two people in a waterway picking up trash
| Announcements
H-GAC Provides Recycling Resources

Operating a recycling program today is challenging. A successful recycling operation requires a high volume of materials and proximity to a market to sell the materials because trucks, fuel, and staff can be expensive. Recycled materials are a commodity, and commodity pricing is determined by supply and demand. The downturn in global markets, especially China, and more stringent contamination standards have led to lower prices. 

Despite the current challenges, a recycling program can still provide important economic and quality of life benefits to a community. H-GAC provides a resource for communities facing these challenges. The resource includes reasons why recycling programs should continue and what communities can do to weather the storm. H-GAC can answer questions and provide technical and educational assistance. 

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

Recycle binsH-GAC to Open Application for Solid Waste Grants - March 3

H-GAC receives a portion of the money collected as tipping fees at landfills across the state as pass-through funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to fund solid waste grant projects throughout the 13-county region.
As part of this program, H-GAC will award more than $200,000 in  solid waste program grant funds to  eligible projects through a competitive process.
The grant application period will open  Tuesday, March 3. Grant applications will be due at noon Thursday, April 16. H-GAC will host a workshop on how to complete the grant application from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Thursday, March 19, at H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.  Registration is requested. 
For more information about the grant program or to be added to an e-mail list to receive future solid waste grant notifications, contact  Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

H-GALDC Logo H-GALDC Opens Applications for Community Enhancement Grants

In partnership with H-GAC, the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC)  announces the opening of the Community Enhancement Grants initiative.
This initiative aims to stimulate reinvestment and commercial activity in downtown areas and public spaces, as well as to restore and preserve the historical fabric and character of the region's communities. Awarded funds will be used to beautify and revitalize downtown and public spaces in communities across the 13-county H-GAC region via eligible improvements.
Eligible improvements include, but are not limited to, repair, replacement or new installation of gateway and wayfinding signs, streetlights, building façade improvements, fountains or sculptures, and more. Costs associated with design and/or materials and labor are eligible for funding.
For more information on this initiative and how to apply, visit or contact H-GALDC staff at .

Color blocks depicting park scenes and words Parks and Nature Areas AwardsH-GAC Announces Parks and Natural Areas Awards Winners

H-GAC recognized the winners of the 2019 Parks and Natural Areas Awards in February. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. Projects were honored in three categories: Planning Process, On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000, and On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000.

Planning Process
  • Winner-Haden Park, a project by the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Spring Branch Management District.
  • Honorable Mention-Mae S. Bruce Therapeutic Garden, a project by the City of Santa Fe.
  • Special Recognition-Alabonson Sports and Nature Complex, a project by Harris County Precinct 4.
  • Special Recognition-Alief Neighborhood Center and Park, a project by the City of Houston.
  • Special Recognition-Chrysalis Lake, a project by The Howard Hughes Corporation.
  • Special Recognition-Hermann Square at City Hall, a project by the City of Houston.
  • Special Recognition-Sustainable Wildlife Habitat Comprehensive Master Plan, a project by Timber Lane Utility District.
On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000
  • Winner-Exploration Green, a project by Clear Lake Water Authority and Exploration Green Conservancy.
  • Honorable Mention-Cullinan Park Phase 1 Improvements, a project by the City of Sugar Land.
  • Honorable Mention-Independence Park Phase 1 Renovation, a project by the City of Pearland.
  • Special Recognition-Busby Park Improvement Project, a project by the City of Houston.
  • Special Recognition-Disc Golf Course at Briscoe Park, a project by the City of Alvin.
  • Special Recognition-Founders Park in The Woodlands Hills, a project by The Howard Hughes Corporation.
  • Special Recognition-Lakeland Heights Town Square Park, a project by The Howard Hughes Corporation.
On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000
  • Winner-Dreamscape, a project by the City of Bay City.
  • Honorable Mention-Wallaroo Park, a project by Woodforest Development by Johnson Development.
  • Special Recognition-Bark Park at Countryside, a project by the City of League City.
  • Special Recognition-Stewart Beach Entrance Enhancements, a project by the Park Board of Trustees of the City of Galveston.

| Upcoming Events
brown and gold gavel on white background Solid Waste Workshop: Enforcement - March 5

H-GAC's next  Solid Waste Workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Thursday, March 5, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. Topics include rules and criminal enforcement, building a case, rural enforcement, junk vehicles and salvage yards, and illicit discharges.

