April 2015 Banner - Rabbit in the Grass       
 April 2015
In This Issue
H-GAC Offers Parks Best Management Practices
H-GAC to Release First Quarter Regional Growth Forecast
Basin Steering Committee to Meet April 1
Upper Oyster Creek Group Sets Meeting
Fair Housing Choice: It's Not an Option, It's the Law
Asset Management Programs on Agenda for CWI Workshop
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Focus On - Electronics Recycling
Storm Debris Workshops Continue
Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time
H-GAC Bikeway Viewer Offers Riders a Chance to Plan Routes
White Oak Spring Plant Sale to be April 11
Earth Day Houston Celebrates 10 Years on April 11
Annual Adopt a Beach Spring Cleanup Set for April 18
Great American Cleanup Begins March 1
Rice Design Alliance Announces Annual Anything That Floats Competition
Celebrate Earth Day at Exploration Green April 25
Rain Barrel Workshop Planned in Pasadena April 25
TxDOT Announces Transportation Alternatives Program Call for Projects
Application Period Now Open for Communities Seeking Texas Main Street Designation
Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17
Texas Financing Roundtable Conference Set for April 23
Save the Date for Annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference in December
Funding Opportunities
Community and Environmental Planning
News and Notes
Quick Links
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Meeting Information
To visit the H-GAC website for a list of all upcoming meetings click here.

To get a list of other environmentally related meetings and events in our region click here.

Disability SignIn compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, H-GAC will provide for reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities attending H-GAC functions. Requests should be received 24 hours prior to the function. Call the meeting organizer to make arrangements.

As part of our commitment to Going Green, Green WorldH-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department encourages meeting attendees to bring their own mug or cup to all meetings.
Banner Photo

Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) at Brazos Bend State Park.


Would you like for us to consider featuring your municipality, program or regional photo on the C&E Planning Update banner? Just forward your picture, along with some information about the subject and the photographer, and you might see it in a future month's newsletter. 


Forward your picture and information to Andrea Tantillo.

H-GAC Offers Parks Best Management Practices

The Parks and Natural Areas Subcommittee has released Parks Best Management Practices White Paper, a region-wide planning tool to guide park design, programming, and maintenance planning.

For more information, contact Mary Martha Gaiennie at  713-993-2468. 

H-GAC to Release First Quarter Regional Growth Forecast

GIS Globes H-GAC will release its 2015 first quarter regional growth forecast estimates in mid-April. The 2015 Q1 release will include data on population and jobs down to the Transportation Analysis Zone (TAZ) and Census Tract level. The data will be available to download, as well as for display as maps and tables.

More information is available online

Basin Steering Committee to Meet April 1, CWI Follows

The H-GAC Clean Rivers Program (CRP) Basin Steering Committee will meet Wednesday, April 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor.


The Basin Steering Committee serves as the primary forum for discussion of various water quality issues raised through the CRP assessment process and advises staff on all administrative matters related to the CRP. During the meeting, the Committee will receive updates on various projects, including Texas Stream Team; Armand Bayou, Jarboe Bayou, and East and West Forks of the San Jacinto River Implementation Plans (I-Plans); and the Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan.


A Clean Waters Initiative workshop, In Stream Water Quality Monitoring, will follow the meeting. H-GAC, the City of Houston and Environmental Institute of Houston will discuss their current projects, special projects, investigations, reporting, lessons learned, and notable results.


For more information about both meetings, contact Jean Wright at 713-499-6660. 

Upper Oyster Creek Group Sets Meeting

Upper Oyster Creek The Upper Oyster Creek Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan Group will hold a public meeting Thursday, April 9, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Cane Room of Sugar Land City Hall, 2700 North Town Center Blvd., Sugar Land.


An update on the overall progress of the Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan (TMDL I-Plan) effort to address surface water quality issues affecting human health and aquatic ecosystems in Upper Oyster Creek will be presented at the meeting. Public feedback and ideas are welcome.


Details about the Group and the Implementation Plan can be found online.


For more information, contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.

Fair Housing Choice: It's Not an Option, It's the Law

Fair Housing H-GAC recognizes April as Fair Housing Month and reminds everyone that the Federal Fair Housing Act makes discrimination in housing against the law. In any decision regarding rental, sales, or lending, it is illegal to consider race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or family status.


