Christmas 2020
Upcoming Events
Bacteria Implementation Group Annual Meeting TODAY (Online)

The Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) Fall Meeting will be from 1 to 3 p.m. today, Tuesday, December 1.

This meeting will be online.
Topics will include the 2020 annual report, BIG Implementation Plan revisions, and Total Maximum Daily Load updates.  
Registration is required. For more information, contact Steven Johnston.
Annual Fall Planning Workshop - December 4 (Online)

H-GAC's annual Fall Planning Workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday, December 4.

This meeting will be online.
The Fall Planning Workshop is an annual half-day workshop for local governments featuring presentations on planning best practices for communities. The topic of this year's workshop will be Responsible Revitalization and will expand on the 2019 Fall Planning Workshop theme, Building Equity Into Planning.

Workshop topics include:
  • Equitable Housing
  • Equitable Jobs
  • Equitable Transportation

The workshop will give participants the chance to participate in interactive activities and conversations.

To submit a question for the Housing, Jobs, or Transportation panels in advance of the workshop, e-mail [email protected] before 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 2.
Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo.
Annual Storm Debris Workshop - January 7, 2021 (Online)

H-GAC will host the 2020 Disaster Debris Workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, January 7, 2021. This half-day workshop is being rescheduled from December 3.

This meeting will be online.

The topic of is Debris Management Preparedness in Challenging Times and will focus on activities that can assist jurisdictions in being prepared to respond to and recover from a disaster debris generating incident including:
  • The challenges of COVID-19 on solid waste staffing, collections, and disposal.
  • Health and safety precautions in conducting debris management operations considering COVID-19 or other infectious disease outbreaks/pandemics.
  • Recent changes in disaster debris and public assistance regulations and guidance.

The workshop will also provide the participants an opportunity to discuss concerns and share their best practices and lessons learned from their past debris management response and recovery efforts.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Erin Livingston.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - January 26, 2021 (Online)

Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, January 26, 2021. The meeting will be on Zoom and the topic will be announced later.

H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas.
Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo.
Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards and WISE Awards – February 5, 2021 (Online)

Save the Date for the combined Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards and Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards to be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, February 5, 2021.

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.
Trash Bash - March 27, 2021 (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 the for the week of March 27, 2021, 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.
Coastal Communities Project Shares Holiday 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
Protect Our Pipes City of Houston Public Works
City of Houston Launches Protect Our Pipes Campaign
The City of Houston’s new Protect Our Pipes campaign provides resources to educate residents on how they can help prevent sewer overflows in their community. Visit for more information and to download flyers, infographics, fact sheets, and videos for online and print distribution. You can contact the campaign at [email protected]
Texas outline with Take Care of Texas written in blue
Take Care of Texas Student Video Contest
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) invites students in 6th through 12th grades to enter the annual Take Care of Texas Video Contest. Student videos should be 30 seconds long and portray positive ways Texans can help keep air and water clean, conserve water and energy, or reduce waste. The contest deadline is Friday, December 4, and the public will have the opportunity to pick their favorite videos January 18-29, 2021. There will be six winners. Waste Management of Texas, Inc. will provide prizes--GoPro cameras and scholarships. The middle and high school students who win first place will be recognized by the TCEQ Commissioners and representatives from Waste Management of Texas, Inc.
mocking bird
Audubon Christmas Bird Count
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is December 14 through January 5 each year. Organized by the National Audubon Society, this global, all-volunteer effort collects data on local bird populations. Individual counts are open to birders of all levels, and there is no fee to participate. Several events are scheduled across the region.
Flood Mitigation Project Clearinghouse Now Available 
The Texas Water Development Board, the Texas General Land Office, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management launched a website with information on flood mitigation funding opportunities for Texas communities. The site includes an online Request for Information Form that entities can submit to get feedback on what state and federal financial assistance programs could be the best fit for their flood mitigation needs. The site also includes funding opportunities, general project and entity eligibility by program, upcoming events related to flood mitigation financial assistance, and other resources. For local governments interested in using the clearinghouse to access project ideas, visit the Texas Flood Clearinghouse website or call 512-463-8725. 
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Resilient Texas Website 
Texas communities working on long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey can find Infoshare resources at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service's new Resilient Texas website. Visit the site for both new and previous information shared in weekly emails. FEMA's Texas Recovery Office partnered with AgriLife on the site and will continue to provide resources both in email and for the website. 
Free Technical Assistance Available for Brownfields 
Kansas State University Technical Assistance to Brownfields program provides free site re-use planning and visioning services, and site inventory and prioritization assistance to local governments that don't have the resources to get this done on their own. This assistance is usually enough to "start the ball rolling," for developing strategies and to attract funds to do more extensive planning work and to redevelop brownfields. For more information, contact Blase Leven, the Program Coordinator at Kansas State University, at 785-532-0780. 
Get Involved With Trash Free Texas 
Trash Free Texas strives to keep trash out of area waterways by working with communities and organizations across the state to connect people to places that need routine litter cleanup activities. Local governments and organizations can get involved by using the Adopt-a-Spot online interactive mapping application
News and Notes
underpass columns painted orange and blue
Management District Completes Underpass Beautification Project

Greater Northside Management District and UP Art Studio completed the Crosstimbers Underpass Gateway Project at Crosstimbers and the North Freeway (I-45) in Houston.

The Gateway Project enhances the I-45 underpass by painting highway columns with two colors representing the Independence Heights and Northline neighborhoods. Colors and schematic design are part of the management district's Urban Design Toolkit by the University of Houston Community Design Resource Center.

The project was sponsored by the American Planning Association in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Houston. The original concept for this project is discussed in H-GAC's Independence Heights-Northline Livable Center Study.

Livable Centers are places where people can live, work, and play with less reliance on their cars. They encourage a complementary mix of land uses that are designed to be walkable, connected, and accessible by multiple modes of transportation, including bus, bike, foot, or vehicle (multi-modal). Established in 2008, the Program works with local communities to reimagine auto-focused infrastructure, policies, and programs to be more multi-modal friendly. Learn more about H-GAC's Livable Centers Program.
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: The City of Dickinson starts installing holiday decorations at City Hall. 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