Keeping you up to date on the community planning, economic development,
and environmental planning programs at H-GAC.
Your Monthly News & Updates
Man picking up trash in front of waterbody
Almost 57 Tons of Trash Removed from Waterways at 2019 Trash Bash

Nearly 4,300 volunteers cleaned 153 miles of shoreline at 16 locations, collecting more than 56 tons of trash and 513 illegally dumped tires at the 26th consecutive River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash on March 30. After picking up trash, volunteers enjoyed educational exhibits to learn more about other common sources of water pollution.  

Since 1994, almost 114,000 volunteers have cleaned up 2,331 tons of trash and 11,578 tires from waterways in the Galveston Bay watershed.  

Save the date to join thousands of volunteers on Saturday, March 28, 2020, for the next Trash Bash. Learn more about Trash Bash and donate online.

WISE Awards logo with water droplet styled to resemble an owl
H-GAC Announces Inaugural WISE Awards Winners, Ceremony

H-GAC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards. The WISE Awards recognize innovative strategies and projects in the Houston-Galveston region that serve as models for improving water quality.

  • Winner of the Built Project (Less than $500K) Category - Bioswale Demonstration Project, Harris County Flood Control District
  • Winner of the Built Project (More than $500K) Category - Harris County Precinct 4 Service Center, Harris County Precinct 4
  • Winner of the Planning and Policy Category - Houston Parks Riparian Restoration Plan, City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Winner of the Education and Public Awareness Category - Galveston Bay Action Network, Galveston Bay Foundation
In addition to the four named categories, H-GAC recognizes the following projects for:
  • Effective Use of Natural Pollution Mitigation Measures - The Port of Houston Tree & Riparian Enhancement of Ecosystem Services Program, Houston Wilderness
  • Innovative Approach for New Development - Bridgeland Creek Parkway Sections Seven and Eight, The Howard Hughes Corporation
  • Positive Integration of Amenities in Planning - City of Mont Belvieu Supplemental Detention Criteria, City of Mont Belvieu
  • Proactive Planning & Leadership - Sugar Land Integrated Water Resource Plan, City of Sugar Land
  • Robust Community Involvement -Bayport Berm Planting, Port of Houston Authority, Port Houston
Winners and special recognition recipients will be honored during a ceremony on Friday, May 17, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the ceremony will start at 9 a.m. Light refreshments will be served. Following the ceremony, there will be an opportunity to network with H-GAC staff and other water quality professionals.
Online registration is requested . For additional information, contact Kathy Janhsen .

May is National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, and National Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17. However, some organizations choose a different day that works best for their residents or employees.

As population and congestion increase, finding alternative ways to get to work is critical for the region. In the Houston-Galveston region, 25 percent of people live within 5 miles of their workplaces, an ideal distance for bicycling. Adults who regularly bicycle have a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Bike Month is a great opportunity to explore biking to other destinations like coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, schools, and when visiting your friends and family members.

Upcoming Events
Parks and Natural Areas Logo with stylized tree H-GAC logo swing bird water and soccer ball
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable Field Trip - May 9

H-GAC's Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable field trip will be from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 9, at Levy Park, 3801 Eastside, Houston.
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 who is interested in participating.

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

Basin 13 Map
Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meeting - May 9

H-GAC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invite area stakeholders to help create a plan to reduce high concentrations of bacteria found in the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin. The meeting for Caney Creek/Linville Bayou (Basin 13) will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Caney Creek Chapel, 2477 County Road 297, Sargent.

During the meeting, participants will discuss sources of bacteria and bacteria reduction measures and will continue to develop a plan to be used to address the bacteria in the impacted watershed.

For more information, contact Steven Johnston at 832-681-2579.

