Color blocks depicting park scenes and words Parks and Nature Areas Awards
Parks and Natural Areas Awards Application Period Open Until September 29

H-GAC's 17th annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards program is now accepting applications. 

The Parks and Natural Areas Awards honor projects in four categories: Projects Over $500,000; Projects Under $500,000; Planning Process and Policy Tools; and Programming. Winning entries serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. The application period will be open until 3 p.m. Thursday, September 29.  

An online application guide is available. No funding is associated with this awards program. 

Winners will be notified in December and recognized in 2023. For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo
close up of magnolia blossom
H-GAC Seeks Information on Conservation Projects in the Region

As part of our Regional Conservation Initiative, H-GAC will actively assist with preparing grant applications, convening stakeholders, and otherwise supporting the implementation of priority conservation projects across the 13-county H-GAC region. To guide our efforts, we are collecting information about planned conservation projects from local governments and non-governmental organizations and categorizing the projects in a priority list.

There is no funding associated with this project priority list, but selected projects will be eligible to receive H-GAC staff assistance.

See the current priority project list and learn more about our work online. The list will be updated quarterly. 

Staff encourages you to submit your conservation projects by Friday, October 14, or email [email protected] with any questions.
commute solutions written in blue
September is Commute Solutions Month

Commute Solutions Month is September 1-30. This year’s regionwide celebration will highlight companies, agencies, universities, and others in the Gulf Coast region who are doing great work to improve travel for their commuters, as well as decrease congestion and improve air quality. Commute Solutions will host a series of events throughout the Houston-Galveston area where commuters can learn more about their transportation alternatives. Visit to learn more.

Commute Solutions Month is a joint celebration with METRO STAR, who is hosting vanpool appreciation events all month long, and celebrates the launch of ConnectSmart, a partnership project of the Texas Department of Transportation. ConnectSmart is the region’s first mobility tool that combines trip planning and navigation among a variety of commuting options. It also offers unique integrations through partnerships with TRANSTAR, Tow and Go, Houston BikeShare, and more.

Even though the app officially launches in September, Commute Solutions invites you to download it now in the IOS and Google Play stores. ConnectSmart will provide an opportunity for measuring your carbon footprint, managing carpools, making transit purchases, finding more comfortable bike routes and improving navigation in the region, all in one application.
Upcoming Events
Texas Stream Team Training September 9 (In-Person)

H-GAC is planning a Texas Stream Team Phase I and II citizen scientist water quality monitor training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, September 9, at Bear Branch Park in The Woodlands.

Registration is open and limited to 10 volunteers. Please share this information with friends and colleagues who might have an interest in becoming a Texas Stream Team water quality monitor.

Texas Stream Team volunteers are trained to collect monthly water quality data from local rivers, lake, or streams as part of a statewide network of volunteers.

This training is for volunteers who wish to monitor in the Greater Houston area, especially in the Spring Creek, Cypress Creek, and San Jacinto River watersheds, but is open to any interested volunteer.

Learn more about H-GAC's three-phase Texas Stream Team Training Program online or by contacting [email protected]. 
livable centers elements in green blocks above Livable Centers
Finding the Money: Get Projects Prepped for Funding September 16 (Hybrid)

Make Plans to attend Finding the Money: Get Projects Prepped for Funding from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, September 16. 

The event will be at H-GAC, Second Floor Conference Rooms, and on Zoom. Registration is required to attend online and requested to attend in person.

At H-GAC's Annual Livable Centers Land-Use / Transportation workshop you will: 
  • Learn innovative strategies that leverage existing resources and expand your active transportation projects' funding potential.    
  • Hear from local area experts on how to evaluate your project using performance-based criteria for project planning, as well as real-life pilot projects and programs being implemented in the Houston-Galveston region today.    
  • Expand your understanding of H-GAC resources including future grant opportunities the agency is actively tracking. 

This event is eligible for 3 CM credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Anita Hollmann Matijcio.
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable October 10 (Online)

The next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, October 10.

The event will be online, and registration is required.
The topic will be “Building a Park from Scratch,” and speakers representing small and larger parks, as well as planning for building a park, are invited to present information and answer questions.

We are also still planning a field trip to Rick Rice Park in November or December. Please complete this survey with your preference of day and time if you’d like to join us at the park.

The roundtable meets the second Monday of July and October with field trips typically scheduled in the spring and fall. The group is open to anyone who is interested in participating.

For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo.
Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit October 25 (In-Person)

Mark your calendars for H-GAC's Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit from 9 to noon, Tuesday, October 25.

