Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Announcements
H-GAC Water Resources Logo wordmark
H-GAC Staff Wins Awards

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash, regionally coordinated by H-GAC's Water Resources staff, was recognized with a 2018 Keep Houston Beautiful Mayor's Proud Partner Award. The awards recognize projects using education and community partnerships to foster resident and neighborhood awareness of the role residents can play in preserving the natural beauty and visual amenities of the city. In 2018, 3,600 volunteers cleaned 85.5 tons of trash, 1 ton of recyclables, and 356 tires from 159 miles of waterways from 14 locations, including five sites in Houston.

H-GAC's Texas Stream Team program was recognized as Most Supportive Partner by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University at Stream Team Fest 2018. Texas Stream Team at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is dedicated to understanding and protecting the 191,000 miles of Texas waterways. They bring together community members, students, educators, academic researchers, environmental professionals, and public and private sector partners to conduct scientific research and to promote environmental stewardship. H-GAC's Texas Stream Team program is supported by 100 volunteers monitoring local waterways monthly. Regional Stream Team data can be viewed on the Water Resources Information Map. To learn more about the program and future trainings email stream.team@h-gac.com.

Illustration of a bison in a circle with TXGLO below and a star above
General Land Office Opens Homeowner Assistance Program for Houston-Galveston East Counties

The Texas Homeowner Assistance Program Housing Assistance Centers in the region are now open and assisting homeowners in completing their program application for assistance.

The program, administered by the Texas General Land Office, provides homeowner assistance through:
  • Repairing and rehabilitating homes;
  • Reconstruction;
  • Improving a damaged home so that it is stronger against natural disasters;
  • Elevating homes above flood level; and/or
  • Relocation assistance.
More information is available online at the program website, including available assistance, Housing Assistance Centers locations, appointment scheduling, and online applications.

Upcoming Events
Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - January 23, 2019

Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday, January 23, 2019. The location and topic are to be determined. 

H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas.

For more information, contact Joey Kaspar at 713-993-4547.


Parks and Natural Areas logo
Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards Ceremony - February 8, 2019

Save the date for H-GAC's first Parks and Natural Areas Summit and Awards Ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, February 8, 2019, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The Summit will include presentations about various H-GAC programs that can provide goods, services, technical assistance, and funding for parks and natural areas projects.

The event will also 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. 

A light breakfast will be served. Registration will open in late December or early January. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the H-GAC program showcase at 9 a.m. The awards program will be followed by networking with H-GAC staff and other parks professionals.

For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo at 832-681-2507.

group of people carrying trash bags and walking up a green hill
Trash Bash - March 30, 2019

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30, 2019. Save the date to join thousands of volunteers cleaning up trash and debris along area waterways. With locations across the Galveston Bay watershed, there's a cleanup site near home, work, or school. 

Trash Bash is made possible by support from individuals, organizations, and businesses. Consider supporting the event this year with a donation to the Texas Conservation Fund, the nonprofit organization that manages Trash Bash. With a new online donation button, it's easy for individuals to support area waterways.
 

Partner Announcements
Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence
2019 Call for entries overlaid on a urban design background
Applications are being accepted for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, a national design award celebrating transformative places that contribute to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of American cities. One Gold Medal ($50,000 cash award) and four Silver Medals ($10,000 cash award) are awarded. To be eligible, projects must be urban, built, and located within the contiguous United States. Applications may be submitted by anyone involved with the project. The deadline to submit applications is Wednesday, December 12.

Take Care of Texas Video Contest
Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Logo
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 14, and the public will have the opportunity to pick their favorite videos January 10-24, 2019. The middle and high school students who win first place will be invited to travel to Austin, along with their teacher, parent, or guardian, to be recognized by the TCEQ and Waste Management of Texas, Inc., at the 2019 Environmental Trade Fair and Conference.

Scenic City Applications Available
H-GAC and Scenic Texas support vibrant, healthy communities across the state. Partnering with Scenic Texas and other agencies to form the Scenic City Certification Program
has been a natural fit for H-GAC, and cities and towns with strong infrastructure standards prove to be resilient, distinctive cities known for a strong sense of civic pride and well-positioned for economic growth. See the full roster of certified Scenic Cities and review program requirements by exploring www.sceniccitycertification.org. The 2019 application is now available for review, and the 2019 application period is January 1-March 31, 2019.


Recycle Mania Logo
RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Competition
RecycleMania, a collegiate recycling competition, kicks off in February 2019, and registration is open now.
More Upcoming Events
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Master Gardeners Composter Training
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service logo
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Fort Bend County Master Gardeners Association are hosting a three-day composter specialist event
 from 10 a.m. to noon December 5-7 at the AgriLife Extension Office, 1402 Band Road, Suite 100, Rosenberg. This training is sanctioned by the Texas Master Gardener program, and the 24 attendees will receive the title of "Composter Specialist." More information, including an agenda and registration, is available online.
 
Septic System Maintenance Course for Homeowners
Texas Water Resources Institute logo
The Texas Water Resources Institute is offering free septic system maintenance courses for homeowners in Matagorda County. The first will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at Palacios Educational Pavilion, 693 S. Bay Blvd., Palacios. The second will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, December 7, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds Multipurpose Room, 2604 Nichols Avenue, Bay City. Presentations will cover basic understanding of the operational and maintenance activities of a conventional septic system. To register, call 979-245-4100. For more information, contact
Aaron Sumrall at 979-245-4100. 
 