H-GAC's Solid Waste Workshops focus on in-depth studies of different topics each quarter. This workshop is eligible for 3 TDLR Code Enforcement Officer continuing education units.

Online registration is requested. For more information, contact  Andrea Tantillo at 832-681-2507.

Color blocks depicting park scenes and words Parks and Nature Areas Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable - March 9

The next  Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable  will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, at H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor. Attendees will learn about the Nature and Eclectic Outdoors' Healthy Outdoor Communities initiative and Exploration Green. 
The Roundtable meets the second Monday of March, July, and September with field trips scheduled in May and November. The group is open to anyone interested in participating.  
Online registration is requested. For more information, contact  Andrea Tantillo  at 832-681-2507.

water body in the background. Road and fence in foreground Caney Creek and Linnville Bayou Watershed Bacteria Reduction Meeting - March 17

H-GAC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invite area stakeholders to help finalize a plan to reduce high concentrations of bacteria found in the Caney Creek and Linnville Bayou Watershed. The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Caney Creek Chapel, 2426 Oak Circle, Sargent.

During the meeting, participants will review and discuss a draft plan to address the bacteria in the impacted watershed. 
For more information, contact  Steven Johnston  at 832-681-2579.

GIS Expo over a drawn globe 2020 Houston Regional GIS Expo - March 25

The 2020 Houston Regional GIS Expo will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at Houston Transtar, 6922 Katy Road, Houston.

The Houston Regional GIS Expo is presented by the H-GAC Geographic Data Workgroup and Houston Transtar. The event represents GIS technologies across the 13-county H-GAC region.

The expo brings together academics, government officials, engineers, nonprofit organizations, and other practitioners who are engaged in GIS and related technologies to network and showcase their work. All proceeds raised through the Expo support the Houston Area GIS Day, an annual event for area high school students in November.

Attendance at the Expo is free, and sponsor and exhibitor spots are still available. 

More information is available at

Trash Bash - March 28

Every year, thousands of volunteers pick up trash and debris along area waterways by participating in the largest, single-day waterway cleanup in Texas, the  River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash . Join them on Saturday, March 28, for the 27th annual cleanup.
With locations across the Galveston Bay watershed, there's a cleanup location near home, work, or school. Educational areas at each site offer opportunities to learn more about protecting water quality. Participating in Trash Bash is free, with supplies, t-shirts, lunch, and door prizes provided. Scouts and students are encouraged to participate. 
Learn more about becoming a  volunteer   for Trash Bash 2020.

Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - April 28

Save the date for H-GAC's next  Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable  Tuesday, April 28, in Waller. Registration and networking begin at 9:30 a.m., with the program to follow from 10 a.m. to noon. The topic will be announced later.
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 Cheryl Mergo  at 713-993-4520.

| Partner Announcements
Connected Nation in white on a blue background Broadband Surveys Underway in Liberty, Walker and Wharton Counties
Connected Nation, through a grant provided by the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, is conducting rural broadband studies in Liberty, Walker, and Wharton counties in the region. Connected Nation is conducting surveys of residents, businesses, and organizations to gather data on their internet access and needs. If you live in Liberty, Walker, or Wharton counties, please take the survey and share the link with your friends and neighbors. Understanding internet use and needs is crucial to making the business case for expansion in rural areas. Your participation is appreciated.
Adopt a Beach logo Treasures of the Texas Coast Art Contest
The Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach program invites kindergarten-sixth grade students to participate in the annual  Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest. The purpose of this contest is to encourage young artists to learn about natural resources along the Texas coast. The deadline to enter is  Wednesday, March 4.
take care of texas written in blue with outline of Texas in green Take Care of Texas Art Contest
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is hosting the  Take Care of Texas Art Contest for kindergarten-fifth grade students to depict positive ways to help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. The deadline to enter is  Friday, March 6.