The event will be at H-GAC, Second Floor Conference Rooms, and registration is requested.

Participants will consider recent trends in tourism and how visitors from out-of-town (and in town) can benefit downtown revitalization. 

For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo.
Houston Area GIS Day written above a drawing of a skyline
Houston GIS DayNovember 16 (In-Person)

Save the date for the 2022 Houston Area GIS Day on Wednesday, November 16, at the University of Houston – Clear Lake campus, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Bayou Building, Houston. Houston GIS Day is a one-day celebration of Geographic Information Systems for local GIS professionals, universities, high school students, and teachers.

This year’s activities include:
  • Live Educational Presentations for Students
  • Live Geospatial Presentations for Professionals
  • College and University GIS Program Exhibitors
  • Geospatial Exhibitors and Vendors
  • Student GIS Activities and Games
  • Professional Map Contests and More!

For more event information including sponsor, exhibitor, speaker, and volunteer opportunities, please visit the 2022 Houston Area GIS Day website.
Partner Announcements
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Seeks Feedback on Solid Waste Management Plans
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is providing an opportunity for informal public comment through Tuesday, September 20, on the regional solid waste management plans developed by the 24 regional councils of governments, including the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Visit to view the draft plans and provide comments.
2023 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Applications Open Until September 23 
Each year, the Governor's Office and commissioners from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality honor the state's most outstanding environmental projects through the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. Winners from across the state exemplify how Texans set the standard for ensuring clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste. The application period for the 2023 awards is now open. To see winners from 2013 to 2022, visit the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards webpage. Applications will be accepted through Friday, September 23.
More Upcoming Events
mocking bird
Houston Audubon Bird WeekSeptember 17-24 
Houston Bird Week 2022 celebrates the important role Houston plays in the journey of billions of migratory birds and the everyday lives of resident birds. Houston Audubon and local conservation partners arrange a week of events centered around the region’s birds and wildlife. Events include birding opportunities, watch parties, trivia, movie night, and more. Visit for details
Refreshing Recycling written over a field of blue
STAR 2022 Texas Recycling Summit Set for October 12-13 in Lake Texoma
Register today to attend the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) 24th Annual Texas Recycling Summit. The event will be in person from October 12 to 14 at Tanglewood Resort, Lake Texoma. The in-person event will include speakers and workshop sessions, the Texas Environmental Leadership Awards dinner, networking, the STAR North Texas Annual Golf Tournament, fishing adventures, games and more.
DEA National Takeback
Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is October 29
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 29. Check the DEA website in early October for area drop-off locations. The collection event provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications and environmental contamination. Law enforcement agencies interested in hosting a collection site should call the point of contact for this area.
News and Notes
H-GAC, Communities Earn Recognition in Inaugural Houston Planning Awards

Congratulations to H-GAC's Regional Conservation Initiative and Livable Centers Program for receiving recognition in the American Planning Association (APA) Texas Chapter Houston Section 2022 Planning Award.

The H-GAC Regional Conservation Initiative earned a Gold designation in the Environmental Planning category of the awards. Three Livable Centers planning studies also received recognition: East Aldine Livable Centers Study, Best Practices Category, Silver; Old Seabrook Livable Centers Study, Urban Design, Gold; and Montrose Livable Centers Study, Urban Design, Silver.

These awards, given for the first time this year, recognize individuals, organizations, and communities for outstanding contributions to planning in the Houston Section of APA.

Congratulations to other Houston-area communities and projects for receiving recognition during this wards program:
  • City of Fulshear, Community of the Year, Gold
  • ADU|HOU: Best Practice, Gold
  • Inwood Detention Recreation Study, Environmental Planning, Silver
  • Bagby Street Improvement Project, Transportation Planning, Gold
  • Ruffino Hills Landfill: Resilient Development and Detention, Resilience, Gold.
Livable Centers Study Recommendations on Telephone Road to Begin Soon

The City of Houston was awarded a $21 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant to remake part of Telephone Road. According to the Houston Chronicle, the 2.8-mile corridor from Lawndale Drive to IH 610 will be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. “Design work is near completion, and construction is expected over the next three years.”

The East End District and H-GAC funded the Greater Eastwood Livable Centers Study that created the plan for the Telephone Road improvements.
Funding Sources
Funding Sources

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department 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 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.
Conservation Note of the Month

The Houston-Galveston Region has 2.5 million acres of forest which provided an estimated $996 million in health benefits last year by removing air pollutants
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: Alligator at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Sarah Torresen.

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