March 2015 Banner - Volunteers collect trash at Moody Park during Trash Bash 2014.       
 March 2015
In This Issue
Trash Bash® is March 28
Texas Stream Team Trainings Set
Debris Management 101 Topic for Workshop
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
Focus On - Designing for Impact
Learn About In Stream Water Quality Monitoring at CWI Workshop
New Web Page Highlights Parks BMPs
New Web Page Highlights Parks BMPs
H-GAC, Huntsville Earn National Recognition for Our Great Region 2040 Case Study
Tour de Houston Rolls Out on March 15
TxDOT Announces Transportation Alternatives Program Call for Projects
Great American Cleanup Begins March 1
White Oak Spring Plant Sale to be April 11
Application Period Now Open for Scenic City Certification
Students Can Participate in Art Contests and Scholarship Competition
Texas Financing Roundtable Conference Set for April 23
Save the Date for Annual Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference in December
Federal Highway Administration Releases New Case Studies
News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Funding Opportunities
Community and Environmental Planning
News and Notes
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!
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

Volunteers pick up trash at Moody Park during Trash Bash® 2014. This year's Trash Bash® will be Saturday, March 28, at 15 sites around the region. (Photo by Jean Wright)


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.

trashbashTrash Bash® is March 28

Official Trash Bash Logo The biggest pick up in Texas isn't on four wheels. It's thousands of volunteers picking up trash, tires, and other debris at area waterways during the 22nd annual River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®.


Get ready to clean it like you mean it at the state's largest single-day shoreline cleanup event on Saturday, March 28, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Volunteers get free food, t-shirts, educational games, and entertainment at 15 sites across the region.


Learn more online or find event updates on Facebook.

Texas Stream Team Trainings Set

Texas Stream Team Logo Texas Stream Team (TST) is offering two training opportunities in March and April. The first training will be Saturday, March 14, at the Missouri City Park and Recreation Center, 2701 Cypress Point Drive, Missouri City. The second training will be Saturday, April 18, at Jesse Jones State Park and Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble. Both classes will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will cover Phase I and II TST training.


TST is a network of trained volunteers who collect water quality information. Volunteers must complete three phases of training. Phase I is an introduction and hands-on classroom instruction. Phase II is in the field and involves a discussion of field observations and practice of the monitoring procedures in the outdoor environment. Phases I and II are generally all-day training sessions. Phase III is a one-on-one session with a trainer at the volunteer's proposed monitoring site.


For more information and to register for an upcoming training, contact Will Merrell at 713-993-4594


Debris Management 101 Topic for Workshop

Storm Debris H-GAC's series of debris management workshops kicks off Thursday, March 26, with Debris Management 101. The workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


This workshop will serve as a refresher course on general debris operations. It is also a great way to provide new debris managers with an overview of debris operations through a time delineated process from debris planning through final closeout. The workshop will also highlight the following topics:  

  • Recent guidance changes related to animal carcasses
  • Health and safety planning in debris operations
  • Pre-event debris preparedness strategies to maximize efficiency
  • FEMA's recent study on the Public Assistance Process

Refreshments for this workshop are sponsored by Phillips & Jordan.


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:

  • Disaster Debris and the Whole Community
    Tuesday, April 28
  • Appeals Strategy and Stamina
    Wednesday, May 20
  • Advanced Technology in Disaster Debris Management
    Tuesday, June 23

More information is available online.

Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping establish 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 - Designing for Impact

  Focus on Designing for Impact           

Through Designing for Impact, H-GAC is working to promote and educate the public, designers, developers and environmental stakeholders on the many benefits of implementing Low Impact Development  (LID) practices in all types of development projects and ecologic areas. As part of the project, H-GAC is launching a new web page featuring more information about LID and its benefits.


The web page also includes an interactive mapping tool highlighting LID practices across the 13-county H-GAC region. Users can simply click on a site on the map to learn more about the features and benefits of the practices and see photos from the specific project. People using the map can also submit information about other LID projects not currently mapped. 


LID is an alternative method to developing and redeveloping land that works with nature to capture and disperse stormwater as close to its source as possible. Rather than sending stormwater to a system of storm drain pipes, LID works to distribute stormwater across a project site to restore groundwater supply. LID techniques are proven to decrease development and infrastructure expenditures, reduce operations and maintenance costs, and enhance the marketability of projects.


Learn About In Stream Water Quality Monitoring at CWI Workshop

Clean Waters Initiative Logo

The next Clean Waters Initiative Workshop will be Wednesday, April 1, at 3 p.m., following the Basin Steering Committee meeting, in H-GAC Conference Rooms B and C, Second Floor.