If you feel your fair housing rights have been violated, all complaints and comments should be addressed to the office of U.S. Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

Asset Management Programs on Agenda for CWI Workshop

Clean Waters Initiative Logo


The second Clean Waters Initiative workshop this month will be Wednesday, April 22, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. 


The topic of the workshop is Utility Asset Management Programs. Attendees will hear presentations on the implementation of the asset management program, sanitary sewer overflows, and grease abatement programs. Speakers include representatives from the City of Baytown, City of Houston, HDR Consultants on behalf of the City of San Antonio, Galveston Bay Foundation, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.


Registration information is available online. For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.


Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping to determine the demand for pedestrian-bicyclist facilities. H-GAC has three temporary pedestrian-bicyclist counters available for use by local governments to count the number of people using sidewalks and/or trails, giving implementing entities and H-GAC a better understanding of the demand and use of these facilities.


For more information about the loan of the counters, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

Focus On -  Electronics Recycling

  Focus on Electronics Recycling           

Used electronics are the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream and include items like TVs, computers, cell phones, VCRs, and stereos. Currently, less than 20% of discarded electronics are being safely recycled. Now, thanks to a cooperative purchasing contract with CompuCycle, local governments have one less step to worry about when planning used electronics collections. H-GAC has contracted with CompuCycle for collection, transportation, and disposal of used electronics within the 13-county region. The contract covers both one-day collection events and permanent facilities.


H-GAC chose CompuCycle for this contract following our standard RFP (request for proposals) review and selection process. This means that governments and agencies located within the H-GAC service area and with an interlocal agreement with H-GAC can engage CompuCycle for their used electronics needs without having to go through their own lengthy RFP process. Government representatives can contact CompuCycle directly at chess@compucycle.net or can e-mail H-GAC at swinformation@h-gac.com for more information.

When it comes to electronics recycling for area residents there are several options available:

Storm Debris Workshops Continue

Storm Debris H-GAC's series of debris management workshops continues Tuesday, April 28, with Disaster Debris and the Whole Community. This workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

This workshop will focus on recently-updated guidance on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance in debris operations. It will specifically cover strategies to comply with ADA in debris operations, consequences for non-compliance, current litigation on the topic, and ADA compliance in emergency operations.

Refreshments for this workshop are sponsored by Ceres Environmental.


There is no cost for this event, but space is limited and registration is required. To register to attend this event in person, click here or contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525. To attend via webinar, register online.


Mark your calendars for the additional workshops in the series:

  • Appeals Strategy and Stamina
    Wednesday, May 20
  • Advanced Technology in Disaster Debris Management
    Tuesday, June 23

More information is available online.

Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time, Money

IKE Recognizing the need for communities to perform efficient and timely cleanup of debris generated by natural disasters, H-GAC has developed the Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program. By having pre-event debris hauler contracts in place, cleanup can be quicker and less costly.

Procuring reputable and experienced firms can be challenging; however, H-GAC has already handled many of the procurement issues for local governments. The Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program offers access to a pool of the most qualified debris removal contractors, saves time and money associated with the procurement process, and helps maximize eligible FEMA reimbursement.

To learn how to participate in the program, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520 or visit the web page.

As a reminder, hurricane evacuation maps, including zip zone evacuation, surge zone, and evacuation routes, can be found on the H-GAC website.

May is National Bike Month, H-GAC Bikeway Viewer Offers Riders a Chance to Plan Routes

Bicycles parked at Discovery Green in Houston.Spring is a great time to enjoy the region's many bikeways, and riders can use H-GAC's Regional Bikeway Viewer or the Regional Bikeway Map to chart routes.


May is National Bike Month, and many communities are celebrating with Bike to Work Days and other events that encourage biking.


Learn how to promote National Bike Month from the League of American Bicyclists.

White Oak Spring Plant Sale to be April 11

White Oak Conference Center Logo The White Oak Spring Plant Sale will be Saturday, April 11, at the White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine Drive, Houston. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a presentation from Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farm.


The sale will follow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until all plants are sold. This sale features plants that are native or adapted to the H-GAC region's heat and soil. Proceeds from the sale benefit the White Oak Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden.