Debris from Hurricane Ike
Disaster Debris Series Webinar -
May 15

H-GAC will host a Disaster Debris Series webinar from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. The webinar, guided by a multimedia presentation, will focus on activities that can assist jurisdictions in being prepared to respond to and recover from a disaster debris generating incident including:
  • Identification and evaluation of debris management sites
  • Creation of a list of priority facilities and roads for road clearing
  • Establishment of prepositioned contracts for debris hauling and monitoring services
  • Development and maintenance of disaster debris management plans
The webinar will provide participants the opportunity to discuss activities they have undertaken to better prepare for disaster debris operations. Registration is required to access the webinar.

Save the date for the Disaster Debris Series Workshop on Friday, August 16. Registration information will be available in early June.

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

Pile of recyclables
Solid Waste Workshop Series on Recycling - May 16

H-GAC's  Solid Waste Workshop Series continues 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.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is offering three CEUs for SWANA-certified attendees of this workshop. Forms and instructions will be available at the conclusion of the workshop.

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). 
RSVP is requested. For more information, contact  Becki Begley  at 713-993-2410.

Clean Waters Initiative Logo
Clean Waters Initiative - May 22

The next Clean Waters Initiative workshop will be 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.

Texas Clean Rivers Logo
Annual Basin Steering Committee Meeting - May 22

The annual Clean Rivers Program Basin Steering Committee meeting will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at H-GAC, Conference Room B, Second Floor.

Presentations include the roll out of the 2019 Basin Highlights Report and update on the Clean Rivers Program monitoring program and the Texas Stream Team volunteer monitoring program. Participants will also discuss strategic r monitoring for targeted projects and special studies.

For more information, contact Todd Running at 713-993-4539. RSVP is requested to  Jean Wright.

Coastal Communities Logo
Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup Meeting - May 23

The next H-GAC Coastal Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup meeting will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Brazoria County Library, 401 E Cedar Street, Angleton.

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. Participants can 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. 

Upper Oyster Creek
Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meeting - May 23

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 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Brazoria County Library, 401 E Cedar Street, Angleton. 

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.

BIG logo
BIG Spring Meeting - June 4

Save the Date for the  Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG)  spring meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor. 
Topics will include the BIG Implementation Plan (I-Plan) revisions and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) updates.

For more information, contact 
Steven Johnston  at 832-681-2579.

Green Infrastructure for Texas with stormwater management screen shots
Managing Stormwater Workshop - June 12

H-GAC and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will host a free stormwater workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the John Hargrove Environmental Complex, 5800 Magnolia Street, Pearland. Managing Our Stormwater from Gutter to Stream will cover nature-based techniques to clean and conserve stormwater for people and wildlife at any scale: backyard to urban/suburban/industrial to regional.

This workshop is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension's Green Infrastructure for Texas program.

Registration is required.

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

H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 23.  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.

Partner Announcements
Texas Homeowner Assistance Program Continues
General Land Office logo
Individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey may qualify for assistance through the Texas Homeowner Assistance 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 for the Homeowner Assistance Program take approximately 30 minutes to complete.   Applications are available online or may be completed in-person. For more information, visit  or call 1-844-893-8937.

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 locations that are littered frequently and need to be adopted and matching those spots with volunteers to keep them cleaned up. For more information about submitting new spots or adopting a spot in the Houston-Galveston region, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410.

Texas Recreation and Parks Education and Funding Initiative 
Texas Parks and Recreation Society seal
Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS), GameTime, and PlayCore are partnering to promote community health and wellness throughout Texas through an  Education and Funding Initiative. Parks professionals are invited to write a 1000- to 2000-word essay describing their communities and playground needs by Tuesday, May 7. Five awardees will receive a playground structure. TRAPS will also host a workshop for parks and recreation professionals, education professionals, planning and design professionals, and community partners to learn about current trends and research-based best practices for play and recreation destinations. 

STAR Summit Exhibitor, Sponsor Packets Available
State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) 2019 Summit exhibitor and sponsor packets are available for the annual conference set for September 9-11 in San Antonio. Approximately 200 to 300 professionals representing private sector companies, governments, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations attend the summit each year. The summit features educational sessions, equipment demonstrations, roundtable discussions, and training opportunities. Early exhibitor prices include discounted conference registrations. Various levels of sponsorships are available.
More Upcoming Events
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. Please RSVP by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, to be included in the lunch order information. 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.  Visit for more information.

