trees reflecting in a water body
Upcoming Events
Color blocks depicting park scenes and words Parks and Nature Areas
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable - March 8 (Online)

The next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 8.

This event will be online, and participants will learn more about virtual Trash Bash and the Trash Free Texas Adopt-a-Spot campaign.

The Roundtable meets the second Monday of March, July, and September with field trips usually scheduled in May and November. The group is open to anyone interested in participating. 
Registration is required. For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo.
Trash Bash - March 27 (Online)

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash is being re-imagined for 2021 to protect volunteers and their families. The event is still set for the week of March 27, but will feature educational videos about watersheds, sources of pollution, and ways to keep our waterways clean.

Cleanups are encouraged on an individual family level but will not be hosted at our normal Trash Bash sites. Save the date and learn how to be a good steward of our Galveston Bay watershed, from backyard to bay.

Trash Bash hopes to welcome everyone back in person in 2022.
Spring Creek Watershed Protection Plan Public Meeting - April 8 (Online)

H-GAC and the Spring Creek Watershed Partnership will hold a public meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 8, to discuss community-driven strategies for water quality improvement in preparation for the development of a Watershed Protection Plan.

The event will be online, and registration is required.

More information about this project is available online or by contacting Rachel Windham.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - April 27 (Online)

Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 27.
The event will be online, and registration is required.

H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas.
For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
Winter Storm Recovery Resources Available

H-GAC has created a recovery resources web page with information compiled from federal, state, and local sources to assist local governments and their residents recover from the impacts of Winter Storm Uri. The page will be updated frequently as more information becomes available. H-GAC staff have resumed services and operations. Please contact us at 713-627-3200 if you have any questions or need additional information.  
H-GAC Releases Regional Employer Survey Interactive Report

H-GAC recently conducted a survey of 237 employers to gather data on the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and their employees. The survey also gathered information about the future of office space and telework programs. To read the full survey and results, visit
Livable Centers Call of Study Sponsors with silhouettes and megaphone
H-GAC to Launch Livable Centers Call for Study Sponsors

H-GAC plans to release a call for study sponsors for the Livable Centers program later this month. Sponsors are limited to local governments or other eligible entities.
This is not a request for proposals from consulting firms. 
The objective of the Livable Centers planning studies is to
  • Help create quality, walkable, mixed-use places;
  • Create multi-modal travel choices;
  • Improve environmental quality; and
  • Promote economic development and housing choice. 

H-GAC seeks to identify and fund Full Livable Centers studies and, for the first time, Focused Livable Centers studies. Full Livable Centers studies will be scaled at a community level, and Focused Livable Centers studies will focus on a smaller geographic area and/or specific issue (e.g., transit-oriented development, first/last mile connections).

The proposed study must be in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, or Waller counties.

H-GAC and project sponsors have completed more than 30 livable centers studies, and 75% of those studies report that implementation expectations are on-track. Learn more about the program's progress in the 10-year evaluation report and summary.

More information about deadlines, specific application content, and pre-proposal meetings will be available online.

For more information, email [email protected].
H-GAC Honors Parks and Natural Areas and Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence Awards Winners in Combined Online Ceremony

More than 20 projects across the Houston-Galveston region were honored for serving as models for best management practices in parks, natural areas, and water quality as part of the H-GAC's annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards and Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards recognition ceremony. The event was held online on February 5.

Winners were selected for recognition by panels of expert judges and industry professionals.

Those recognized include:

Parks and Natural Areas Awards - Parks and Natural Areas Awards Planning Process

  • Winner: Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan, a project by Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  • Honorable Mention: Pasadena Healthy Parks Plan, a project by City of Pasadena Parks and Recreation
  • Special Recognition:
  • Parkland Square, a project by Bridgeland - The Howard Hughes Corporation
  • Parks and Pathways Master Plan, a project by City of Fulshear
  • Strategic Conservation Plan, a project by Bayou Land Conservancy
  • Sylvan Beach Park Master Plan, a project by Harris County Precinct 2
  • The Groves, a project by Ashlar Development
  • Wilcrest Park, a project by Westchase District
  • Woodchase Park, a project by Westchase District

Parks and Natural Areas - Projects Over $500,000

  • Winner: Clay Family Eastern Glades, a project by Memorial Park Conservancy
  • Honorable Mention: Atascocita Area Park, a project by Harris County Precinct 2
  • Special Recognition:
  • Greens Bayou, a project by Houston Parks Board
  • Heart of the Zoo: Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands Exhibit, a project by Houston Zoo, Inc.
  • Kathrine G. McGovern Canopy Walkway & Visitor Pavilion, a project by Houston Audubon Society
  • Timber Lane Utility District Community Center, a project by Timber Lane Utility District
  • Willow Fork Park, a project by Willow Fork Drainage District

