public art sculpture of 4 silhouettes holding hands
Upcoming Events
WISE Awards and Parks and Natural Areas Awards logos stacked
Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards and WISE Awards – February 5 (Online)

The combined Parks and Natural Areas Awards and Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, February 5.

This event will be online.

The event will include the annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards recognition ceremony. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. Projects will be honored in three categories: Planning Process, On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000, and On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000. 

H-GAC will also honor the winners of the WISE Awards, recognizing innovative strategies and projects in the Houston-Galveston region that serve as models for improving water quality.

Registration is required.
paint cans
Solid Waste Workshop Focusing on Household Hazardous Waste – February 24 (Online)

The next Solid Waste Workshop will be from 9 to 11:30 a Wednesday, February 24.

This event will be online, and the topic will be household hazardous waste (HHW). Presenters will discuss running a one-day collection, operating a permanent facility, the impacts of COVID, going beyond basic HHW collection, rules and approvals needed, HHW operations from a service provider's “point-of-view,” and more.

H-GAC's solid waste workshops focus on in-depth studies of different topics each quarter.

Registration is required.
Trash Free Texas: Adopt-A-Spot Training - February 25 (Online)

Save the date for a Trash Free Texas: Adopt-A-Spot training from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, February 25.

The training will be online and will teach participants how to use the updated Adopt-A-Spot online tool, including how to submit new locations for adoption and how to become a waterway cleanup volunteer. 
This training is a part of H-GAC’s Trash Free Texas project. For this project, H-GAC has partnered with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and theMeadows Center for Water and the Environment to establish a unified, coordinated approach to litter abatement and community engagement in the six river basins in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston-Galveston regions. 
Registrationis required. For more information, contact Kathy Janhsen
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable - March 8 (Online)

Mark your calendar for the next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable 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.
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 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].
Screenshot of regional resilience tool
H-GAC Releases Regional Resiliency Pilot Study and Interactive Tool

Through funding from the Federal Highway Administration, H-GAC developed the Pilot Study and Regional Resilience Tool to display the criticality and vulnerability of road segments to extreme weather, such as flooding, storm surge, and sea-level rise, in the eight counties that comprise its Metropolitan Planning Organization. The tool includes modeled flood exposure depth grid data, which identifies the specific road segments vulnerable to flooding.

Information in the Pilot Study and tool can be useful in planning road improvements and developing mitigation strategies.
Map with legend  - screen shot of employment density application
Employment Density, Crash Hot Spots Highlighted in New Interactive Applications

H-GAC has published two new Interactive Web Tools – Regional Employment Density and Crash Hotspots Map.

The Regional Employment Density application displays regional employment in 1-square-mile hexagonal grids, including hotspots for high employment concentration areas. Users can explore data using filters by industry sector and county. The tool shows historic employment trends. The source of the employment data is US Census LEHD Workplace Area Characteristics (WAC) 2009-2018.

The Crash Hotspot Map is a data visualization tool displaying crash hotspots areas using 1-square-mile-hexagonal grids. The tool allows users to filter the data by county, crash type, severity, and primary contributing factor. The tool displays 2019 crash data and provides last five-year crash trends.
screen shot of regional demographic snapshot with circle charts
H-GAC Updates Interactive Web Applications With New Data

H-GAC recently updated several of our Interactive Web Applications with new US Census Data.

Using the newly released US Census American Community Survey Data 2015-2019 5-Year Estimates, H-GAC updated demographic data, including regional vulnerable population. The tools using the updated information include the Regional Demographic Snapshot, Demographic Data Explorer, and Regional Equity Tool.

Using newly released US Census Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics 2018 data, H-GAC updated the Regional Commute Flow Map, Regional Commute Patterns, and Regional Employment Snapshot.
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.
Events Around the Region
Urban Riparian Symposium
The Urban Riparian Symposium, set for February 10 - 12, provides an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share ideas, discuss management and policy issues, lessons learned in urban riparian and stream planning, assessment, design, construction, and evaluation. The symposium will be held virtually and will include presentations, panel discussions, virtual socials. Late registration through February 5 is for $90.  Included with your conference registration is a complimentary, one-year membership to the Texas Riparian Association. For more information or questions contact Clare Escamilla at [email protected].
Partner Announcements
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 5.
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. 
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: Public art sculpture 4 People in Stevenson Park in Friendswood. This piece was donated to the City in 2018 by Art Friends of Downtown Friendswood.
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