TCEQ RESTORE Public Input Meetings
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will host three meetings in December, including one in Galveston, to receive input from the public on priorities for available RESTORE funding, which benefits coastal areas of Texas and other states along the Gulf of Mexico. The RESTORE funds come from penalties assessed for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The meetings will be on priorities for the Bucket 2 category that has about $350 million total available to be spread out among the five impacted Gulf Coast states. The meeting in Galveston will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, December 10, at Texas A&M University-Galveston, 200 Seawolf Parkway, Room 100 (Auditorium), Classroom Laboratory Building (Building 3700).

Readiness for Resilience: Discovery Workshop
AgriLife Extension Logo
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host Readiness for Resilience: A Smart Technology Roadmap for Texas Discovery Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, at University of Houston Student Center South Multipurpose Room, 4455 University Drive, Building 565, Houston. Participants are invited to provide input about the challenges and successes during and after Harvey. The conversation will continue at a Spring 2019 conference with community leaders, stakeholders, and technology experts. The event is free. Registration is required.
  
Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Mockingbird
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.

CEC logo
Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour
The Citizens' Environmental Coalition will host the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour on January 30 and 31, 2019. The two-night event will be at the River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray Street, Houston.
News and Notes
Livable Centers Brochure Cover
H-GAC Livable Centers Livable Centers Partner Earns Prestigious Award

The East Downtown Management District recently received the Civic Vision Award from the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Civic Vision Award is given to a member of the Houston area community that has made a significant and positive impact to the built environment through their advocacy, volunteer, and professional work on a large scale.

H-GAC partnered with the East Downtown Management District and the Houston Downtown Management District in 2011 to develop a Livable Centers study with recommendations including enhanced sidewalks, setback improvements, and active ground floor uses.

Livable Centers are places where people can live, work, and play with less reliance on their cars. Livable Centers, with concentrations of residential and employment areas, support more trips by foot, bicycle, transit, or carpool. H-GAC's Livable Centers program works with local communities to identify specific recommendations, such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, that can help spark the creation of Livable Centers.

H-GAC is seeking consulting services to conduct a study and develop a plan to further the goals of the Livable Centers program in North Houston District. The deadline to submit a proposal is 3 p.m. Monday, December 17.

Funding Sources
Installing an OSSF
H-GAC Wastewater Assistance Program Helps Homeowners

H-GAC's Wastewater Assistance Program offers funding for the repair or replacement of conventional septic or aerobic wastewater systems in the 13-county H-GAC planning region. Homeowners who meet certain income restrictions are eligible.

For more information, contact Brian Sims at 713-993-2438 or learn more about maintaining these systems online.

AirCheck Logo
Financial Assistance Available Through Air Check Texas

The AirCheck Texas - Drive a Clean Machine Program is designed to help motorists in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Harris, Galveston, and Montgomery counties comply with vehicle emissions standards. 

AirCheck Texas offers financial incentives to repair or replace currently driven vehicles. An applicant will receive both a financial and environmental benefit while contributing to air quality solutions by removing older vehicles from Texas roadways. 

For more information, visit www.aircheckhouston.com or call 832-681-2527.

TERP Logo with equipment and large truck
Texas Clean Fleet Program Grant Funding

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Texas Clean Fleet Program is offering approximately $7.7 million in grants to encourage businesses that operate large fleets of vehicles in Texas to replace diesel-powered vehicles with alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles. Applications are due Monday, February 18.

Anyone interested in learning more can participate in the Texas Emission Reduction Plan's webinar at 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 9, 2019. RSVP to the webinar by emailing your name and contact information to terp@tceq.texas.gov. Interested applicants can get more information by calling 800-919-TERP (8377).

The TCEQ will host an informational workshop at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, December 13, at he Greater Houston Port Bureau, 4400 TX-225, Deer Park. 

NFL grassroots logo with illustration of football
NFL Foundation Grassroots Program

Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the National Football League are taking applications for the 2018 NFL Foundation Grassroots Program. The goal of the Program is to provide non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations with financial and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of local football fields. The Program provides grants of up to $250,000 for capital improvement projects.

More information, including the application package, is available online. The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, January 31, 2019.

USDA Logo
Rural Utilities Service Water & Environmental Programs

The USDA's Rural Utilities Service Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) has $165,475,000 in supplemental grant funding available for repairs to drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Entities wishing to apply for assistance or needing additional information should contact:

USDA Rural Development State Office
Federal Building, Suite 102
101 South Main, Temple, TX 76501
(254) 742-9700/TDD (254) 742-9712

Local water and sewer departments having workforce challenges to recruit and retain qualified workers within the Houston-Galveston region are encouraged to contact Traci Nolen at 713-993-2468.

US Economic Development Administration logo
EDA Harvey Recovery Grants

The U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Austin regional office received $129,119,000 in supplemental funding for disaster relief and is actively seeking projects to help communities in the Houston-Galveston region recover from Hurricane Harvey. 

The recently released Notice of Funding Opportunity outlines the requirements, which include the following:
  • Projects require a 20 percent match, which can include in-kind contributions
  • Typical projects will range from $1-$2.5 million
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
  • Must demonstrate a nexus to Harvey in terms of economic recovery or resilience
  • Eligible applicants include governments, nonprofits, and universities
For more information, contact Robert Peche of the EDA.

Tree with $ Money
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.

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.
Community and Environmental Planning Programs
GIS Globes
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 to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more.
 
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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, Trash Bash, Regional Data LabBacteria Implementation Group (BIG), West Fork Watersheds Partnership, and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

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Twitter
Find the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter feed @hgaccog. H-GAC's water resources program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region @HGACwater.
Banner Photo by Cheryl Mergo.

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