Parks and Natural Areas - Projects Under $500,000

  • Winner: Butterfly Pocket Park, a project by Greater Northside Management District
  • Honorable Mention: Trailside Park, a project by Westchase District

Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) - Planning & Policy Award Winner

  • Houston Wilderness for the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan: Second Key Goal

Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) - Education & Public Awareness Award Winner

  • City of Houston-Houston Public Works for the Imagine a Day Without Water Campaign

Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) - Special Recognition for Exemplary Environmental Advocacy by a Citizen’s Group

  • Friends of the River San Bernard for Addressing Bacteria Impairment of the Tidal San Bernard River

Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) - Special Recognition for Exemplary STEM Engagement of K-12 Students

  • City of Houston-Houston Public Works for the Houston Public Works 2019 Water Works Festival
Coastal Communities Project Shares Awareness Materials

Coastal Communities works to provide communities resources and opportunities to reduce pollution concerns in area waterways. One of the resources is the Coastal Communities Roadmap with free outreach messaging communities can share with residents on different topics, such as illegal dumping, pet waste, and FOG (fats, oils, and grease).

A full year’s worth of messaging is available, with two messages each month in four formats (social media graphic, web banner graphic, flyer, and bill insert).

All messages are free to download, and communities are welcome to add their logo/branding to all messages.

For more information, contact Kendall Guidroz.
Small Business Financing Opportunities through H-GALDC

Serving as H-GAC’s small business financing arm, the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC) is able to help new or established small businesses access capital to purchase and develop real estate. With interest rates at all-time lows, now may be the time to move your business from a lease to a mortgage.

H-GALDC also leverages funding from the Small Business Administration and the Economic Development Administration to offer a variety of loan products. Loans can range from $25,000 for working capital to over $5,000,000 for the purchase of land and new construction.
For more information about H-GALDC and its resources visit or email [email protected] and learn how H-GAC can help your business.
Partner Announcements
Keep Texas Beautiful Governor's Community Achievement Awards Application Now Open
For more than 30 years, Keep Texas Beautiful, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation has awarded the prestigious Governor's Community Achievement Awards to Texas communities for their outstanding overall efforts to keep their communities beautiful. This year, 10 winning communities will share $2 million in landscaping awards from the Texas Department of Transportation, with the amount based on population size. The funds are used for landscaping projects along local rights-of-way. The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 4. 
Texas outline with Take Care of Texas written in blue
Take Care of Texas Art Contest 
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is hosting the Take Care of Texas Art Contest for kindergarten-fifth grade students to depict positive ways to help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. The deadline to enter is Friday, March 15.
Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest
The deadline for the Texas General Land Office's 25th Annual Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest has been extended to Wednesday, March 10. All public, private, and home-schooled students in in kindergarten-sixth grade are invited to submit artwork depicting why the Texas coast is important or special to the student. Prizes include inclusion in a 2022 calendar, and a grand prize of airline tickets, a cruise, and a feed the fish tour. The teacher of the student with the winning artwork will also receive recognition and prizes.
Funding Sources
Funding Sources

H-GAC has compiled a list of local, regional, state, federal, and private funding sources for local governments and other organizations. H-GAC also maintains a list of ongoing funding opportunities for parks improvements and economic recovery resources.

If you know of a funding opportunity, forward it to Andrea Tantillo.

All content, including links to websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.
More Information and Programs
Mapping Applications
Looking for interactive applications or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department? Visit H-GAC's interactive applications web page.

H-GAC has a Facebook page where information about current and upcoming events is posted. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, including RecyclingTrash BashRegional Data LabBacteria Implementation Group (BIG), and West Fork Watersheds Partnership.

Find the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter feed @HouGalvAreaCog. H-GAC's water resources program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region @HGACwater.
Unless otherwise noted, all meetings scheduled at H-GAC are at 3555 Timmons Lane, Houston, Texas.
Banner Photo: Atascocita Park. Photo by Cheryl Mergo
Would you like us to consider featuring your municipality, program, or regional photo on the C&E Planning Update banner? Just forward your picture to Andrea Tantillo, along with some information about the subject and the photographer, and you might see it in a future month's newsletter.
Houston-Galveston Area Council