February banner photo of flowers in a field
Screen shot of livable centers mapping application
H-GAC Updates Livable Centers Interactive Story Map

H-GAC's Livable Centers Program works with local communities to identify specific recommendations, such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, that can help facilitate the creation of Livable Centers.

Created in 2018, H-GAC Livable Centers program tracker story map is an interactive application that highlights ongoing and completed Livable Center studies across the region. The story map now includes all of the recommendations associated with the completed studies of our current cycle. These include International Management District, North Houston Greenspoint, Pasadena, Eastwood, Montrose, Angleton, East Aldine, Seabrook, Brays Oaks, Southwest Houston, and OST/Palm Center.

To learn more about the recommendations made during these studies, visit our story map.
Upcoming Events
Color blocks depicting park scenes and words Parks and Nature Areas Awards
Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards Ceremony February 10 (In-Person)

Save the Date for the Parks and Natural Areas Awards recognition ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, February 10, at H-GAC, Second Floor Conference Rooms.

Registration is requested, but not required to attend.

Award-winning projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. Projects will be honored in four categories: Planning Process, On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000, On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000, and Programming. Participants will also hear about trends in parks and natural areas from industry experts.

Preview this year's honorees and explore previous winners using our online, interactive story map.

For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo.
East Fork San Jacinto River Watershed Partnership logo
East Fork San Jacinto River Watershed Partnership Meeting February 15 (Online)

H-GAC, in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, invites interested community members to attend a meeting of the East Fork San Jacinto River Watershed Partnership from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, February 15. 

The event will be online, and registration is required.

At this meeting, the partnership will elect a steering committee and review model results of sources of bacteria in the project watershed. This information will help stakeholders develop a Watershed Protection Plan to improve water quality by reducing sources of pollution in the East Fork of the San Jacinto River and its tributaries.

For more information, contact Rachel Windham.
Trash Free Texas logo
Trash Free Texas Adopt-A-Spot Webinar February 23 (Online)

Save the date for a Trash Free Texas Adopt-A-Spot webinar from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, February 23. 

The event will be online, and registration is required.

At this webinar, participants will explore how two resources, the Trash Free Texas Adopt-A-Spot Map and the Texas Litter Database, can assist communities and organizations in building or enhancing volunteer litter cleanup programs.

This webinar 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 the Meadows 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.

For more information contact Kendall Guidroz.
Trash Bash March 25 (In-Person)

Mark your calendar for the 29th River, Lakes, Bays ‘N Bayous Trash Bash®, Texas’s largest single-day waterway cleanup on Saturday, March 25. 
Since its inception, more than 117,000 volunteers have collected over 2,400 tons of trash, 22 tons of recyclable materials, and 11,965 tires. Find out how to volunteer and promote a healthy Galveston Bay watershed at one of their many cleanup locations on March 25.

Cleanup supplies, event t-shirts, and lunch are provided to all volunteers. Trash Bash hopes you will come out and help “Clean it like you mean it !” ® 
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable April 25 (In-Person)

Mark your calendars for the next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 25. The event will be at the Ol Railroad Café, 1901 Avenue G, Rosenberg.

Join us to discuss an update on Rosenberg's downtown revitalization and community events, along with information about the revitalization plan that will improve the City's Historic Downtown Rosenberg area.

The Bringing Back Main Street initiative offers local communities a place to share best practices and engage in a regional dialogue about revitalizing and supporting vibrant downtown spaces. Each quarter, community leaders gather for a roundtable on topics ranging from small business support to sidewalk infrastructure.

Registration is requested, but not required, to attend.

