Houston Environmental News Update July 6, 2016

CEC would like to extend congratulations to Artist Boat, which, last week on June 30, 2016, became the owner of 548 acres of land! 216 acres donated in fee title with a stewardship trust fund from The Preserve at West Beach, $7 million in grants paid for the balance of 306 acres, and Moore’s Island donated, too! What an accomplishment for the Coastal Heritage Preserve, Artist Boat, and a multitude of project partners. Learn more about Artist Boat on their website (which includes public kayak trips almost daily) or on their highly informative facebook page (which includes beach safety reports and info about Bucket Brigade events).

CEC NOTES

  • CEC Open House & Anniversary.  Please plan to help CEC celebrate 45 years since its incorporation at an open house on Thursday, July 14, 2016.
  • Save the Date: Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour. Please mark you calendars for January 25 & 26, 2017, for two nights of inspiring short environmental films.
  • Welcome New Subscribers! Thank you to Andrea, Charlotte, Nichole, Claire, Kate, April, Christopher, Abi, Maryanne, and Jessie for subscribing to our newsletter. We hope you enjoy it!

COALITION NOTES

  1. Community Meeting: The Risks of Trains in Houston. On June 28, 2016, two trains collided near Panhandle, TX, leaving 1 employee injured and 3 employees presumed dead. Fiery and fatal incidents over the past few years have increased concerns around public safety and chemical security. What does this incident mean for us in Houston? Find out about the risks that we face as a result of increased rail traffic. During the week of action, people across North America are coming together to understand the risks that they face and to discuss how to reduce the harmful impacts of toxic trains. Join the Healthy Port Communities Coalition here in Houston on July 6, 2016, at 6:30pm at Air Alliance Houston, 3914 Leeland Street, to identify hazards in our community and to discuss how you can be part of the solution to improve our safety and health. To learn more, contact Stephanie at (832) 840-6464 or visit http://airalliancehouston.org.
  2. Unplugged Adventure: Sunset Bike Ride. Bring out your bike for an evening range ride on the historic Warren Ranch on July 9, 2016, 6:30-8:30pm. This leisurely ride along ranch roads will be fun for all ages. As the sun goes down, watch the prairie come alive – you might even hear an owl or two! The cost is $5 per person. Register at www.katyprairie.org.
  3. Prairie Mapping Survey. Plan to come out to the Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve on July 10, 2016, at 8 am for the Prairie Mapping Survey. This will be a great opportunity to learn how a survey is done and to get some instruction in prairie plant identification. Please Email [email protected] or call 1-936-827-7973 to RSVP. https://houstonprairie.org
  4. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Expansion: Public Meetings. Building on more than 30 years of studies and numerous reports released in the last decade calling for additional protections, NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is proposing to expand its boundaries to protect areas of national significance off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA is proposing to add 15 additional banks, ranging from 70 to 120 miles off-shore, that are comprised of approximately 383 square miles of reefs and bottom features that provide habitat for fish and other biological resources that serve as engines of sustainability for much of the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA is also proposing to extend the existing protections of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to these additional areas to limit the impact of bottom-disturbing activities on their sensitive biological resources and geological features. There will be two public meetings. The first will be held on July 12, 2016, at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Office in Galveston from 5:30-7:30pm. The second meeting will be held on July 13, 2016, at Trini Mendenhall Community Center in Houston from 5:30-7:30pm. Read more at www.meetup.com.
  5. Summer Salons: Water, Water Everywhere. Center for Houston’s Future will be hosting a series of breakfast discussions throughout the summer, bringing big-picture thinkers and regional leaders together for a deep-dive into our community indicators and next steps. The discussions are part of the Summer Salons. The theme is “Water, Water Everywhere: Drinking, Rising, Surging.” The dates are listed below. Tickets are $25. Learn more and RSVP at www.futurehouston.com.
    • July 13 – Rising Water: Dealing with Floods
    • August 10 – Surging Water–Storm Surge Protection and Response