AARP Livable Communities written around bicyclists pedestrians bus and housing American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 2020 Community Challenge
The application period for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 2020 Community Challenge is now open. The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund "quick-action" projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology ("smart cities"), civic engagement and more. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 1, and all projects must be complete by Monday, November 9.
Keep Texas Beautiful written in blue and green with a green texas above Keep Texas Beautiful Awards
Each year,  Keep Texas Beautiful honors Texas communities, businesses, schools, media outlets, and individuals who work to keep the environment clean. Learn more about the  Individual and Organization Awards, the  Governor's Community Achievement Awards, and the  Youth and Educator Awards. Applications open and close at various times throughout the year.
Trash Free Texas Get Involved With Trash Free Texas
Trash Free Texas strives to keep trash out of area waterways by working with communities and organizations across the state to connect people to places that need routine litter cleanup activities. Local governments and organizations can get involved by using the  Adopt-a-Spot online interactive mapping application

| More Upcoming Events
Adopt a Beach wordmark with water icon
Save the date for Adopt-A-Beach Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 18, at various Texas beaches. This annual event by the Texas General Land Office encourages volunteers to help keep beaches clean and pristine. Since the program began in 1986, more than 529,000 volunteers have removed 9,600 tons of trash from Texas beaches. Registration and a list of cleanup locations will be available online soon.

Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green
Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Hosted by Discovery Green Conservancy in partnership with Citizens' Environmental Coalition and sponsored by Green Mountain Energy, this year's event will feature exhibits, bands, food, and speakers. The 2020 celebration supports Discovery Green's mission of providing free events that promote a healthy environment and sustainable operations. 

APA National Planning Conference
The  American Planning Association 2020 National Planning Conference will be April 25-28 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The event is the premier planning event of the year, bringing together thousands of planners, planning commissioners, appointed and elected officials, and students to discuss fresh ideas and innovative planning . Early bird pricing for registration is available through Wednesday, March 4.

DEA Prescription Drug Takeback
DEA National Takeback The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host its National Prescription Drug Take Back event in communities across the country from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25. The national event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the medications and the potential for abuse. A list of collection sites will be available on the DEA website starting  Monday, April 1.

Texas Emergency Management Conference
Shield with TEMC above a solid Texas with Texas Emergency Management Conference 2020 below Save the date for the Texas Division of Emergency Management Texas Emergency Management Conference May 18-21 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center, 900 East Market Street, San Antonio. Registration information will be available soon. The conference is seeking exhibitors and sponsors. Several hotel reservation blocks are already available.

National Regional Transportation Conference Presentation Ideas
NRTC 2020 with National Regional Transportation Conference written around it in a circle The National Regional Transportation Conference , July 28-30, in Kansas City, Missouri, welcomes regional transportation planners, mobility professionals, state DOT representatives, and local and private sector partners. The conference will be held in conjunction with the National Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) Forum, July 29 - 31. Professionals are invited to submit presentation ideas for successful practices, lessons learned, or issues of regional or community interest to your region or community by Thursday, March 12. 

EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference
United State Environmental Protection Agency The EPA Region 6, in partnership with the City of New Orleans, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), and States in Region 6, is hosting the 22nd Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference August 9-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference provides participants national, regional and state updates on water regulations and policy, as well as information and education on stormwater controls, water conservation management practices, and new technologies that can address stormwater pollution discharges to surface waters. This event provides valuable networking opportunities to exchange thoughts, concepts, experiences, and knowledge about water quality, water resources, and sustainable practices. Early registration is $300 through Monday, June 1.

| Funding Sources
Funding Opportunities

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.

| More Information and Programs
Mapping Applications
Looking for interactive applications or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department? Visit H-GAC's interactive applications web page.

H-GAC has a Facebook page where information about current and upcoming events is posted. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, including Recycling, Trash Bash, Regional Data Lab, Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG), and West Fork Watersheds Partnership.

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