Galveston Bay Foundation Logo
Galveston Bay Foundation Rain Barrel Workshops
The Galveston Bay Foundation is hosting a series of rain barrel workshops Saturdays, May 11, June 15, and July 13. Registration is $35 and includes admission to the workshops, a 35-gallon rain barrel, and a RainRecycle connector kit. For more information, including locations, visit

Texas A&M Forest Service Vegetative Controls Workshop
Texas A-M Forest Service Logo
The Texas A&M Forest Service will present Achieving Vegetative Controls Goals workshop from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Jones State Forest, 1328 FM 1488, Conroe. Landowners can learn more about forest health management, woodland aesthetics, wildlife enhancement, and wildfire prevention. The event is free; however, registration is required. For more information, contact Conner Murnane at 936-273-2261.

Harris County Precinct 2 Storm Surge Initiatives Public Meeting
Harris County Precinct 2 logo
Harris County Precinct 2 and partners will host a public meeting Wednesday, May 15, to discuss storm surge initiatives. The meeting will be at San Jacinto College-Central Campus, Music Building (Corbin Hall), 8060 Spencer Highway, Pasadena, Texas. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Participants can learn and provide feedback about Houston-Galveston storm surge and prevention initiatives.

Texas Citizen Planner Training
Texas Citizen Planner logo
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is offering a Texas Citizen Planner training to emphasize integrating hazard mitigation approaches with local planning practices. The day and a half event will be June 4 and 5, at the Galveston County Extension Office (inside Carbide Park), 4102-B Main Street, La Marque.
 The project is funded in part by a Texas Coastal Management Program Grant approved by the Texas Land Commissioner pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA18NOS4190153. For information, contact Celina Gauthier Lowry at 281-560-3970.
News and Notes
Cover screen shot from Westchase District Livable Centers study with district logo and triangle-shaped images and color blocks
Livable Centers Study Receives Landscape Architecture Award

The Westchase Livable Centers Study received the Merit Award for the Planning and Analysis Category from the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (TX ASLA). This award recognizes the wide variety of professional activities that lead to, guide, or evaluate landscape architectural design.

Completed in 2018 by the Westchase Management District, Asakura Robinson, and H-GAC, the Westchase Livable Centers Study provides recommendations that guide future land use and transportation investments east of Beltway 8, including adding a mixed-use pedestrian corridor, improving the district's bike network through new connections, and developing housing options. More information about the Westchase Livable Centers Study is available online.

H-GAC's Livable Centers program works with local communities to identify specific recommendations, such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, that can help create places where people can live, work, and play with less reliance on their cars.

Congratulations to Area Communities, Student for Awards

Governors Community Achievement Awards framed by laurels
Congratulations to the City of Dickinson for winning first place in Category 5 of the  2019 Governor's Community Achievement Awards by Keep Texas Beautiful, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This year, the City of Dickinson and nine other winning communities across the state will share $2 million in landscaping awards from TxDOT, with the amount based on population size. The funds are used for landscaping projects along local rights-of-way. Other communities in the region were also recognized, including Alvin, Baytown, Friendswood, Lake Jackson, Pearland, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and Surfside Beach.

Keep Texas Beautiful logo
Congratulations to the City of Santa Fe for winning the Government Award - City Under 30,000 as part of the Keep Texas Beautiful Individual and Organization Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations who have committed to enhancing their communities. The Government Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the Texas environment made by government departments, divisions, or agencies.

Take Care of Texas Proud Partner Logo
Congratulations to Mira Patel, the grand prize winner in the 2019 Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest. She is 5th grader from Madden Elementary School in Fort Bend ISD in Richmond. Her artwork was selected from more than 5,200 entries. She will receive a Samsung laptop donated by Samsung Austin Semiconductor.

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 residential 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 .

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
  • 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: Houston resident flying a kite on a windy day. {Photo courtesy of Jeff Taebel.

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.