Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Recycling Star words over bird with blue star and yellow sunburst background
Elementary School Recycling Books, Stickers Available

H-GAC offers a printable,16-page activity book for children with recycling-themed puzzles and activities. The book for early elementary includes word search games, mazes, connect the dots, and coloring pages. The book for late elementary includes word search games, mazes, math mashups, and secret code deciphering. Answer pages are included in both books. Coordinating stickers are also available.
The books can be printed from the website. Books and stickers can be picked up at the H-GAC offices with advance notice. Contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410 for more information or to request printed books and stickers.

female pedestrian walking on a sidewalk
H-GAC Adds Regional Sidewalk Layer to GIS Datasets

H-GAC recently created the region's first geographic information system (GIS) dataset of sidewalks across Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.

The GIS layer shows where sidewalks are present, and the data are available to the public.

For more information and to access the GIS layer, contact Clint McManus.

Upcoming Events
Parks and Natural Areas Logo with stylized tree H-GAC logo swing bird water and soccer ball
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable - March 11

The next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, at H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor.
Speakers include:
  • Dominic Cashiola, automation tools for parks and natural areas
  • Mike McMahan, Harris County Precinct 3, John Paul Landing Park (PNA award winner)
  • Joey Kaspar, H-GAC staff update
The PNA Roundtable serves as a forum for discussion of issues related to parks and natural areas, promotes the PNA Award Program, and maintains a regional inventory of parks. The PNA roundtable facilitates information exchange and planning efforts between various stakeholders and collaborators to protect and preserve parks and natural areas across the region.

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

Upper Oyster Creek
Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meeting - March 12

H-GAC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invite area stakeholders to a meeting to discuss creating a plan to reduce high concentrations of bacteria found in Oyster Creek (Basin 11) from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at the Brazoria County Library-Lake Jackson, 250 Circle Way, Lake Jackson. Participants will hear information on sources of bacteria and will discuss forming committees to consider options to reduce bacteria and developing plans to act on those options.

Bacteria concentrations above the state's water quality standards for contact recreation pose a potential risk to people coming into contact with water through fishing, swimming or wading. H-GAC needs input from local governments, permit holders, and residents to successfully develop plans to reduce these high bacteria concentrations.
For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

globe with GIS Expo written across it
Houston Regional GIS Expo - March 28

The 2019 Houston Regional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Expo will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Houston Transtar, 6922 Katy Road, Houston.

The Houston Regional GIS Expo is presented by H-GAC's Geographic Data Workgroup and Houston Transtar. The event represents GIS technologies across a 13-county area of Southeast Texas.

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

The Expo is free to attend, and sponsor, exhibitor, and speaker spots are still available.  For more information, visit .

young boy picking up trash at Trash Bash
Trash Bash - March 30

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30. All volunteers get a t-shirt, lunch, cleanup supplies, chances to win door prizes, and opportunities to learn more about preventing water pollution.
Watch a 30-second promotional video or visit the Trash Bash website to find out how to volunteer at one of 16 locations, get registration information, and donate online to support the cleanup.
Groups of 10 or more can complete a group reservation in advance. Individual registration on the day of the event is still required for each member of the group.

Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - April 23

Save the date for H-GAC's next  Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable  scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon  Tuesday, April 23.   The Texas Masonry Council will share information and resources for local communities looking to replace existing building facades or construct new masonry buildings in their downtowns. The location will be announced soon. 

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 Joey Kaspar at 713-993-4547.

Recycling Bin
Solid Waste Workshop Series on Recycling - May 16

Save the date for the next H-GAC Solid Waste Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The workshop will focus on recycling, and topics include addressing contamination and challenging markets. 

H-GAC's Solid Waste Workshop Series provides information on a variety of solid waste topics. Upcoming topics include Food Waste (August 22) and Special Waste (November 21). 

For more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
Clean Waters Initiative - May 22

Save the Date for the next Clean Waters Initiative workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 22, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. The topic will be announced soon.

The CWI program offers workshops that help local governments, landowners, and residents develop effective strategies to reduce pollution in area waterways.

For more information, contact Brian Sims at 713-993-2438.

Partner Announcements
Texas Homeowner Assistance Program Continues
General Land Office logo
Assistance may be available for homeowners whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey through the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program. Individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey may qualify for assistance through the program to repair, rehabilitate, or rebuild if they owned their home, it was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and it was their primary residence at the time of the storm, among other eligibility factors. Applications are available online or may be completed in-person. For more information, visit or call 1-844-893-8937.

Exhibitor Registration Open for Earth Day Houston
Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green logo with stylized globe in forground and outline of Houston skyline in background
Earth Day Houston, hosted by Discovery Green Conservancy in partnership with Citizens' Environmental Coalition and sponsored by Green Mountain Energy, will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14. Organizations can sign up to exhibit at this event to present their products and missions to an estimated 10,000 people at the festival at Houston's Discovery Green. Exhibitors will be on Avenida de las Americas (between Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center). The deadline to register as an exhibitor is Friday, March 15.

Scenic City Applications Due March 31
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 period ends Sunday, March 31.

Keep Texas Beautiful logo
Keep Texas Beautiful Awards Due April 2
Each year, Keep Texas Beautiful honors Texas communities, businesses, schools, media outlets, and individuals who work to keep the environment clean. Applications for the Youth and Educator Awards open Tuesday, March 5, and close Tuesday, April 2. 

