Houston Environmental News Update May 15, 2019

Endangered Species Day, Gulf Coast Green, Houston Bike Summit, Bay Day Festival, Green Jobs, and much more

This Friday, May 17, 2019, is Endangered Species Day. According to the Endangered Species Coalition, the occasion, created by Congress in 2006, is “an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting  endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them.”

This year’s Endangered Species Day comes on the heels of the recent, sobering United Nations report that the natural world “is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating.” See the full report at ipbes.net.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has identified 99 species at risk in the thirteen counties covered by CEC. Species range from sea turtles to whooping cranes, and Houston toads to the Texas Prairie Dawn plant (photo at left by Laura Catherine Hodges).

Here on the Texas Gulf Coast, sea turtles are among our more famous endangered species. The Turtle Island Restoration Network is one of the advocacy organizations leading the charge to protect these beautiful animals. Sea turtle nest numbers are down significantly this year; happily, just in the last week, volunteers have found the year’s first two nests on the Upper Texas Coast. If you see a sea turtle on the beach, be sure not to startle her, give her distance, and call the hotline (1-866-TURTLE-5) to report it Also report any tracks or stranded sea turtles. Learn more about their work at seaturtles.org.

Houston Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Program s world-renowned for its work on protecting wildlife across the globe, including the wild whooping crane here in Texas. Learn more about their efforts at houstonzoo.org. (See Coalition & Community Notes for an item about the upcoming grand opening of Zoo’s Katherine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands.) Program staff also works to restore native endangered species like the Houston toad. Once abundant in Harris County, the Houston toad has not been spotted in Houston in nearly 50 years. Last year, the Zoo released 1,082,000 eggs into the wild.

And lest we forget, the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, located just 60 miles west of Houston, is home to one of the last remaining populations of this critically endangered species. Find out more about these charming birds and the refuge at fws.gov.

The top infographic is courtesy of the Endangered Species Coalition.


CEC NOTES

Save the Dates: Green Films, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Environmental Educators Exchange, Earth Day

  • Houston Green Films: Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, the Rice Media Center, and additional partners on June 19, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal, followed by a film at 7 p.m. and panel discussion at 8 p.m. Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. Sign up for information about this event and other green film news at constantcontact.com. Events are held the third Wednesday of each month.
  • Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Community Resource Center at the United Way of Greater Houston. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available early summer 2019.
  • Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
  • The Environmental Educators’ Exchange next quarterly meeting will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. Location TBD.

Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019.

Networking & Field Trips for Summer Interns

Are you interested in meeting future environmental leaders and telling them about your important work? CEC will be hosting several interns this summer and would like to arrange field trip, networking, and mentorship opportunities for them. If you are interested in hosting them for a meeting or tour, please let us know. If you are interested in having your environmental interns join CEC’s interns, we’d be delighted to have them join us. Email [email protected] for more information.


Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

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86th Texas Legislature Updates: May 14, 2019

The 86th Legislature House and Senate have been assigning bills to committees, holding public committee hearings, distributing reports on bills, and voting on legislation. Activities are described below.

The deadline for House committees to report House Bills and House Joint Resolutions was May 6, 2019. For bills or joint resolutions that did not get out of committee May 7, then it was the end of their legislative journey. Similarly, bills or joint resolutions that made it out of committee but not onto the House’s agenda are finished. And the bills and joint resolutions that did not come to a vote in the full House by midnight May 9, 2019 have also died in the House.

The last day for Senate committees to report Senate and Senate Joint Resolutions is May 18, 2019. The session will end May 27, 2019.

A number of bills related to the environmental have made it out of committee and have been sent to the governor, including bills related to promotion of recycling materials, groundwater conservation, fees for municipal solid waste committees, quarantines for ticks, and beneficial use of waste related to drilling or production of oil or gas. 

We’d love to know what bills you are watching. Send an email to [email protected]

More information about the 86th Texas Legislative session can be found at capitol.texas.gov.

Read more about activities- including filed bills and committee assignments- of the legislature

Houston Botanic Garden seeks Director of Education and Public Programs

Houston Botanic Garden is seeking a Director of Education and Public Programs to advance HBG’s mission through creating and implementing education and mission-driven events, including education classes and seminars, school group field trips, camps, exhibits, fairs and festivals, special exhibits, and performing and visual arts. In consultation with key staff and committee members, the Director will help develop and articulate the strategic vision and priorities for education and public programs as well as creating the annual program plan, calendar, and budget to accomplish the vision. For a full job description and application instructions, visit hbg.org.