August 2015
In This Issue
H-GAC Launches New Our Great Region 2040 Website
Livable Centers Call for Planning Study Partners
Growth Forecast Includes Newly Announced Developments
Planning Survey to Help Set Schedule for Upcoming Workshops
Growth Forecast Includes Newly Announced Developments
Natural Resources Advisory Committee to Meet August 6
Save the Date for Regional Recycling Roundtable
Focus On - Government Loan Fund and Business Loan Fund
H-GAC Sets Solid Waste Management Procurement Workshop
Draft Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan Now Available for Public Comment
H-GAC to Host Scrap Tire and Local Environmental Enforcement Workshops
Survey to Inform Public Outreach About Pet Waste Pollution
Watershed Protection Plan Process for West Fork of the San Jacinto River Kicks Off
West Fork San Jacinto Watershed Greenprint Project Begins
H-GAC Announces Speakers for Revitalization Roundtable October 1
Texas Stream Team Volunteer Monitor Spotlight
Bicycling Around the Region is Focus of Mobility Now Episode
Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time, Money
Be a Part of the 23rd Annual Rivers, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®
Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
New Website Focuses on the Economic Benefit of Wetlands Conservation
Houston Bike Plan Survey Draws 2,800 Responses
Registration Now Open for APA Texas Conference in Galveston
Save the Date for Annual Bayou Preservation Symposium
Tickets Available for Third Annual Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards
Save the Date for Compost Council Summit and Training, October 7-9
Area Communities Among Those to Earn Scenic City Certification
Schools Can Compete in Annual Recycle Bowl
Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Program Seeks Award Applications
Event Registration for America Recycles Day Opens August 10
Area Students, Schools Honored with KTB Youth and Educator Awards
Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference
Federation Announces New Awards for Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure
Abstracts Sought for National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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

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 Launches New Our Great Region 2040 Website

Our Great Region 2040 Website H-GAC announces the launch of the new Our Great Region 2040 plan website


Our Great Region 2040 is a high-level, long range plan for the region that contains Big Ideas and Strategies for Economic Development, Healthy Communities, Transportation, Resiliency, Housing, and the Environment. 


Features of the new website include the following:

  • A new Implementation Report, tracking the capacity and momentum of each of the plan's strategies
  • An 'In the News' feature, highlighting news stories that relate to the plan and its strategies
  • A search bar to find what you're looking for on the site
  • An easy to use, mobile-friendly layout

Livable Centers Call for Planning Study Partners

Livable Centers Brochure Cover H-GAC has released a call for planning study partners for the Livable Centers program.


Partners are local governments or other eligible project sponsors. This is not a request for proposals from consulting firms.

The objective of the Livable Centers planning studies is to

  • Help create quality, walkable, mixed-use places;
  • Create multi-modal travel choices;
  • Improve environmental quality; and
  • Promote economic development and housing choice. 

Study recommendations may lead to projects for possible inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan and future Transportation Improvement Programs.


H-GAC anticipates identifying three to four Livable Centers studies to recommend for funding in 2016 and 2017.


The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 29. The Notice of Intent to Apply must be received by Wednesday, August 26.

Growth Forecast Includes Newly Announced Developments

GIS Globes H-GAC has released its 2015 second quarter regional growth forecast estimates. The current release incorporates newly announced developments and plats processed during 2015 Q1.


Together, they account for 17-million-square-feet (MSF) of non-residential space, 19,500 single-family homes,  and 5,500 multi-family units.


The 2015 Q2 release includes population and employment data down to the Transportation Analysis Zone (TAZ) and Census Tract level. The data, including maps and tables, is available for download.

Planning Survey to Help Set Schedule for Workshops

Clean Waters Initiative Logo H-GAC's Clean Waters Initiative (CWI) program offers workshops that help local governments, landowners, and citizens develop effective strategies to reduce pollution in area waterways.


To help improve the CWI workshops, H-GAC asks interested participants to complete a planning survey. We will use your responses to plan future workshop topics.

H-GAC Releases New Mapping Tools

Illustration of Demographic Map ToolH-GAC has two new mapping tools to allow users to examine relationships between where people live and work and to find areas where the "activity density" (people and jobs) and street patterns can best support pedestrian travel.


