Bash® will be Saturday, March 19, 2016.

 

H-GAC Releases Storm Debris Management Video, Flyer

Storm Debris Flyer After a disaster, such as a hurricane or flood, we are left with a mess. Everyone wants to get their property cleaned up and back to normal as quickly as possible. When debris is properly separated and placed at the curb, cleanup can be a lot smoother.


H-GAC has produced videos highlighting the proper way residents should handle debris after a disaster. These short videos are available for local governments and organizations to use to help educate residents. Local governments can link to the videos on YouTube or can add their own logos and branding and use the videos on their websites, municipal channels, presentations, or other mediums.

 

H-GAC would like to acknowledge the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and Carl Masterson for assistance in making these videos.

 

As part of this project, H-GAC developed a companion flyer in English and Spanish. The flyers are available for download online.

 

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

Bringing Back Main Street Guide Launch

Bringing Back Main Street Cover H-GAC will celebrate the release of a new guide on downtown revitalization on Wednesday, May 20, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Another Time Soda Fountain, 803 Third Street, Rosenberg.


Bringing Back Main Street provides an overview of how communities can create vibrant downtowns, highlighting successful revitalization efforts implemented by small cities throughout Texas.


Participants in the launch celebration will learn about revitalization and will have the opportunity to network with those working to improve the region's downtowns.

 

Click here to register. Refreshments will be provided.

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

FocusOnFocus On -  National Bike Month 

  Focus on National Bike Month           

The League of American Bicyclists has designated May as National Bike Month. Since 1956, communities across the country have celebrated National Bike Month by sponsoring events that highlight the benefits of biking. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy one of the region's many bikeways. Bicyclists can use H-GAC's Regional Bikeway Viewer or the Regional Bikeway Map to find places to ride in their area.


During National Bike Month, commuters are encouraged to ride their bikes to work. Several organizations in the region are sponsoring Bike to Work activities:

Bicycling for Transportation: Your Guide to an Active Commute provides tips on how to bike safely. Sign up for NuRide to get rewards for walking and biking to work.

 

Historic Photo of Lord's Cycling Club

 

Throughout the year, H-GAC works with local governments to improve mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists through its Pedestrian-Bicyclist Program:

For more information, contact Andrew Pompei.

 

Bicyclist and dog
      

 

Storm Debris Workshops Continue

Storm Debris H-GAC's series of debris management workshops continues Wednesday, May 20, with Appeals Strategy and Stamina from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


This workshop will highlight several case studies of communities that were able to use FEMA's arbitration process to reverse ineligible determinations.


Refreshments for this workshop are sponsored by T.F.R. Enterprises, Inc.

 

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

 

Mark your calendars for the final workshop in the series:

  • Advanced Technology in Disaster Debris Management
    Tuesday, June 23

More information is available online.

BIG Annual Meeting to Be May 26

BIG logo The Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) annual meeting will be Tuesday, May 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. 

 

H-GAC will present the annual report based on recommendations from the workgroups. Several questions are answered in this report: 

  • Are bacteria levels changing? 
  • Are implementation measures being undertaken as described in the I-Plan?
  • Are implementation measures reducing bacteria? 

For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579

Roundtable to Discuss Abandoned Buildings

Environmental Enforcement Roundtable The next local Environmental Enforcement Roundtable will be Thursday, May 28, 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.

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 nigh,t 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.

Texas Stream Team Volunteer Monitor Spotlight

Texas Stream Team Volunteer Spotlight Pete RomfhH-GAC will feature a new Texas Stream Team Monitor Spotlight each quarter. Subscribe to the Texas Stream Team Quarterly Newsletter to learn more.

 

Pete and Peggy Romfh have always been involved in science; Pete as a telecommunications engineer and Peggy as a health care professional in laboratory settings. After becoming certified Texas Master Naturalists in the Cradle of Texas Chapter (Brazoria County), they became interested in learning about plant and animal species and the habitats in which they flourish.


As they explored Brazoria County, they observed some bodies of water attract a lot of wildlife and others seem contaminated. It seemed only natural to them to see if they could start testing water quality and observe whether good quality water correlates with vibrant natural resources. Pete took Texas Stream Team training at the state Master Naturalist conference in 2012, and both got hooked on testing water.

 

Interested in learning more? Read the rest of the article or learn about Texas Stream Team.

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.

Port of Houston to be Topic at Next Brown Bag Lunch Series Program

H-GAC's next Brown Bag Lunch Series program, All About the Port of Houston, will be Monday, May 18, from noon to 1 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

 

Phyllis Saathoff, Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs for the Port of Houston, will discuss topics related to the Port of Houston:

  • State of the Port
  • Deepening and Widening of the Port Channels
  • Impact of the Panama Canal

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.

