Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Upcoming Events
Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - January 22

The next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon  Tuesday, January 22.  The City of Angleton will host the meeting at the  Brazoria County Historical Museum, 100 E. Cedar, Angleton .  During this roundtable, participants will hear information on meeting building codes and regulations when renovating older buildings in downtowns. The presentation will be followed by a tour of two renovated buildings in downtown Angleton.

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

Online RSVP is requested. For more information, contact Joey Kaspar at 713-993-4547.

Public Meetings Set for 2045 RTP: Moving Our Region into Tomorrow

Learn what's next for the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan at an upcoming public meeting. H-GAC will highlight an expert panel featuring "Transportation 101: What You Need to Know." 

A list of meeting times and locations is available online. During the public meetings, expert transportation panelists will discuss future transportation projects selected from the recent 2018 Call for Projects application process. The panel will also talk about air quality and conformity initiatives and regional resiliency efforts and will discuss when the 2045 RTP draft plan will be unveiled. For more information, watch the 2045 RTP video.

Females smiling and demonstrating water quality testing using a test tube.
Texas Stream Team Training - February 15

H-GAC is planning three Texas Stream Team Phase I and II volunteer water quality monitor trainings across the region in 2019.

The first training will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, February 15, at Buffalo Bayou Partnership, 1019 Commerce Street, Houston. Registration is open and limited to 10 volunteers. Please share this information with friends and colleagues who might have an interest in becoming a volunteer water quality monitor, especially in the eastern part of Houston and Harris County.

More than 400 Texas Stream Team volunteers, including about 100 in the Houston-Galveston region, collect water quality data on lakes, rivers, and streams as part of this statewide program.

Learn more about getting involved in Texas Stream Team and sign up for the trainings  online or by contacting .

Coastal Communities Logo
Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup Meeting - February 19

Save the date for the next H-GAC Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup meeting  at 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, at Alvin Community College.

Representatives from city and county governments, schools, and community groups in Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Matagorda counties are invited to become part of the group to network with outreach and education partners and other governments about starting a conversation with residents to prevent water pollution in their communities. 

Contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410 to be added to the contact list for this group. 

Parks and Natural Areas logo with a tree h-gac logo swing bird water and soccer ball
H-GAC Announces Parks, Natural Areas Award Winners

H-GAC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Parks and Natural Areas Awards. Projects are honored in three categories: Planning Process, Projects Over $500,000, and Projects Under $500,000.

Planning Process
City of Sugar Land Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (City of Sugar Land)
Honorable Mention:  
League City Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan 
(City of League City)
Special Recognition: 

Bay City Parks Master Plan (City of Bay City)

Dragonfly Park (Howard Hughes Corporation) 

The Gene and Loretta Russell Park Master Plan (City of Baytown - Parks & Recreation) 

Projects Over $500,000
Harris County John Paul Landing Park (Harris County Precinct 3)
Honorable Mention:  
Quintana Beach County Park Discovery Event Center (Brazoria County Parks Department)
Special Recognition:

Baytown ADA Boat Ramp and Kayak Launch Renovations (City of Baytown - Parks & Recreation) 

Juan Seguin Historical Park (Harris County Precinct 2)

Mayfield Park (City of Sugar Land) 

Projects Under $500,000
Spring Creek Nature Trail (Bayou Land Conservancy)

More information about the Parks and Natural Areas Awards , including a list of past winners, is available online.

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

A light breakfast will be served. Online registration is requested. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the H-GAC program showcase at 9 a.m. The awards program will be followed by networking with H-GAC staff and other parks professionals.

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

Solid Waste Workshop Series - Scheduled Through 2019

H-GAC's Solid Waste Program's past roundtable-style meetings will now be presented as a  Solid Waste Workshop Series . This format will offer a more in-depth look at select solid waste topics. All workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B/C, Second Floor, 3555 Timmons Lane, Houston.
Dates for the 2019 Solid Waste Workshop Series:
  • Thursday, February 21 - Environmental Enforcement
  • Thursday, May 16 - Recycling
  • Thursday, August 15 - Food Waste
  • Thursday, November 21 - Special Waste
Registration and more information about the workshops will be available online.
For more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
Clean Waters Initiative - February 26

The H-GAC Clean Waters Initiative Workshop Series returns on Tuesday, February 26. The tentative topic is funding sources for water and wastewater-related infrastructure. Registration will open soon.

Clean Waters Initiative offers workshops that help local governments, landowners, and residents develop effective strategies to reduce pollution in area waterways.

Additional dates in the series for 2019 are Wednesday, May 22; Wednesday, August 21; and Wednesday, November 20. All workshops will begin at 10 a.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

Contact Brian Sims at 713-993-2438 for more information.

Official Trash Bash Logo
Trash Bash - March 30

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30.  There are 16 locations , including a new site in Lake Jackson. Visit the Trash Bash website to find out where to volunteer, get registration information, donate online to support the cleanup, and much more.

Groups of 10 or more can complete a group reservation to let the site coordinator know in advance - individual registration on the day of the event is still required for each member of the group. All volunteers get a t-shirt, lunch, cleanup supplies, chances to win door prizes, and opportunities to learn more about preventing water pollution.

Regional Demographic Snapshot screenshot
H-GAC Updates Regional Demographic Snapshot

The Socioeconomic Modeling team at H-GAC updated the Regional Demographic Snapshot tool with recently released US Census American Community Survey Data (2013-2017 5-year estimate). 