H-GAC Density/Connectivity Index (also known as the Blue Map) is a mapping application identifying existing activity center(s) based on density and connectivity index using the following indicators: household population, jobs, activity population, job/household balance, centerline miles, and number of intersections.


A second tool explores commuting patterns in the H-GAC region. This tool is an interactive visualization of workers' commuting patterns in different geographic areas of the region. The data is based on 2011 U.S. Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) Origin-Destination Employment Statistics.

Natural Resources Advisory Committee to Meet August 6

The Natural Resources Advisory Committee (NRAC) will meet Thursday, August 6, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

The NRAC reviews and advises the H-GAC's Board of Directors on natural resources-related goals and objectives.


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

Save the Date for Regional Recycling Roundtable

Recycling Bin Mark your calendars for the next Regional Recycling Roundtable on Thursday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to noon in H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.


H-GAC hosts quarterly Regional Recycling Roundtables to promote recycling and waste reduction and provide a forum for discussion about recycling issues within the H-GAC region.


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Annual Parks Awards Application to be Released August 10

Go Native - 2014 Parks Award Winner The Parks and Natural Areas (PNA) Subcommittee is making plans for the 2015 PNA Awards season. Applications will be accepted Monday, August 10, through Wednesday, September 9. 


 Winners will be notified in November, and the awards ceremony will be in January 2016.  An e-mail with more information and a link to the application will go out on  Monday, August 10.


PNA Awards highlight best practices and innovative approaches to parks planning and implementation in the 13-county H-GAC region.


H-GAC PNA Awards honor projects in four categories

  • Projects $500,000 or more
  • Projects under $500,000
  • Planning Process
  • Policy Tools

Winning entries demonstrate best practices and collaboration between developers, local governments, engineering and planning agencies, businesses, resources, environmental groups, and citizens. Entries are evaluated on innovation, merit, and regional impact. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region.


For more information on the PNA Awards process, contact Mary Martha Gaiennie at 713-993-2468.

FocusOnFocus On -  Government Loan Fund and Business Loan Fund 


The Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) offers two low-interest financing programs: the Government Loan Fund and the Business Loan Fund. Loans from either fund can be secondary loans and may be used to make up the difference between an existing loan and funding needed.


The Government Loan Fund offers low-interest financing to local governments impacted by Hurricane Ike for infrastructure improvements, equipment, land/building acquisition, and other qualified projects. Loan amounts range from $100,000 to $500,000, with terms of up to 20 years (with no early payback penalty), at a minimum 4% fixed interest rate.


The City of Liberty recently worked with the Government Loan Fund to secure low-interest financing to purchase a new pumper truck for the Fire Department. This truck can hold 2,500 gallons of water, providing first responders the water needed to respond to an emergency.


The Business Loan Fund offers low-interest loans to business owners to purchase fixed assets, buildings, inventory, supplies, fixtures, furniture, and equipment. Business owners may also use these funds for working capital. Loan amounts can range from $100,000 to $300,000, with terms of up to 10 years, at a minimum 4% fixed interest rate.


NUETEX LED Lighting, a Houston-based business that designs, manufactures and sells LED lighting solutions, needed capital to expand. Thanks to the Business Loan Fund, NEUTEX was able to secure a low-interest loan and grow their business.


Business owners must create one new job for every $65,000 borrowed.


Businesses and governments in Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Liberty, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties are eligible to apply for these programs. Funds for both programs are available through the end of the year. For more information, visit or contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.

H-GAC Sets Solid Waste Management Procurement Workshop

Large blue recycling bin

H-GAC will host a Solid Waste Management Program Procurement Workshop on Wednesday, August 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor.


Topics include

  • Key steps and issues to address during the procurement process;
  • General contract provisions;
  • Collection contract provisions;
  • Solid waste disposal and recycling processing provisions; and
  • Key financial terms.

For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Draft Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan Now Available for Public Comment

Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership Logo The public comment period is now open for the Draft Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan.

This plan is based on a community-led process as well as water quality monitoring and analysis. The plan identifies causes and sources of water quality issues in Cedar Bayou and recommends voluntary solutions to address them over the next 15 years.


To submit comments or edits to the draft
  • Email Justin Bower;
  • Call 713-252-0876; or 
  • Mail to Justin Bower, P.O. Box 22777, Houston, Texas 77227-2777.
All comments should be received by Monday, August 31, for consideration.