For additional information, contact Andrea Tantillo. 
Partner Announcements
Sea Grant
Texas Sea Grant Research Grant Pre-Proposals Due February 3
Texas Sea Grant is seeking proposals from investigators at all Texas universities; non-profit non-academic institutions; for-profit organizations; state, local and Indian tribal governments; and unaffiliated persons to support integrated research projects that improve the understanding, wise use, and stewardship of Texas' coastal and marine resources. Pre-proposals are due Friday, February 3. More information is available on Texas Sea Grant's website.
Keep Texas Beautiful Governor's Community Achievement Awards Due February 16
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. There is a $25 application fee. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 16. 
APA Small Town and Rural section logo
Excellence in Small Town and Rural Planning Awards Applications Deadline is February 22
The Small Town and Rural (STaR) Planning Division of the American Planning Association invites nominations for its Excellence in Small Town and Rural Planning Division Planning Awards to recognize outstanding individuals and projects for their contribution to planning excellence in small town and rural communities. The program is open to any individual, organization, or consulting firm involved in planning for small town and rural areas. Nominations are due Wednesday, February 22. For more information, contact STaR Vice-Chair of Programs Mary Howard, AICP, at 518-929-5866.
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, February 24.
Adopt a Beach wordmark with water icon
Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest
The Texas General Land Office's 27th Annual Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest is accepting entries. All public, private, and home-schooled students 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 2024 calendar and event tickets to Texas destinations, and a grand prize cruise. The teacher of the student with the winning artwork will also receive recognition and prizes. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, March 1.
AARP Livable Communities written around bicyclists pedestrians bus and housing
AARP Community Challenge Grant Applications Now Open
The application period is now open for the 7th annual AARP Community Challenge quick-action grant program. Funding is available for local governments and nonprofits that are eager and ready to work on a community-improving project that can be started and completed before year’s end. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 15. AARP Livable Communities will host a public Q&A webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 8.
APATX Houston Section letters on a field of blue
APA Houston Section to Open Annual Awards Nominations in March
The Houston Section of the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association’s annual awards program will open for nominations in March. More details about the awards, including categories and eligible project types, will be available on the Houston APA website when the call opens and distributed via the APA Houston February newsletter. The call for awards applications will be open through the end of April, and award winners will be notified early this summer. The awards program recognizes planning excellence in the Houston Section. The categories and criteria are designed to match the state and national awards programs for ease of submittal and to give people the opportunity to use local awards for promotion and when pursuing funding or other awards. 
state of Texas alliance for recycling logo
STAR 2023 Scholarships for Sustainability Applications Open
The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) 2023 Scholarships for Sustainability applications are now open. As a part of STAR’s commitment to the growth of the environmental and recycling business community in Texas, STAR offers annual environmental sustainability scholarships for students, teachers, and student groups. The Student Scholarship aids up to two high school seniors or college students planning to study or working toward a degree in Environmental Sustainability or other related field. The Student Group and Teacher Scholarship supports up to two educators at any level of public education in Texas and one officially recognized student group at any Texas university, college, or community college. More details are available online. The deadline to apply is Thursday, June 1.
More Upcoming Events
TCEQ Scrap Tire Webinar – February 9
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is hosting a Scrap Tire Webinar from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, February 9. The webinar will include presentations covering helpful scrap tire management guidance documents, scrap tire projects funded through the Regional Solid Waste Management Grants Program, Local Enforcement Options for Scrap Tire Management, and an update on a Texas State University study, “Scrap Tires in the Lower Rio Grande Valley: Searching for Alternatives to Landfilling.”

Registration is required to receive a calendar invitation and event link.
Urban Riparian Symposium – February 8-10
Registration is open for the Texas Riparian Association and Texas Water Resources Institute 3-day Urban Riparian Symposium from Wednesday, February 8, to Friday, February 10, 2023, at Embassy Suites in San Marcos. The theme of this year's symposium is Down by the River: Managing for Resilient Riparian Corridors. Registration fees include networking, field trips, and presentation and poster sessions. Session topics include best management practices, riparian area management, education and outreach, ecology and biology, hydrology, lessons learned, community connections, and source water protection. Regular registration fees through February 3 are $225. For more information, contact Alexander Neal at 979-314-2351.
Funding Sources
Funding Sources

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department maintains a list of ongoing funding opportunities for parks improvements and conservation projects.

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 Recycling, and Trash Bash.
drawing of two people looking at a bird in a tree
Conservation Note of the Month

In addition to providing habitat for native plants and wildlife, reducing flooding, improving air quality, and reducing urban temperatures, forests in the Houston-Galveston region provide recreation opportunities and support local economies. Infographics and posters highlighting the benefits of forests and wetlands are available online in the Regional Conservation initiative Conservation Tool.
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 H-GAC functions. Requests should be received 72 business hours prior to the function. Contact the meeting organizer to make arrangements.

Banner Photo: Sylvan Rodriguez Park Habitat Restoration Project. This project by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) earned honorable mention recognition in H-GAC's annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards program. Join HPARD and 12 other honorees for a celebration on February 10 at H-GAC.

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