The tool provides easy access to demographic data at different geographic levels including counties, cities, independent school districts, census tracts, Zip codes, and Census Block Groups.

For advanced queries visit the Demographic Data Explorer.

WISE Awards logo with water droplet styled to resemble an owl
Submit WISE Awards Application Online Beginning January 7

H-GAC will accept Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards applications from Monday, January 7, through Thursday, February 7.
The WISE Awards are a new initiative honoring innovative strategies and projects in the Houston-Galveston region that serve as models for improving water quality in four categories: Planning and Policy; Education and Public Awareness; Built Project (Greater than $500k); and Built Project (Less than $500k). Winning projects must exhibit efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation.

For more information, visit or e-mail Kathy Janhsen .

job to job flows in the houston metropolitan area
H-GAC Releases 
Job-to-Job Flows Interactive Report and Tool

The Socioeconomic Modeling team at H-GAC developed a new interactive report and tool that identifies the Houston Metropolitan Area's labor mobility across industries and geographies. 

The report provides insights to the changing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the region's population. The application is based on The Job-to-Job Flow Data ( J2J data ) produced by the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics ( LEHD ) Program of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Ad for Hurricane Harvey homeowner assistance from the Texas General Land office. All information provided in text
General Land Office Opens Homeowner Assistance Program

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

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

Partner Announcements
Neighborhoods, USA Annual Awards Competition
NUSA logo with abstract american flag
Applications are now open for the Neighborhoods, USA 2019 Awards Competition honoring neighborhood efforts and initiatives. Applications are being accepted for Neighborhood of the Year, Best Neighborhood Program, Neighborhood Newsletter, and Who's Who in America's Neighborhoods. The application deadline is Friday, February 1. More information, including application guidelines and fees, is available online.
Scenic City Applications Available
H-GAC and Scenic Texas support vibrant, healthy communities across the state. Partnering with Scenic Texas and other agencies to form the Scenic City Certification Program
has been a natural fit for H-GAC. See the full roster of certified Scenic Cities and review program requirements by exploring The 2019 application is now available for review, and the 2019 application period is January 1-March 31.

Recycle Mania Logo
RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Competition
RecycleMania, a collegiate recycling competition, kicks off in February 2019, and registration is open now.

Keep Texas Beautiful Awards
Keep Texas Beautiful logo
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 are due in February and April.
More Upcoming Events
Audubon Christmas Bird Count
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count
 continues through Saturday, January 5. Organized by the National Audubon Society, this global, all-volunteer effort collects data on local bird populations. Individual counts are open to birders of all levels, and there is no fee to participate. Several  events are scheduled across the region.

The  Environmental Finance Center Network is hosting two free webinars for small water systems. Water Loss Monitoring: Navigating AWWA's Infrastructure Leakage Index is Tuesday, January 15, and  How to Manage Grants is Thursday, January 17. Both webinars are from noon to 1 p.m.

HARC, GBEP Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area Webinar
Houston Advanced Research Center logo
Houston Advanced Research Center and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program Invasive Species Working Group are hosting a webinar presentation by Cheryl Millett, leader of the Heartland Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area in D
eSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties in central Florida. The webinar will be from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, January 22. Webinar details will be emailed early January, and the webinar will be recorded.  For more information, contact Dr. Erin Kinney or Lindsey Lippert. The webinar will inform plans for launching a Galveston Bay regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area at a workshop on Wednesday, January 30.

CEC logo
Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour
The Citizens' Environmental Coalition will host the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour on January 30 and 31. The two-night event will be at the River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray Street, Houston.

Environmental Institute of Houston logo
EIH Surface Water Quality Monitoring Techniques Course
The Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake is offering a two-part training course focusing on surface water quality monitoring techniques. This course will cover methods and protocols outlined in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Surface Water Quality Monitoring guidelines.  The partial course (March 18) will cover fundamental techniques for water quality and hydrological monitoring. The full course (March 18-21) will cover additional techniques and protocols. Each course day will consist of classroom and field-based instruction. Registration closes Monday, March 4. For more information, email or call 281-283-3950.
Funding Sources
Installing an OSSF
H-GAC Wastewater Assistance Program Helps Homeowners

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

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

AirCheck Logo
Financial Assistance Available Through AirCheck Texas

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

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

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

EPA Logo
EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Small Grants Program  provides funding directly to community-based organizations for projects that help residents of underserved communities understand and address local environmental and public health issues. 

Projects should engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. 

Applications are due Friday, February 15 .

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

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

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

NFL grassroots logo with illustration of football
NFL Foundation Grassroots Program

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

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

Rural Utilities Service Water & Environmental Programs

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

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

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

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

US Economic Development Administration logo
EDA Harvey Recovery Grants

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

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

Tree with $ Money
H-GAC has compiled a list of  local, regional, state, federal, and private funding sources for local governments and other organizations. H-GAC also maintains a list of ongoing funding opportunities for parks improvements.

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

All content, including links to websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.
Community and Environmental Planning Programs
GIS Globes
Mapping Applications
Looking for interactive applications or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department? Visit H-GAC's interactive applications web page to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more.
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H-GAC has a Facebook page where information about current and upcoming events is posted. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, including  Recycling, Trash Bash, Regional Data LabBacteria Implementation Group (BIG), West Fork Watersheds Partnership, and  Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

Twitter Logo
Find the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter feed  @hgaccog. H-GAC's water resources program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region  @HGACwater.
Banner Photo: Spring Creek Nature Trail, winner of a 2018 Parks and Natural Areas award.

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