H-GAC to Host Scrap Tire and Local Environmental Enforcement Classes

tiresH-GAC will host two local enforcement classes this month.


Local Control of Scrap Tires will be on Monday, August 24. This class looks at ways communities can deal with dumped tires.


Coordinated Local Environmental Enforcement will be on Wednesday, August 26. This class covers specific laws and approaches that are useful to creating a strong program of local environmental enforcement.


Both classes will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor, and offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs). John Ockels with the Texas Illegal Dumping Resource Center is the instructor.


The classes are free, but registration is required. Register for Local Control of Scrap Tires. Register for Coordinated Local Environmental Enforcement.


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Survey to Inform Public Outreach About Pet Waste Pollution

Woman signing pet waste pollution pledge Do you own a dog or know someone who does? H-GAC is conducting a survey to learn why people do or don't pick up after their dogs.

Pet waste is a significant contributor of bacteria in area waterways, and simply picking up after dogs is an easy way to reduce this source of pollution. 


The survey results will help shape future public outreach messages and activities. The only requirement to complete this brief survey is that you must own a dog.


For more information, contact Kathy Janhsen at 713-993-2423.

Watershed Protection Plan Process for West Fork of the San Jacinto River Kicks Off

West Fork San Jacinto River The West Fork San Jacinto Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) is a locally-led water quality project in the West Fork San Jacinto, Lake Creek, Spring Creek, and Cypress Creek watersheds. The WPP process uses sound science and local knowledge to assess and address water quality issues.

H-GAC, in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), will assist local stakeholders in identifying causes and sources of pollution and developing a plan to address them through voluntary measures. Stakeholders represent a range of local interests, including local government, residents, landowners, agricultural producers, and industries.    

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

West Fork San Jacinto Watershed Greenprint Project Begins

West Fork San Jacinto RiverThe West Fork San Jacinto Watershed Greenprint is an effort to promote water quality and water-based recreation in the watersheds of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and Lake Conroe.

H-GAC is assisting the Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the Houston Endowment, in facilitating this project. The Greenprint uses GIS mapping and facilitated interactions with local stakeholders to identify crucial areas in the project watersheds. The result will be a plan reflecting the values, priorities and needs of local stakeholders that can be a road map and resource for decision makers.

H-GAC Announces Speakers for Revitalization Roundtable October 1

Bringing Back Main Street Logo H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street: Revitalization Roundtable will be on Thursday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tomball Community Center, 221 Market Street, Tomball.

Participants will learn about different types of tourism common in small cities and rural areas throughout Texas.

Speakers include 

  • Mayor Gretchen Fagan (City of Tomball);
  • April Garner (Texas Historical Commission: State Coordinator, Heritage Tourism Program); and
  • Andrew Pompei, AICP (Houston-Galveston Area Council: Senior Regional Planner). 

For more information, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

Texas Stream Team Volunteer Monitor Spotlight

Volunteer water quality monitors on Japhet Creek Each quarter, H-GAC features a new Texas Stream Monitor Spotlight.

About seven years ago, Jim Ohmart and Eileen Hatcher became Texas Stream Team volunteers for Japhet Creek. 


More than 25 years ago, the two bought the historic Isidore Japhet homestead on Japhet Creek. Concerned about the quality of the water in the little creek that flowed through their community, they teamed with local environmentalist Brian Herod to found the Japhet Creek Restoration Project.


Check out the Texas Stream Team Quarterly Newsletter to learn more.

Bicycling Around the Region is Focus of Mobility Now Episode

Mobility Now logo Bicycling around the region is the topic of the latest episode of Mobility NOW.


H-GAC Director of Community and Environmental Planning Jeff Taebel chats about regional bikeways with Bob Stein, Rice University Professor and avid cyclist; Regina Garcia, Bike Houston Chair; Ana Ramirez, with the Texas Department of Transportation; and Tim Tietjens, Director of Planning and Development for the City of La Porte.

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 debris hauler contracts in place prior to events, cleanup can be quicker and less costly.

Procuring reputable and experienced firms can be challenging. 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.