  6. Sierra Club Meeting. People around the world are becoming more aware of animal agriculture’s effects on the environment. On July 14, 2016, the president of the local nonprofit Vegan for Life, Michael Battey, will present these effects using scientific data. He will discuss the scale of the industry and its use of resources. The presentation will include the industry’s pollution, associated risks to human health, effects on climate, inefficiency, and wastefulness. Food is a big part of our culture and our joy of living. But with the increasingly precarious state of our planet, we are learning to reconcile our personal preferences with our concern for the environment, other animals, and future generations. Come visit with the Sierra Club to learn how we can all make more informed decisions about our dietary choices. The upcoming Sierra Club Meeting will be held on July 14, 2016, at 7:30pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (1800 Sul Ross St). https://sierraclub.org
  7. Hearing on Roads through the Katy Prairie. A Houston Planning Commission public hearing will be held on Thursday, July 14, 2016, 2:30pm at City Hall Annex, Council Chamber (900 Bagby Street, Houston TX 77002). Katy Prairie Conservancy requests that concerned citizens speak in opposition to the proposed amendments calling for roads through Katy Prairie Conservancy properties and for a road encircling the conservation lands. Interested individuals will need to sign up before the meeting starts and to arrive around 2pm. Speakers will have three minutes to to talk, so be prepared, brief, and to the point. KPC asks speakers to tell the planning commissioners what the prairie means to you, why the prairie is important to the region, and why pass-through and ring roads would degrade the conservation values of these lands and severely reduce the important benefits the prairie provides to the citizens of Houston, Harris County, and Waller County. Learn more at www.katyprairie.org.
  8. Gulf-Houston RCP Meetings Summer 2016. The first ever Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston RCP) is a long-term collaborative of environmental, business and governmental entities working together to create a first-ever ecosystem continuity and connectivity plan for the Gulf-Houston Region. There will be multiple Gulf-Houston RCP meetings, held at the Houston Wilderness Conference Room (550 Westcott St) in July. RSVP to [email protected]. Learn more at www.gulfhoustonrcp.org.
    • July 15, 2016 (9:30-10:45am) – Prairie Conservation Initiative
    • July 15, 2016 (1-2pm) – Bayou Greenways Initiative
    • July 15t, 2016 (2:30-4pm) – Galveston Bay Oyster Reef & Migratory Bird Initiative
    • July 19, 2016 (1-2:30pm) – Galveston Bay Habitat Acquisition & Easements Initiative
    • July 20, 2016 (2-3:30pm) – Headwaters to Baywaters Initiative
  9. Monthly Volunteer Day at Buffalo Bayou Park. Houstonians, ages 9 and up, are invited to join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for community-wide volunteer days at Buffalo Bayou Park happening the third Saturday of each month. Whether volunteering as a large or small group, or individually, your efforts will lead to a healthier environment and a more aesthetically pleasing amenity for all to enjoy. Volunteers will help with a variety of tasks, including but not limited to: trash pick-up, mulching and weed removal. The next volunteer day will be held on July 16, 2016, 8:30-11:30am. Sign up at http://buffalobayou.org.
  10. Pasadena Rain Barrel Workshop. Rain barrels are an efficient, low-cost, low-maintenance method for collecting rainwater. They are placed at downspouts (or downpours from your roof) in order to reduce runoff and flooding, conserve freshwater, and reduce pollution reaching Galveston Bay via storm drains. Rain barrels can be used for watering a garden or houseplants, washing a car, and much more! There will be a rain barrel workshop held on July 16, 2016, 9:30-11:30am at the Pasadena Convention Center and Fairgrounds. The cost is $35 (1 barrel + 1 kit, includes admission to the workshop). Register at www.galvbay.org.
  11. Full Moon Hike 2016. Come out to Baytown Nature Center on July 16, 2016, 8:30pm, for a 90 minute full moon hike. Hike under the light of the full moon to visit nocturnal habitats that are home to owls, raccoons, opossums, and other wildlife. Be there as the ‘night shift’ awakens to search for food, water, or even a mate. The hike is free with general admission to the nature center ($3 for age 13 and older). Full Moon Hike
  12. Book Release: The Texas Landscape Project. The Texas Landscape Project explores conservation and ecology in Texas by presenting a highly visual and deeply researched view of the widespread changes that have affected the state as its population and economy have boomed and as Texans have worked ever harder to safeguard its bountiful but limited natural resources. Covering the entire state, from Pineywoods bottomlands and Panhandle playas to Hill Country springs and Big Bend canyons, the project examines a host of familiar and not so familiar environmental issues. Learn more about the book: TexasLandscapeProject. There will be a reading at the Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet St) on July 18, 2016, at 7pm. Learn more at www.brazosbookstore.com.