The topic of the workshop is In Stream Water Quality Monitoring. H-GAC, the City of Houston and Environmental Institute of Houston (EIH) will discuss their current projects, special projects, investigations, reporting, lessons learned, and notable results.

Registration information will be available online in early March. For more information, contact Jean Wright at 713-499-6660.

New Web Page Highlights Parks BMPs

Go Native - 2014 Parks Award WinnerAs communities grow and change, the role of parks and greenspaces has evolved into a more complex element of urban and rural landscapes.


H-GAC has launched a new web page featuring best management practices (BMPs) which can be used in the development and improvement of parks in the Houston-Galveston region. The information is a synthesis of BMPs employed in parks and greenspaces around the United States and can be viewed as a successful park's toolkit, used to address park creation and improvement in the realm of planning, design, maintenance, and programming.


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

Regional Transportation Plan Focuses on Maintaining, Improving Transportation Systems

As the H-GAC region adds three to four million residents over the next 25 years, existing transportation funding resources do not support the levels of investment necessary to supply adequate mobility and accessibility in the future. The 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) provides a responsible guide for maintaining and improving the current transportation system and identifies priority transportation investments. This is the latest update to a continuous planning process involving the eight central counties of the 13-county H-GAC region.

The recommended investments in the plan total approximately $75 billion in 2015 dollars. Based on the Plan goals, performance outcomes and investment strategies, most of this funding supports ongoing maintenance, replacement and operation of existing transportation infrastructure and services.

As part of the 2040 RTP planning process there was a robust public outreach campaign stretching across three years and throughout the region. This included public meetings, open houses, television and video presentations, radio interviews, and many valuable discussions with key partner agencies and transportation stakeholders. Overall, more than 60 events were held and approximately 3,000 instances of public input have been documented.


The RTP is available online.

H-GAC, Huntsville Earn National Recognition for Our Great Region 2040 Case Study

Our Great Region 2040 Cover Harnessing Huntsville's Potential, an economic case study conducted as part of the development of the Our Great Region 2040 plan, is the recipient of a 2015 National Merit Award for Outstanding Small Town or Rural Plan from the American Planning Association's Small Town and Rural Planning (STaR) Division.


Our Great Region 2040 is a high-level plan that presents big ideas and proposes strategies to move the H-GAC region toward achieving the vision of being one of the world's greatest places to live, work, and succeed by the year 2040. During the development of the plan, six case studies were selected from a variety of entities to examine overarching issues of regional importance. Together, they provide a tool box of actions and practices that can be used by other communities across the region as they respond to similar challenges and opportunities. Case studies were conducted in Bay City, Brazoria County, along Cypress Creek Greenway, Galveston, Houston, and Huntsville.

Harnessing Huntsville's Potential
outlines a strategy for the city to capitalize on development opportunities where land is available. The study also provides a clear framework for addressing other priority issues, such as creating affordable housing options; increasing and diversifying the labor pool; and promoting business development, retention, and expansion. Learn more about the case study here.

Tour de Houston Rolls Out on March 15

Tour de Houston LogoThe 2015 Tour de Houston bike ride presented by Apache Corporation will be Sunday, March 15, at Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston. Ride through Houston with Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Texas State Senator Rodney Eillis.


Three distance options include a 60-mile route starting at 7:30 a.m., a 40-mile route at 8 a.m. and a 20-mile route at 8:30 a.m.


Registration is $40 for adults and $20 for children under 12. The deadline to register online is March 13. Funds benefit the RE-Plant Houston Program managed by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department through the Houston Parks Board.


More information, including registration details, is available online.

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.

Great American Cleanup Begins March 1 With Don't mess With Texas Trash Off on 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: The Woodlands, Saturday, March 28; 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. Missouri City will also host a Trash-Off event on Saturday, March 31.


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

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.

Application Period Now Open for Scenic City Certification

Scenic City Logo

The Scenic City Certification Program, a project of Scenic Texas in cooperation with H-GAC, Texas Municipal League and several additional partners, is accepting 2015 applications through Tuesday, March 31.

The program supplies cities an objective review of existing infrastructure ordinances for public roadways and public spaces, evaluated against the Scenic City model. Assessment is points-based, with every applicant receiving a detailed, scored evaluation.

Cities earning the highest points are certified for five years. Currently there are 52 certified Scenic Cities in Texas, including nine in the H-GAC region: Friendswood, Houston, Missouri City, Pearland, Sealy, Seabrook, Sugar Land, Webster, and West University Place.

More information is available online.

Students Can Participate in Art Contests and Scholarship Competition

Crayons in a circleTake Care of Texas and Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) are looking for student artwork focusing on keeping Texas' environment clean for future generations. 

