pileated woodpecker on ground with H-GAC community and environmental planning update written on top
Upcoming Events
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.
Livable Centers Call of Study Sponsors with silhouettes and megaphone
Livable Centers Program Call for Sponsors Open, Pre-Submittal Meeting - April 15 (Online)

H-GAC's call for study sponsors for the Livable Centers Program is now open. Sponsors are limited to local governments or other eligible entities.

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).
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. 

Interested sponsors are encouraged to attend the pre-submittal meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 15, for an explanation of the application process.

The event will be online, and registration is required

More information about deadlines and specific application content is available online or by emailing [email protected].
lunch and learn in blue written above small blue water waves
Improving Water Quality Through Coastal Community Programs Lunch and Learn - April 15 (Online)

H-GAC's Brian Sims will present on H-GAC’s Homeowner Wastewater Assistance Program at the Clean Coast Texas Lunch & Learn Series, a program presented by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (Texas State University) and the General Land Office.

The event is will be from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 15. The event is online, and registration is required.

Do you have relevant research, a compelling initiative, or an inspiring story from your community? Contact [email protected] to be featured in a future lunch and learn.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - April 27 (Online)

H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 27.

The event will be online, and registration is required.

The topic of the roundtable is Designing Accessible Downtowns and will include guidance and examples of how small towns and downtown organizations can integrate accessibility considerations into their work. To recognize Fair Housing Month in April, speakers will also discuss fair housing and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Presenters include:
  • Kori Allen, ADA & Capital Programs Coordinator with the City of Coppell
  • Steven Rhea, Assistant City Manager with the City of Friendswood
  • Jeff Riddle, Training Specialists with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division 

Share and Tell - Has your community had an opportunity to creatively enhance the accessibility of your downtown? Click here to share your story and submit a couple of pictures to display during the online roundtable while you spend a couple of minutes sharing your experience with the group.

H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas. More is available online or by contacting Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
Solid Waste Workshop- Recycling - May 20 (Online)

H-GAC's next Solid Waste Workshop will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20.
The event will be online, and registration is required.

Join us as experts from around the region and the state discuss ways to manage the difficult aspects of your recycling program.

Topics include:
  • Starting a new program
  • Keeping a facility going
  • Reducing contamination

H-GAC's solid waste workshops focus on in-depth studies of different topics each quarter. More information about these workshops is available online or by contacting  Erin Livingston.
Bacteria Implementation Group Spring Meeting - May 25 (Online)

Save the Date for the Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) spring meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 25. 

The event will be online, and registration is required.
Topics will include the BIG Implementation Plan (I-Plan) revisions and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) updates.

For more information or to submit public comment, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.
April is Fair Housing Month, Texas Workforce Commission Plans Free Webinar Series

April is Fair Housing Month, and H-GAC reminds everyone that when it comes to housing, the Federal Fair Housing Act makes it against the law to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or family status. This applies to both selling or renting housing.

Anyone who feels their fair housing rights have been violated should contact the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing.

The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are partnering to celebrate Fair Housing Month in April with a series of fair housing training webinars. The webinars are free and will be on April 1, 13, 15, 22, 27, and 29. For more information, email [email protected].

Fair housing and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities will be a topic of discussion during H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street roundtable on Tuesday, April 27.  
close up of magnolia blossom
H-GAC Completes Regional Conservation Framework

H-GAC recently completed its Regional Conservation Framework, a high-level strategy to coordinate and magnify local conservation efforts to enhance our resiliency and the quality of life in our region’s communities.

Funded by the Houston Endowment, the project team developed this framework using input from leaders across the region through survey responses, listening sessions, and meetings over the past year. The H-GAC Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting the Regional Conservation Framework on March 16.

In addition to the framework, there are several helpful tools available on our website.

For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo.  
screenshot of aerial imagery
H-GAC Releases Aerial Imagery for Public Sale

H-GAC recently released the 2020 regional aerial imagery for public sale. This latest aerial imagery was captured during the leaf-off season of 2020 and is now available by individual tile, county, any combination of tile and county, or the entire regional coverage at 13,500 square miles. This aerial imagery data is heavily relied on by the GIS and engineering communities to plan for growth and expansion within our region. The imagery is available in 6-inch and 1-foot resolutions and in true color (RGB) or infrared color (CIR).
For additional details, coverage maps, and pricing, visit the H-GAC Aerial Imagery website.
Trash Free Texas logo
H-GAC Launches Trash Free Texas Newsletter

In March, H-GAC launched the first issue of the Trash Free Texas Monthly News and Updates.