  13. Community Efficiency Leaders Workshop – Water & Energy Best Practices. On July 21, 2016, HARC and the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) are excited to present the second Houston-Galveston region workshop on energy and water efficiency. The topics in this workshop include: Purple Pipe in Communities – Reduce water consumption and energy use through reclaimed water; Strategic Energy Management – Focus on low cost efforts with big impacts; PACE Financing – New Economic Development Tool for Cities; and Power Resilience for critical infrastructure – Focus on cogeneration/CHP to ensure the lights stay on when the grid goes down during a natural disaster. This is open to all public agencies and communities in the region. Lunch will be provided. Register at www.eventbrite.com.
  14. Ladies Casting for Conservation. Ladies Casting for Conservation is a women’s one-day fishing tournament held in Crystal Beach, Texas on Bolivar Peninsula. This unique event brings together fishing enthusiasts and helps protect Galveston Bay’s natural resources. Now in its fourth year, the tournament has drawn interest from anglers throughout the state. This tournament is for everyone, from those fishing for the first time to those that know how to reel in a big catch! It’s a day of fun and an opportunity to learn about Galveston Bay. Participants enjoy a day of competitive fishing that benefits Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) in its efforts to preserve and protect Galveston Bay. The tournament will be held on July 23, 2016. Registration is $300 per team (or $100 per team member). Learn more and register at http://support.galvbay.org.
  15. Growing Green. Ever wonder whether resources were available to help maximize your agricultural production or improve your property, but didn’t know which agency to ask ? Then join H-GAC for Growing Green on July 23, 2016, from 9am-noon at the Brazoria County AgriLife Extension Offices. This free half-day workshop will give you the opportunity to meet face to face with representatives from state and local agricultural groups, and hear about financial and technical assistance programs your property may qualify for. Learn more and register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com.
  16. Nature Revealed: Intro to Entomology. Insects are by far the most diverse and numerous animals in the world. There are more than 900,000 species worldwide! From tiny, hidden bark beetles to showy moths with six-inch wingspans, insects come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes, and lifestyles. This class will give you an introduction to entomology – the study of insects. It is designed to help you get started identifying species that you may find in the Arboretum. Learn about insect anatomy, their sometimes complex life cycles, and helpful tools for identification. The class will be held on July 23, 2016, 9-11am at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. The cost is $20 for members and $35 for non-members. Register at http://houstonarboretum.org.
  17. 32nd Annual Mayor’s Proud Partner Awards – Call For Entries. It’s that time again! Keep Houston Beautiful is now accepting award applications for the 2016 Mayor’s Proud Partner Awards. Gather your organization’s leaders together and select that special project you would like to submit demonstrating your commitment to keeping Houston beautiful! ALL applications must be submitted online and are due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2016. Apply at https://form.jotform.com.
  18. Nominations Open–Terry Hershey Texas Women in Conservation Award. Audubon and the Texas Women in Conservation Award Program Steering Committee are now seeking nominations of women conservationists who, like Terry Hershey, have shown leadership, innovation, and passion for the landscapes and wildlife of the Lone Star State. Nominations can be submitted by email or mail by the addresses below and will be accepted now through August 19, 2016. To learn more, visit http://tx.audubon.org/conservation/terry-hershey-award.
  19. Bucket Brigade Interpretive Beach Tours. The Bucket Brigade is out on Galveston beaches providing FREE interpretive tours of the coastal and marine ecosystems! Tours last approximately 45 minutes and include hands-on exploration of questions such as “what is in out water”, “how is seaweed a good thing” and “how do I connect to the ocean” that is fun and educational for ocean-lovers of all ages! Tours are available at multiple Galveston beach locations, including Stewart and East Beaches, during the weekends in April and May and daily in the summer. Sign up for tours is on location. For more information on tour times and locations, please visit www.artistboat.org or call 409-770-0722. The Bucket Brigade is a program of Artist Boat and the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees.
  20. Save the Date:
    • 7/29/16: Drawing from the Garden
    • 8/9/2016 and 8/11/16: Educators Night Out at the Houston Zoo: www.houstonzoo.org