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

Be a Part of the 23rd Annual Rivers, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®

Official Trash Bash LogoThe 23rd River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash® is Saturday, April 2, 2016


Become a sponsor. Trash Bash® is made possible through generous contributions and support by sponsors. Check out Sponsorship Levels and Benefits to see how your organization can benefit as a Trash Bash® partner while making a significant positive impact on local waterways. 


Volunteers Needed. Since its inception, more than 98,000 volunteers have collected nearly 2,100 tons of trash, 1.3 tons of recyclable materials, and 9,600 tires. Learn how to volunteer to help clean up and promote a healthy Galveston Bay watershed.

Camera-Sharing Program Helps to Combat Illegal Dumping

CameraTo help track and reduce illegal dumping, H-GAC offers surveillance cameras and accompanying accessories through a sharing program. The cameras can capture clear videos day or night, including license plates of cars traveling up to 50 mph.


Participation in the program is for local governments within the 13-county H-GAC region and involves specific agreements, including a commitment to use the cameras for solid waste purposes 100 percent of the time and report results to H-GAC.


To allow easier access to local governments, ownership of the cameras has been transferred to Fort Bend, Galveston, and Walker counties. To access the cameras, borrow them from one of those three counties. 


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping determine the demand for pedestrian-bicyclist facilities. H-GAC has 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 borrowing the counters, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

New Website Focuses on the Economic Benefit of Wetlands Conservation

Screenshot of Wetlands for Landowners websiteTexas Coastal Watershed Program announces the launch of a new website showing landowners on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast how conserving their wetlands can be an asset and source of economic benefit.  


It serves as a clearinghouse for programs and tools that landowners can use to find out how to participate in wetland conservation to be eligible for benefits that may include direct payments or financial assistance, free technical services, tax deductions, low-interest loans, guaranteed loans, and exemptions from future legal requirements. 


Landowners can also learn more about wetland land types in Texas, wetland ecological services, and wetland permitting.

Houston Bike Plan Survey Draws 2,800 Responses

Houston Bike Plan Logo The Houston Bike Plan is a 12-month planning effort to update the City's Comprehensive Bikeway Plan originally adopted in 1993. The Houston Bike Plan will build on efforts like the Bayou Greenways Initiative to help make Houston a safer, healthier, more bike-friendly city for the growing number of people riding bikes.  


The first major public engagement period of the Houston Bike Plan concluded in July with over 2,800 surveys completed and more than 1,700 comments on the network map and goals.  The Houston Bike Plan team will draft a plan based on the extensive public input received. Later this year, the draft plan will be released for public review and feedback.

Registration Now Open for APA Texas Conference in Galveston

APA 2015 Galveston LogoThe American Planning Association (APA) Texas Chapter State Planning Conference and Short Course for Appointed and Elected Officials will be October 7-9 in Galveston.

The conference will include topic-based sessions, mobile workshops, plenary and luncheon speakers, and social events. The short course offers training for planning commissioners and elected officials.  


Planning Award recipients will be recognized during an awards luncheon on Friday, October 9. 


AICP members have the opportunity to receive up to 12.5 hours of Certification Maintenance credits during the conference.


Registration details are available online.

Save the Date for Annual Bayou Preservation Symposium

BPA logoSave the date for the 12th Annual Bayou Preservation Symposium on Friday, October 9, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the United Way Community Resources Center, 50 Waugh Drive, Houston. 


This year's theme is "Trash, Plastic, and Automobiles: Gross Pollutants in Our Watersheds."

Tickets Available for Third Annual Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards October 7

Brain on blue background representing Houston Tomorrow Catalyst AwardsTickets are now available for the Houston Tomorrow third annual Catalyst Awards on Wednesday, October 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at CenterPoint Energy Plaza, 1111 Louisiana St., Houston. The awards recognize and honor those whose ideas and actions change and improve the quality of Houstonians' lives.

As in previous years, the 2015 awards recognize  individuals in four categories:

  • Emeritus - A person or people who were or have been a recognized force for change
  • Excellence - A long-term champion of quality of life who is now a recognized provocateur
  • Engaged - A thought leader who has a clear change agenda
  • Evolving - New on the scene and shaking things up
For more information, contact Houston Tomorrow at 713-523-5757 or e-mail

Save the Date for Compost Council Summit and Training, October 7-9

STAR Logo Save the date for the Texas Compost Council Summit & Training, October 7-9. This year, the event moves to a new location, the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 1434 Centre Place Drive, Denton, with field activities and demonstrations at the City of Denton Solid Waste and Recycling Department.