Open to all K-5 students in Texas, the Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest is looking for artwork depicting how the students, along with their friends and families, can help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. One grand-prize winner will receive a Samsung laptop, and 15 students will win a Samsung tablet. The contest begins Monday, January 5, and artwork must be received by Friday, March 6.

Don't mess with Texas and KTB are teaming up for the second annual Don't mess with Texas Elementary School Art Contest. Students in K-5 are invited to submit original artwork promoting litter prevention and keeping Texas beautiful. The top 12 designs will be included in the 2016 Don't mess with Texas calendar, and each winner will receive an iDea USA 8-inch tablet. All entries must be received by Saturday, April 18.

Don't mess with Texas is also encouraging high school seniors to take part in the college scholarship competition. The Don't mess with Texas Scholarship is open to any Texas high school senior planning to attend a two or four year accredited Teas college. The deadline to apply is Saturday, April 4.

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 Galvetson. CATEE 2015 is a premiere educational conference and energy-related business expo aimed at local government, 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.  

Federal Highway Administration Releases New Case Studies

Climate Adaptation LogoThe Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is highlighting climate change adaptation and resilience work in the transportation sector through a new case studies series. The first set of these new resources are now available on FHWA's website.


Over 100 additional case studies will be added in the coming months.


FHWA funded the development of the case studies under a cooperative agreement with the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC), and these resources will also be available through the GCC's Adaptation Clearinghouse.

News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logoApply for EPA's Environmental Educator Award by March 13

EPA, in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. This award recognizes K through 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for student learning. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, March 13. Winning teachers receive up to $2,500 to further their professional development in environmental education. Apply for the award here.


Follow @EPAJustice for Enforcement News

EPA recently launched a new Twitter account, @EPAJustice, that features news, information and tools from EPA's enforcement and compliance programs. Join the conversation about how the EPA is helping communities and leveling the playing field for companies and others that follow the law by following @EPAJustice here.


H2Otel Challenge Continues to Encourage Water Savings
The WaterSense program is continuing its H2Otel Challenge in 2015, encouraging hotels to assess, change and track their water use using best management practices. To date, 800 hotels have pledged to tackle projects throughout their properties that can improve H2Otel water efficiency and performance while providing the highest quality experience for guests. To spread the word, EPA is encouraging WaterSense partners to join a Recruiting Rally from Feb. 1 to June 1 to get hotels to sign up for the Challenge. The promotional partner that recruits the most hotels to sign up for the Challenge during that time period will be rewarded with free technical assistance. Hotels will gain access to a wide range of free tools to help them start saving water, energy and operating costs. WaterSense will also offer outreach materials for hotels to publicize their efforts and celebrate their successes with guests and employees. More information is available here.


fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental InvestigatorWaterSMART: Development of Feasibility Studies for Water Reclamation and Reuse 

The U.S. Department of Interior is seeking applications for funding to develop feasibility studies under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for Fiscal Year 2015. This funding opportunity for communities which may be seeking new sources of water supplies using water recycling and reuse technologies. Funding made available will assist communities in determining whether water recycling and reuse projects are feasible. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, March 3, 2015.


EDA 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 the deadline of one of the following funding cycles: Cycle 2 by March 12, 2015, and Cycle 3 by June 12, 2015.


Foam Recycling Equipment Grant  

The Foam Recycling Coalition has launched a new grant program which will pay for equipment needed to process post-consumer expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service packaging, egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging used for shipping fragile items. Applications must be submitted by Monday, March 16, 2015. 


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.


Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program

The Texas Water Development Board provides low interest financial assistance for planning, design, and construction of wastewater infrastructure. Eligible participants include cities, counties, districts, river authorities, other public bodies and private entities proposing nonpoint source or estuary management projects. Loan applications will be accepted from December 1 through March 1 each year.


Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Loan Program

The Texas Water Development Board provides low interest financial assistance for planning, design and construction of water infrastructure. Eligible participants include publicly and privately owned community public water systems, including non-profit water supply corporations and non-profit, non-community public water systems. Loan applications will be accepted from December 1 through March 1 each year.


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.

Funding Sources Associated with the Gulf Restoration for the BP Oil Spill
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Fund - This funding source was created under the authority of the Oil Pollution Act for early Gulf Coast restoration. Gulf restoration-related projects can currently be added to the NRDA list of projects for potential funding.

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund - This funding source was created out of the criminal settlements associated with the BP Oil Spill. 


Sugar Land Legacy Foundation

The Sugar Land Legacy Foundation is a private non-profit organization that was established in 2010 to create a vehicle for sustainable charitable and planned donations for parks and civic facilities in Sugar Land. This includes capital projects and funds supporting activities for recreation, entertainment, sports, the arts, or similar activities that might benefit the citizens of Sugar Land. More information is available online.


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


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 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

Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777