COMMUNITY NOTES

  1. 2016 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards. The Texas Environmental Leadership Awards recognize true stewards of environmental change in Texas – individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses developing and maintaining programs involving recycling, composting, sustainable materials management, public education and outreach, special event recycling – and so much more. Awards are a great way to get recognized for the hard work that you and your staff do every day to make Texas better! Applications are due August 5, 2016 by 5pm. Award winners will be honored at a special ceremony and dinner in San Antonio as part of the Texas Recycling Summit on the evening of Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Learn more at https://recyclingstar.formstack.com.
  2. Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards (TEEA) honor achievements in environmental preservation and protection. As the state's highest environmental honor, the Office of the Governor and commissioners from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recognize outstanding projects from nine diverse categories: agriculture, civic/community, education, individual, innovative operations/management, pollution prevention technical/technology, water conservation, and youth. You can apply online at teea.org/apply; this page also contains helpful information on how to write an effective application. If you would like an example of a winning application, send your request to [email protected] and include one (or more) or the award categories. The last day you can submit is September 30, 2016. Apply at www.teea.org. Read more: TEEA.
  3. Houston Area Solar Energy Program. Harvest Moon is building community solar farms in the Houston area for Houstonians looking to play an active role in transitioning away from big-utility fossil fuels toward a more local and sustainable energy infrastructure. For less than 12 cents per kWh (including CenterPoint delivery charges), customers get solar energy produced from Harvest Moon’s inaugural solar farm in Sealy, TX, via a comprehensive, transparent, and 100% renewable electricity plan with no term obligations or cancellation fees. Participation directly supports additional clean energy projects in the region that contribute to the  local economy and community.  Learn more and sign up at hmrenewable.com.
  4. Summerfest at Rice Farmers Market. Come out on July 26, 2016, 3:30-6pm for a summer celebration at the market. There will be live music, a cooking demo by Rice University Housing and Dining chefs, and activities for kids. And of course, you can shop with the great vendors! Local breweries will be serving up some age-appropriate refreshments for the 21-and-up patrons. This is a party you don’t want to miss! Learn more at www.facebook.com.
  5. Sunday Evening Conversations: Reducing Toxins in the Home. The next Sunday Evening Conversation will be held on July 31, 2016, at 6pm at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church. ermann Sanders, a public information officer and communications liaison for Harris County, will offer a pre-recorded talk on Reducing Toxins in the Home. Hermann supports the needs of the Communications and Public Involvement Program of the Public Infrastructure Department. Hermann will also provide extensive FAQs for any questions that may arise during the pre-recorded talk. If you would like to join this conversation, contact Lisa Brenskelle at [email protected] to receive an invitation to the talk.
  6. Certified Arborist Test Prep Course. This course is designed to teach you arboriculture knowledge (the practice & study of the care of trees) and prepare you to take the ISA Certified Arborist Exam. All 16 chapters from the ISA Certification Study Guide will be covered in detail by professionals working in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry. The class will be held July 29 & 30 and August 5 & 6. Registration is $250. Learn more about the Certified Arborist Test Prep Course.
  7. Save the Date:
  8. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife. Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 PM each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.
    • Natural Wasteland
    • Training for the Worst
    • Manchaca Monarchs
    • Producer’s Favorites: D-Day +50