This annual training workshop is for industrial composters and is hosted by the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) Texas Compost Council.

Area Communities Among Those to Earn Scenic City Certification

Five communities in the H-GAC region have been awarded new or recertified Scenic City Certification by the Scenic City Certification Program of Scenic Texas. They are Magnolia, Missouri City, Nassau Bay, Sealy, and Sugar Land.

This statewide project is the first of its kind to incorporate a comprehensive set of model standards for design and development of public roadways and public spaces into a cohesive assessment program. Cities apply to the program for a rigorous evaluation and scoring of existing municipal standards against the model. Those with the highest evaluation scores earn certification. Cities that qualify earn a five-year certification.

Other cities in the region with Scenic City Certification include Pearland, Houston, West University Place, Friendswood, Seabrook, and Webster.


Cities earning new or recertified certifications will be honored at a reception in San Antonio in September.

Schools Can Compete in Annual Recycle Bowl

Recycle Bowl Logo Keep America Beautiful presents Recycle Bowl, a national K-12 competition between schools to invigorate student participation in recycling efforts. 


The competition runs from October 20 to November 15, but registration is open now. There are both competition and non-competition divisions for this program.

Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Program Seeks Award Applications

The application cycle for the 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards, the highest environmental honors in the state, is open through Friday, September 25.


The awards recognize outstanding environmental projects from across Texas in nine categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Civic/Community
  • Education
  • Individual
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Innovative Operations/Management
  • Technical/Technology
  • Water Conservation
  • Youth

Event Registration for America Recycles Day Opens August 10

For almost two decades, communities have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day


Do you have plans for hosting a special event on that day? Are you looking for an event to participate in?

Event registration for the 2015 America Recycles Day opens Monday, August 10.

Area Students, Schools Honored with KTB Youth and Educator Awards

Keep Texas BeautifulEach year, Keep Texas Beautiful presents its Youth and Educator Awards, recognizing the efforts of young people, educators, and educational institutions that promote beautification, waste reduction, and litter prevention through environmental education and community activism.

Winners, including four from the H-GAC region, were selected in 12 categories. 


Two students and two groups were honored with the Ruth Jackson Youth Leadership Awards recognizing the efforts and leadership of young people and youth-oriented organizations:

Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference

CATEE Banner - 2015

Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency (CATEE) is continuing to accept applications for sponsors and exhibitors for the 2015 conference scheduled for 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. 


Sponsors and exhibitors have promotional opportunities to present information and products to an anticipated audience of more than 200 attendees and a business expo with approximately 20 exhibitors.


For more information about available sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Tammy Persky at 979-458-3437.

Federation Announces New Awards for Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure

Water Environment Federation logo Water Environment Federation (WEF) announces a new national municipal stormwater and green infrastructure awards program.


Developed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the program aims to recognize high-performing regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) and inspire them to exceed requirements through innovative and cost-effective approaches. 


All participants will receive a certificate indicating their position as either gold, silver or bronze level within the industry.

The application deadline for Phase II is Wednesday, August 19. The deadline for Phase I is Monday, August 24.

Abstracts Sought for National Water Quality Monitoring Conference

National Water Monitors Council logo The National Water Quality Monitoring Council is seeking abstracts for oral presentations, posters, workshops, panels, short courses, and facilitated round table discussions for the 10th National Monitoring Conference: Working Together for Clean Water. Topics should be related to rivers and streams, lakes, wetlands, coastal waters, ground water, and drinking water.

This conference, May 2-6, 2016, in Tampa, Florida, provides opportunities for water stakeholders to network, develop new skills, and partnerships and exchange information.


Abstracts are due Friday, September 18.

News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logoEPA Offers Technical Assistance Under Local Foods, Local Places
Supporting local food production can improve economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses and give residents better access to healthy, fresh food. It can also spur revitalization of a main street, downtown, or neighborhood by bringing new activity. Local Foods, Local Places will provide direct technical support to selected communities. A team of experts will help community members develop action plans that use local foods to support healthy families and communities and to drive downtown and neighborhood revitalization. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 15.