Earth Day Houston Celebrates 10 Years on April 11

Earth Day Houston LogoEarth Day Houston will celebrate 10 years during the annual one-day celebration at Discovery Green on Saturday, April 11. The festival focuses on preserving and conserving the city through activities highlighting land, air, water, sustainability, healthy living, wildlife and habitat. Activities include a Green Expo, an Eco-Artists Village, and a Local Fare Market in support of local and sustainable products. Parents will also find plenty of activities for children throughout the day.


More information, including a schedule of activities, is available online.


The eighth annual Earth Day Student Art Contest Awards Show and Auction will be Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Skyline Art Services, 6955 Portwest Drive, Houston.


The art contest encouraged students to present a vision of how to celebrate and protect the environment.


Online bidding for the auction is open now.

Annual Adopt a Beach Spring Cleanup Set for April 18

Adopt a Beach Logo 2015Since 1986, more than 476,000 volunteers have removed 9,000 tons of trash from Texas beaches and estuaries. Volunteers are encouraged to continue that cleanup effort with the Texas General Land Office's Adopt a Beach Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 18. Cleanups are from 8:30 a.m. to noon, with lunch provided at most sites.


There are multiple site locations all along the Texas Coast and nearly all coastal counties participate, including Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Matagorda counties. 

Great American Cleanup Continues, Don't mess With Texas Trash Off  is April 11

Great American Cleanup Logo Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program, runs from March 1 to May 31 each year. Communities across the state are participating in activities, including beautifying parks and recreation areas, cleaning waterways, handling recycling collections, picking up litter, removing graffiti, planting trees, and conducting educational programs.


A full calendar of events across Texas is available on the Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) website including the following events around the region: Texas Coast Adopt a Beach, Saturday, April 18; RichmondSaturday, April 25; and AlvinSaturday, May 9.


The Don't mess with Texas Trash Off on Saturday, April 11, serves as Texas' signature event for the Great American Cleanup. KTB's calendar of Trash Off events, includes the following from around the region: AngletonBay CityCy-FairFriendswood, and Katy.


KTB updates its calendar regularly as communities submit their events for inclusion.

Rice Design Alliance Announces Annual Anything That Floats Competition

Anything That Floats 2015 Logo The Rice Design Alliance (RDA) will host its fifth annual Anything That Floats competition Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sesquicentennial Park on Buffalo Bayou.

Teams will use their own tools to construct a craft out of donated building materials that are provided that day by rdAGENTS, the Rice Design Alliance young professionals group. Two members of each team will race for time across the bayou. Teams of two to five people are invited to enter.

Registration is $25 for RDA members and $35 for non-members. Attending the race is free and open to the public. More information is available online.

Celebrate Earth Day at Exploration Green April 25

Exploration Green Conservancy Logo Exploration Green, a 200-acre green space in the heart of Clear Lake, will host its inaugural Earth Day Celebration  Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


The event is free, and activities include traditional outdoor games, running and walking, education and environmental activities, and volunteer opportunities.


The main entrance for Exploration Green is at 16205 Diana Lane, Houston, near the Clear Lake City Recreation Center. More information is available online or by calling 281-782-2721.

Rain Barrel Workshop Planned in Pasadena April 25

Galveston Bay Foundation Logo Registration is now open for the Galveston Bay Foundation's upcoming rain barrel workshop Saturday, April 25, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the O'Dell Harrison Recreation Center in Pasadena.


The workshop will be presented in both English and Spanish.


More information is available online or by contacting Neally Rhea at 281-332-3381.


TxDOT Announces Transportation Alternatives Program Call for Projects

TxDOT logo In January, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced its current Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Call for Projects. The TAP provides funding for a variety of alternative transportation projects, including:

  • On- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities;
  • Infrastructure for non-driver access to public transportation; and
  • Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects.

Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects must be located in specified areasFunding can be used for construction only. Applications must be received by Monday, May 4. The program guide, project nomination form, map of eligible communities, and program rules are available online.


For more information, contact  Ana Ramirez with TxDOT-Houston District at 713-802-5810.

Application Period Now Open for Communities Seeking Texas Main Street Designation

Texas Main Street Logo The 2016 Main Street application period is now open. Each year, the Texas Historical Commission may select up to five cities for official Main Street designation. Communities selected this year will enter the program in January 2016.