This monthly newsletter will offer more information about Trash Free Texas, an initiative by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and partners aimed at reducing or eliminating litter along area waterways. The newsletter will also feature litter reduction efforts from our partners across the region.

Join our mailing list if you are interested in receiving this monthly update or sharing news about your litter reduction activities.
Trash Bash Results

The Texas Conservation Fund’s 27th annual River, Lakes, Bays ‘N Bayous Trash Bash® was held March 25-28, as a reimagined “Backyard to Bay” cleanup to protect the health and safety of participants and their families.

On March 31, more than 730 volunteers reported holding personal cleanups in their neighborhoods, collectively removing 10,402 pounds of trash from the Galveston Bay watershed.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated, and we hope to welcome everyone back in person next year.
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 hgaldc.com or email [email protected] and learn how H-GAC can help your business.
Partner Announcements
AARP Livable Communities written around bicyclists pedestrians bus and housing
AARP 2021 Community Challenge - Deadline April 14
The application period for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 2021 Community Challenge is open. The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund "quick-action" projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology ("smart cities"), civic engagement, and more. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 14, and all projects must be complete by Wednesday, November 10.
belted kingfisher central to a flyer with 25th annual great Texas birding classing written around it
The Great Texas Birding Classic Habitat Conservation Grants - Deadline May 1 
The mission of the annual Great Texas Birding Classic is to increase appreciation, understanding, and conservation of birds through education, recreation, nature tourism, and conservation fundraising. The Birding Classic is a cost-recovery event, so once minimal event costs are covered by sponsorships and registration fees all remaining funds go to conservation grants in Texas. Conservation grants in the amounts of $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 can be used to fund nature tourism and avian habitat restoration, enhancement, and acquisition projects anywhere in the state. Proposed activities may include projects on public or private lands, but all projects must provide some level of public access. The deadline for proposals is Saturday, May 1.
Texas Main Street Designation Applications Open
The Texas Historical Commission is accepting applications from cities interested in becoming designated Main Street Communities. Each year, the Commission may select up to five cities for official designation. Communities selected this year will enter the program in January 2022. Main Street is an economic development program focusing on small business development using historic preservation and reuse of historic properties as primary tools. Full applications are due Friday, July 30. Main Street communities in the region are Bay City, Houston-Emancipation Avenue, Huntsville, and Sealy.
Texas Citizen Planner Logo with Texas in blue
Texas Citizen Planner Training Now Available Online
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is now offering its Texas Citizen Planner training programs online. Instruction by planners, researchers, and other leaders from across Texas will provide local officials with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about community choices. Texas Citizen Planner provides a broad-based planning curriculum focusing on issues important to Texas communities. Participants may begin with a multi-class Planning Foundations course that covers legal authority, policy tools, and best practices. Specialty knowledge tracks covering flood mitigation, stormwater management, and plan integration are also offered.
Upcoming Events
Adopt-A-Beach Coastwide Cleanup - April 17
Save the date for Adopt-A-Beach Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 17, at various Texas beaches. This annual event by the Texas General Land Office encourages volunteers to help keep beaches clean and pristine. Since the program began in 1986, more than 529,000 volunteers have removed 9,600 tons of trash from Texas beaches. Registration and a list of cleanup locations are available online.
Trash Summit logo
2021 Trash Summit - May 5
The next annual Houston-Galveston Regional Trash and Marine Debris Trash Summit, presented by the Partners in Litter Prevention, will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 5, hosted via Zoom. Registration is required. Details and agenda will be available closer to the meeting date.
take back DEA
DEA Prescription Take Back - April 24
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host its National Prescription Drug Take Back event in communities across the country from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24. The national event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the medications and the potential for abuse. A list of collection sites will be available on the DEA website.
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, conservation projects,  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. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, H-GAC will provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities attending HGAC functions. Requests should be received 72 business hours prior to the function. Contact the meeting organizer to make arrangements.

Banner Photo: Pileated woodpecker in Montgomery County. Photo by Marcus Tantillo
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