EPA Redesigns its Cooling Water Intakes Website
Thousands of industrial facilities use large volumes of water from lakes, rivers, estuaries or oceans to cool their plants. Cooling water intake structures can pull large numbers of fish and shellfish or their eggs into a power plant's or factory's cooling system where they can be injured or killed. Larger organisms may be killed or injured when they are trapped against screens at the front of an intake structure. The Clean Water Act requires EPA to issue regulations on the design and operation of intake structures to minimize adverse impacts. Learn about EPA's regulations to protect aquatic life from industrial cooling water intake structures by visiting the revamped website.


WaterSense Launches When In Drought Campaign
WaterSense, an EPA partnership program that offers a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services, has launched its When In Drought campaign. This campaign will amplify drought messaging and will create awareness that summer time is the most critical time to save on watering. When In Drought campaign materials include an animated video featuring WaterSense spokesgallon Flo and her dog. The video describes actions (plant the right plants, take a sprinkler break, switch to WaterSense products) everyone can take to save water. To coincide with this campaign WaterSense is hosting a #WaterSavingYard Photo Challenge on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to showcase how beautiful drought-tolerant landscapes can be.

fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental Investigator

Department of Agriculture 2015 Community Enhancement Fund

The Texas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2015 Community Enhancement Fund. This new funding opportunity will assist communities in achieving the goals of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program by developing enhancements that address public health, community centers, workforce development/education, public safety, and/or renewable energy (as part of a public facility). Applications are due Thursday, August 6, 2015.


Union Pacific Foundation Community-Based Grant Program

The Union Pacific Foundation Community Based Grant Program awards funding to non-profits and municipalities for projects to improve or enrich the quality of life in the community or improve the level of health care and health services in a community. Applicants must be in a community served by the Union Pacific Railroad. The deadline is Friday, August 14, for the preliminary applications, and Saturday, August 15, for the full application.


Keep Texas Beautiful Native Garden Grants

With funding from Keep America Beautiful and Lowe's, the Native Garden Grant program provides 12 drought-affected communities with support and materials to create and maintain a native plant demonstration garden. The program is open to Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates with Gold Star, Silver Star or Good Status in 2015 or new KTB affiliates who have applied in the past 12 months. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 8.


EPA Gulf of Mexico Program Cooperative Agreements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program Cooperative Agreements is seeking proposals for projects that address water quality improvement; coastal habitat and ecosystems enhancement, restoration and/or protection; environmental education and outreach; and strengthen community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region and its watersheds.  The deadline is Tuesday, September 15. 


Texas Parks and Wildlife Local Park Grants

Texas Parks and Wildlife is now accepting applications for the Urban Outdoor, Non-urban Outdoor, and Small Community Local Park Grant Programs. Eligible applicants include local government entities and some special districts. This is a 50% matching grant. The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 1.


Boating Access Grants

Texas Parks and Wildlife is now accepting applications for the Boating Access Program. This grant program provides 75% matching grant funds for the construction of public boat ramp facilities throughout Texas. Local government sponsors must make an application, provide the land, provide access to the proposed boat ramp, supply 25% of the development costs, and accept operation and maintenance responsibilities for at least 25 years. These funds are allocated annually through the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act. The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 1.


Recreational Trail Grants

Texas Parks and Wildlife is accepting applications for the Recreational Trail Program. This is a reimbursable grant program to cover up to 80% of project cost with a maximum of $200,000 for non-motorized trail grants and $400,000 for motorized off-highway vehicle grants. Funds can be spent on both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects that are open and accessible to the general public such as the construction of new recreational trails, to improve existing trails, to develop trailheads or trailside facilities, and to acquire trail corridors. The deadline to apply is Monday, February 1, 2016.


TCEQ Light-Duty Purchase or Lease Incentive Program

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) 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 Loan Program, the Business Loan Fund, and the Government Loan Fund.


HGALDCThe SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction and equipment purchases.Gulf Coast Economic Developmetn District Logo 


The Business Loan Fund assists small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region.

The Government Loan Fund assists local governments and school districts in the Houston-Galveston region. 

Anyone interested in applying for a loan or getting more information should contact


Mapping Applications and GIS Data

GIS GlobesIf you are looking for maps, mapping applications, or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department, visit to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more. Map Book provides maps in several formats for printing. Mobile applications are available.



find us on facebookH-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, includng 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

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