Main Street is an economic development program focusing on small business development, using reuse of historic properties and historic preservation as primary tools.


Optional letters of intent are due to the Texas Historical Commission on Friday, May 15. Full applications are due Friday, July 31. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on applicants during their quarterly meeting October 29 - 30. More information, including application forms, is available online.


The Texas Historical Commission will offer a webinar about the application process and requirements on Thursday, May 21. To receive login information, contact the Texas Main Street State Coordinator at debra.drescher@thc.state.tx.us


Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17

Keep Texas Beautiful Conference LogoThe 48th Annual Keep Texas Beautiful Conference, Blazing Trails to a Beautiful Texas, will be June 15 - 17 at the Omni Hotel, 1300 Houston Street, Fort Worth.

The annual conference offers educational sessions on innovative approaches to community beautification, waste reduction, and litter prevention and celebrates the achievements of youth and community leaders, civic groups, businesses, and governments.


Registration pricing is available online.

Texas Financing Roundtable Conference Set for April 23

CDFA Logo The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) will present the second annual Texas Financing Roundtable Conference on Thursday, April 23, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The focus of the conference is Development Finance Best Practices: Programs and Tools that Work.


This one-day event will feature economic development finance experts and leaders from around the state discussing innovative development finance tools and projects, emerging resources and approaches, and how these methods can catalyze investment in the Texas economy. 


Registration is $125 for CDFA members ($175 for non-members). Scholarships are available. More information, including a full agenda, is available online.

Save the Date for Annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference in December

CATEE Banner - 2015

The Energy Systems Laboratory of the Texas A&M University System will host the annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference (CATEE) December 1-3, at the Hotel Galvez & Spa in Galveston. CATEE 2015 is a premier educational conference and energy-related business expo aimed at local governments, business and civic leaders, and the development community. Its purpose is to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency in the built environment by sharing effective policies, new technologies, best practices, and local successes. 


More information is available online.  

fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental InvestigatorEDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance
The EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program supports construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan projects, including infrastructure, design and engineering, technical assistance, economic recovery strategies, and capitalization/recapitalization of revolving loan funds. Eligible applicants are district organizations; states, counties, cities, or any other political subdivision of the state; colleges and universities; and non-profits working in partnership with a political subdivision. Applications must be submitted by June 12, 2015, for Cycle 3 funding.


Drayage Truck Incentive Program
The Drayage Truck Incentive Program is taking applications for up to $3.1 million for the replacement of older drayage trucks operating at seaports and Class I rail yards in areas of Texas designated as nonattainment under the Federal Clean Air Act. The grants may reimburse up to 80 percent of the cost to purchase the new drayage truck. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 5 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2015, or until all funding is awarded, whichever occurs earlier.


Light-Duty Purchase or Lease Incentive Program

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering up to $7.7 million in incentives toward the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (propane), or electric drives. Visit the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) website for more information, including deadlines.


Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants

Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants help state and local organizations take advantage of unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. Detailed guidelines, criteria, and application requirements are available online. Rapid Response Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

All content, including links to other websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.


If you know of a funding opportunity, forward it to Andrea Tantillo.

Community and Environmental Planning

Loan Programs 

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department currently manages two business loan programs--the Small Business Administration 504 and the Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund.


HGALDCThe SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction and equipment purchases. Additional information is available onlineGulf Coast Economic Developmetn District LogoThe EDA Business Loan Fund assists small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region.

Anyone interested in applying for a loan or getting more information should contact loans@h-gac.com.


Mapping Applications and GIS Data

GIS GlobesIf you are looking for maps, mapping applications, or GIS data related to the Community and Environmental Planning Department, visit www.h-gac.com/go/cegis to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast and more. Our Map Book provides maps in several formats for printing. We also have mobile iPhone/iPad applications.



find us on facebookH-GAC has a Facebook page where we post information about current and upcoming events. You can find the page here. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While you're there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, such as Recycling, Trash Bash, Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG), and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.



Twitter LogoFind the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter Feed @hgaccog. H-GAC's water resources department program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region, including fish consumption advisories @HGACwater.

News and Notes

Andrea Tantillo, Communications Specialist
Houston-Galveston Area Council
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Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777