Deadline is May 4 for TxDOT Transportation Alternatives Program Call for Projects

TxDOT logoThe Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) deadline for its current Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Call for Projects is Monday, May 4. The TAP provides funding for a variety of alternative transportation projects:

  • On- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • Infrastructure for non-driver access to public transportation
  • Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects

Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects must be located in specified areasFunding can be used for construction only. The program guide, project nomination form, map of eligible communities, and program rules are available online.

 

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

NUSA Conference Set for May 20-23 in Houston

NUSA logoThe Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) 2015 40th Annual Conference for Neighborhood Concerns will be May 20-23 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana Street, Houston.


The primary goal of the conference is to promote and provide opportunities for neighborhood leaders to network and develop ideas and best practices so they can build stronger communities. In addition to the wide range of workshops and neighborhood tours at the 2015 conference, NUSA also recognizes the success and accomplishments of neighborhoods across the United States with its annual awards.

 

More information, including a full schedule and registration details, 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
  • Mobile AMR vs. fixed-base AMI
  • 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.

Application Period Now Open for Communities Seeking Texas Main Street Designation

Texas Main Street Logo The 2016 Main Street application period is now open. Each year, the Texas Historical Commission may select up to five cities for official Main Street designation. Communities selected this year will enter the program in January 2016.

 

Main Street is an economic development program focusing on small business development, using reuse of historic properties and historic preservation as primary tools.

 

Optional letters of intent are due to the Texas Historical Commission on Friday, May 15. Full applications are due Friday, July 31. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on applicants during their quarterly meeting October 29 - 30. More information, including application forms, is available online.

 

The Texas Historical Commission will offer a webinar about the application process and requirements on Thursday, May 21. To receive login information, contact the Texas Main Street State Coordinator

 

Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17

Keep Texas Beautiful Conference LogoThe 48th Annual Keep Texas Beautiful Conference, Blazing Trails to a Beautiful Texas, 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.

Save the Date for Annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference in December

CATEE Banner - 2015

The Energy Systems Laboratory of the Texas A&M University System will host the annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference (CATEE) 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. 

 

More information is available online.  

News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logo Hypoxia Task Force Public Meeting, Webcast on May 20

The public can join the Hypoxia Task Force spring meeting via webcast on Wednesday, May 20, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Task Force is a federal/state partnership working collaboratively to reduce excess nutrients in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) and the Gulf of Mexico. Registration is free. Register for the Hypoxia Task Force Public Meeting and download the meeting agenda and other materials online. For information, contact Kimberlyn Velasquez or Hazel Groman.  

 

Application Period for Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship Ends May 19
The application period ends soon for the EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship program for students wanting to pursue environmental science and related fields of study. The program provides students with opportunities to work with agency scientists and to gain hands-on experience to develop their innovative ideas for a more sustainable future. Applications for 2015 GRO Fellowships are due Tuesday, May 19

 

EPA Honors Five Houston Organizations as 2015 Energy Star Partners of the Year
The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are honoring five Houston organizations for their commitment to saving energy and protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency achievements. These Energy Star partners are contributing to the prevention of more than 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Five Sustained Excellence winners continue to demonstrate remarkable leadership each year in the Energy Star program while remaining committed to environmental protection through superior energy efficiency.

  • CenterPoint Energy, Houston
  • Hines, Houston
  • Houston Habitat For Humanity, Houston
  • Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston
  • TRANSWESTERN, Houston

See a complete list of winners.

fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental InvestigatorDrayage 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% of the cost to purchase the a 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.

 

Houston-Galveston Clean Marine Project

H-GAC is seeking applications from regional marine vessel owners for the purchase and deployment of clean diesel or alternative fuel tug, tow, or push boats. The engines must operate within the HGB non-attainment area, and applicants are expected to provide two years of data collection and reporting. Applications must include CARB- or EPA-certified engines.The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

 

Houston-Galveston Clean Non Road Construction

H-GAC is seeking applications from regional construction equipment owners for the purchase and deployment of clean diesel or alternative fuel heavy-duty construction equipment. The equipment must operate within the HGB non-attainment area, and applicants are expected to provide two years of data collection and reporting. Applications must include CARB- or EPA-certified equipment. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

 

U.S. DOT TIGER Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation is making $500 million available for a seventh round of its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants to help fund local and state infrastructure projects. DOT evaluates TIGER proposals using criteria that includes environmental sustainability, livability, and economic competitiveness. Applicants must request no less than $10 million ($1 million minimum in rural areas) and provide at least 20% match. Pre-applications are due on Monday, May 4, 2015.  Final applications are due Friday, June 5, 2015.

 

USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers Market Promotion Program is seeking grant applications for projects that increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, or develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, improving, expanding, and providing outreach and training. The deadline to apply is Thursday, May 14, 2015.

 

USDA Local Foods Promotion Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Local Foods Promotion Program offers grant funds with a 25% match to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. The deadline to apply is Thursday, May 14, 2015.

 

TSSWCB 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.

 

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