Composting Council Offers National Scholarship
The Composting Council Research & Education Foundation (CCREF) application period to apply for a compost research scholarship closes Friday, April 12. The CCREF National Compost Research Scholarship program is open to all U.S. college or university students. The scholarship is $4,000 and includes an invitation to present research findings at the US Composting Council Annual Conference. The ideal candidate will have an interest in improving the compost process and the application and the utilization of finished compost to increase drought tolerance, soil nutrient content, reducing erosion and water pollution, and increasing carbon storage in soils to combat climate change.

Get Involved With Trash Free Texas
Trash Free Texas works 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 with this Adopt-a-Spot online interactive mapping application that identifies chronically-littered locations that need to be adopted and matching those spots with volunteers to keep them cleaned up. For more information about getting submitting new spots or adopting a spot in the Houston-Galveston region, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.
More Upcoming Events
Galveston Bay Foundation Logo
Galveston Bay Foundation Native Plants Gardening Workshop Series 
The Galveston Bay Foundation will host a workshop series to gather input on what is an acceptable list of plants based on different ecological regions in the Houston-area with the goal of developing a "Native Plants Gardening Toolkit for Non-Gardeners." The first workshop in the series will be a forum for nurseries and landscapers in the region and will be an opportunity to discuss the information, programs, and services offered by private businesses and non-profit organizations to residents of the region. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, March 14, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. RSVP by March 7 is requested by emailing Ted Driscoll.

EIH Surface Water Quality Monitoring Techniques Course
Environmental Institute of Houston logo
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.

Urban Land Institute UrbanPlan Session 
Urban Land Institute Houston will host an UrbanPlan session at its Urban Marketplace on Wednesday, March 27, at the Marriott Marquis on Walker Street in downtown Houston. UrbanPlan for public officials and local decision makers is an interactive dialogue about the fundamental forces that affect the built environment and the leadership roles played by elected and appointed officials. The workshop enables public officials to better understand the tradeoffs and risks in the entitlement and negotiation process associated with land use, particularly in public/private partnerships. Registration is required.

Texas Emergency Management Conference 
TDEM logo
The Texas Division of Emergency Management will host the Texas Emergency Management Conference April 15 to 18 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center, 900 East Market Street, San Antonio. The conference schedule and list of workshops are posted online. A photo contest is open until Friday, March 29, for submissions. For more information, email the event organizers. Registration is $200 and is required.

Adopt a Beach logo
Save the date for Adopt-A-Beach Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 13, 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.

DEA Prescription Take Back 
DEA National Drug Take Back Logo
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 27. 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 Monday, April 1.

Trash and Marine Debris Summit
The third Houston-Galveston Regional Trash and Marine Debris Summit will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Houston Zoo. At the summit, the action plan will be reviewed, a geographic focus will be finalized, a name for the group will be determined, and data collection goals for the plan will be identified. Input from local governments, organizations, business and industry, and area residents is needed to make the plan more comprehensive and effective.  Contact for more information.
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 email  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.

Transportation Alternatives, Safe Routes to Schools Funding Programs

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announces an upcoming call for projects for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Two sources of funding will be included: Transportation Alternatives (TA) $10.6M and Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) $8.7M.

Eligible projects include sidewalks, bikeways, shared use paths, traffic calming measures, and other safety improvements for non-motorized travel.
The 2019 TA/SRTS Call for Projects will have a two-step process:
  • Preliminary Project Applications will be due in April 2019
  • Detailed Project Applications will be due in August 2019 
For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit TxDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding web page.  

Communities Connect Program Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to establish broadband infrastructure in unserved rural communities. The Community Connect Program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. State and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations are eligible to apply. Grants awarded through this program must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream, which is the speed benchmark for broadband connectivity adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. Awardees must also use their USDA funding to offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities and a community center in their proposed service area for two years. The minimum grant amount is $100,000; the maximum amount is $3 million. Applicants must be able to provide a 15 percent match on the desired grant amount. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2019. For additional information about the current application window, see the  Funding Opportunity Announcement. Applicants are also encouraged to review the Community Connect Grant Program Application Guide for Fiscal Year 2019 for details on how to complete a successful application.

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
Regional Innovation Strategies Program

The U.S. Economic Development Administration is accepting applications for this year's Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Cities, counties, and nonprofits are included in eligible applicants. The program has two separate challenges: 
  • FY19 i6 Challenge - catalyzing high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the country, the i6 Challenge awards up to $750,000 for projects that increase regional capacity to accelerate the translation of innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into products, services, companies, and jobs.
  • FY19 Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant Competition - unlocking risk capital for entrepreneurs and startups to grow, SFS grants provide up to $300,000 for projects that create, launch, or expand equity-based seed funds or that create networks and tools that enable capital to flow into high-growth startups in all parts of the United States.
The RIS Program is managed by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and more information can be found on the  RIS webpage.

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
  • Projects 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.

Additional Funding Opportunities

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.
find us on facebook
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  @HouGalvAreaCog. H-GAC's water resources program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region  @HGACwater.
All meetings scheduled at H-GAC conference rooms are at 3555 Timmons Lane, Houston, Texas .

Banner Photo: Volunteers pick up trash at the Little White Oak Bayou site during Trash Bash in 2018. Volunteers can take part in this year's clean up at 16 locations across the region.

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.