Houston Environmental News Update September 28, 2016

View the full newsletter.
How long have you been receiving the newsletter? We’ve been sending it out for decades, and we’re curious to know if anyone has been a subscribing since our incorporation in 1971. Let us know if you have! Learn more about CEC publications.


  1. RDA Lecture Series: Mass Timber. Mass Timber, The Rice Design Alliance lecture series with the Rice School of Architecture, begins this month. The series comes at a time of increasing exploration into the possibilities of designing and building with wood. The National Building Museum in Washington D.C., for example, just opened an exhibition called Timber City. The young designers of Ultramoderne will visit us first on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Learn more and purchase series tickets at ricedesignalliance.org.
  2. Houston Bike Challenge 2016. Are you a passionate biker? Or looking to explore a new hobby? Support BikeHouston by joining their 2016 Biking Challenge. The Challenge is ongoing from Oct. 1 2016 – Oct. 31,2016 You can compete against other teams of participants and encourage friends and co-workers to join as a team Join this free competition with prizes for people to who beat their Challenges. The Bike Challenge will be ongoing for the month of October. Visit www.lovetoride.net for more information on how to participate and sign-up!
  3. Cigna Sunday Streets: Energy Corridor. For the first event for fall 2016 season, Cigna Sunday Streets heads to Energy Corridor! With no cars on the road, you’ll be able to walk, run, dance bike or play in along Eldridge Parkway with friends, family and neighbors. Cigna Sunday Streets is not a street festival. It is a FREE family-friendly opportunity to be physically active and enjoy active transportation, as well as connect with neighbors in your community. For more information about the October 2, 2016, event, check out http://www.gohealthyhouston.org/sundaystreetshtx.
  4. Bayou Preservation Association–50th Anniversary Gala. This year, the Bayou Preservation Association turns 50! JBayou Preservation Association and chairs Lindley Arnoldy and Brittany Cassin invite you to leave your worries behind for Blues on the Bayou on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the home of Colleen Holthouse. Situated on a peninsula of Buffalo Bayou, the land was once used as a bonafide hunting lodge, which gave rise to the name of the community – Hunter’s Creek. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this incredible property while contributing to the Bayou Preservation Association’s mission of celebrating, protecting and restoring the natural richness of all our bayous and streams! Purchase tickets at bayoupreservation.org.
  5. Buffalo Bayou Park’s First Birthday. Join in the fun with a birthday party for Buffalo Bayou Park (turning 1) and BBP (turning 30) at The Water Works (105 Sabine Street). Enjoy tasty food truck fare, birthday cake, free beer from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, lawn games and tunes from A Fistful of Soul. Bring the kiddos to play in the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area! October 6, 2016, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Learn more at buffalobayou.org.
  6. Great Houston Wildlife Count. On Saturday, October 8, 2016, join local wildlife experts for an exciting day of discovery as we count and photograph everything from bees to bats to bigmouth bass in some of Houston’s great parks and wildspaces. You’ll have fun while contributing to our understanding of urban wildlife. This event is also a part of the statewide Texas Pollinator Bioblitz, so your contributions can have a statewide impact! Great free event for individuals, students, and families. Counts will take place in four locations (1) Buffalo Bayou Park (2) Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (3) Rice University/Hermann Park and (4) Mason Park. Learn more at https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/bioblitz and www.katyprairie.org.
  7. Jennie Romer to speak about plastic bags at Bayou Symposium. Jennie Romer, a national expert on carryout bag policy, will be the keynote speaker at Bayou Preservation Association’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, 50 for 50, on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm. This year’s symposium will include 50 informative presentations related to the many aspects of improvements in our watersheds over the last 50 years. The keynote speaker, Jennie Romer, will discuss the challenges and successes with local legislation to manage plastic bags in LA and NYC. Her story is truly inspiring; a practicing attorney, Romer is the country’s leading expert in plastic bag law. Learn more at bayoupreservation.org. Other events celebrating BPA’s 50th anniversary include the Cypress Creek Regatta on Sep. 26, 2017, and the 50th Anniversary Gala on Oct. 5, 2016.
  8. Sierra Club hosts “The Future of Humans”  On Oct.13, 2016, The Sierra Club of Houston will host Scott Solomon, the author of the book The Future of Humans. His book offers evidence of how modernization has impacted longer lifespans, changing diets, medicine and contraceptives – will all have a future impact on the ability of the human species to continue life on this planet. The event is free and open to the public. It will take place on Oct. 13, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1805 West Alabama. Doors open at 7 pm, main program begins at 7:30. Email [email protected] for inquiries. Visit www.meetup.com/HoustonSierraClub for more information about the Houston area Sierra Club.
  9. Early Registration Deadline: Intersections 2016. Intersections 2016 is a cross-disciplinary conference of quality of life, health, equity, development and environmental issues facing our growing region. Our goal is to foster synergistic thinking and collaboration by bringing different people together, and to demystify the mechanisms for creating sustainable change in Houston. CEC is proud to be a part of this conference. Early registration through September 31, 2016 at intersections2016.org.
  10. STAR Recycling Summit. Registration is now open for the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) 2016 Recycling Summit, October 16-18, 2016, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade. Recycling professionals attend this event for educational sessions, equipment demonstrations, roundtable discussions, and training opportunities. Learn more at www.recyclingstar.org/summit/.
  11. Young Adult Sustainability Call for Presenters. The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club is reaching out to young people, from high school to college in the Houston area, that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to sustainability.  This can include a range of interests from urban park preservation or air and water quality mitigation to environmental activism around global climate change.  The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club would like to celebrate the ongoing achievements of these young adults. The group is offering a certificate of recognition and a one-year, free membership to the Sierra Club to individuals who make a 7-10 minute presentation about their sustainability efforts at its February general meeting in order to bring together young people from all parts of the city, and all races and economic groups, to see their common interests in sustaining the planet for future generations. If you have any questions, please email Elizabeth Spike at [email protected] or call 713-256-3589.
  12. Additional Upcoming Events:


  1. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Releases Draft Comprehensive Plan Update. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) has released a proposed update to its 2013 Comprehensive Plan. The draft provides important additional strategic guidance for the Council to follow as it makes decisions on funding projects and activities aimed at restoring the Gulf of Mexico. The draft Comprehensive Plan Update is intended to improve Council decisions by:
    • Reinforcing the Council’s goals and objectives;
    • Setting forth an initial Ten-Year Funding Strategy;
    • Establishing the Council’s vision for Gulf restoration;
    • Increasing collaboration among Council members and partner restoration programs;
    • Providing for advancement of large-scale projects and programs;
    • Refining the process for ensuring that the Council’s decisions are informed by the best available science; and
    • Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of Council actions.
    The Council is updating its Initial Comprehensive Plan now in order to take into account recent developments in Gulf restoration such as the resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a source of future funding for the Council’s projects. Public input meetings will be held throught the gulf coast, including in Galveston, on September 29, 2016. For more information, visit www.restorethegulf.gov.
  2. 2016 Gulf Star Funding Opportunity. Deadline: September 29, 2016. This funding opportunity supports projects that provide education, outreach, or engagement on a topic of one of more of the following Gulf of Mexico Alliance Teams or Initiatives: 1. Coastal Resilience; 2. Habitat Resources; 3. Data & Monitoring; 4. Water Resources; 5. Wildlife & Fisheries; 6. Ecosystems Services Assessment; 7. Conservation, Restoration, & Resilience Planning; and 8. Marine Debris. The maximum project award values are $10,000. For more information or to apply, please go to www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.
  3. Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. Deadline: September 30, 2016. 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 at TEEA.
  4. Wildlife Diversity Program Grant Application. Deadline: September 30, 2016.  Grants will be offered to support “shovel ready” conservation-related projects, and proposals may address any conservation related issue in Texas.  Proposal deadline is Sept. 30, 2016, by 5 pm. Proposals can be submitted to [email protected] Maximum award grant is $30,000, minimum is $2,500. For a full list of priority proposals and submission guidelines visit www.tpwd.texas.gov.
  5. Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience and Well-being in the Gulf of Mexico Region. Deadline: October 5, 2016. Grants will support projects that benefit the residents of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region. Specifically, projects that enhance community resilience and well-being by accounting for the influence of social, cultural, and health factors on a community’s capacity to adapt and thrive as part of efforts to mitigate and respond to the adverse impacts of climate change, severe weather, and major environmental disasters. A total of $10 million is available for an anticipated 3-6 projects of up to 36 months in duration. For more information or to apply, please go to www.nas.edu.
  6. NOAA Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grants. Deadline: October 14, 2016. This opportunity provides funding to support locally-driven, marine debris assessment and removal projects that will benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects awarded through this grant competition implement on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with priority for those targeting medium- and large-scale debris, including derelict fishing gear. There is also a secondary priority for projects that conduct post-removal habitat monitoring to assess the beneficial impacts of debris removal. Typical awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000. For more information or to apply, please go to www.grants.gov.
  7. 2016 EcoChallenge. Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church invites Houstonians to join them in challenging themselves to better care for the environment during the upcoming EcoChallenge. Participants (individuals, families, or groups) choose one action to reduce their environmental impact and stick with it for the two-week challenge period (Oct. 14 – 28, 2016).  There are many possible challenges to choose from in the categories of: water, energy, food, transportation, waste, nature, simplicity, and community.  Or, you can create your own challenge. Sign up today a twww.ecochallenge.org and challenge yourself to become a better steward of the environment.
  8. Montrose Bi-Annual Recycling Event. Join the Montrose District on Oct. 15, 2016, from 10 am – 2 pm. The event will be hosted at Walgreens, 3317 Montrose. Contact [email protected], or via phone, 713-869-6700. For a full list of acceptable items, visit www.montrosedistrict.org.
  9. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Region Grant Proposal. Deadline: October 28, 2016. NOAA is now seeking proposals under the Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (Gulf B-WET) Program. The full FY17 Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) can be found at Grants.gov under funding opportunity number NOAA-NMFS-SE-2017-2005000. Applicants should apply through Grants.gov. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on October 28, 2016, to be considered for funding. Please see the FFO for all application details. The Gulf of Mexico B-WET program is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. Funded projects provide meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEEs) for students, related professional development for teachers, and help to support regional education and environmental priorities in the Gulf of Mexico. Visit www.sero.nmfs.noaa.gov for more information.
  10. NOAA Marine Debris Research Federal Funding Opportunity. Deadline: December 19, 2016. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program is pleased to announce the FY2017 Marine Debris Research Federal Funding Opportunity. Proposals are due December 19, 2016.  The announcement can be found on Grants.gov at www.grants.gov.
  11. Bill Dawson of Texas Climate News receives Sierra Club’s national award for environmental journalism. Bill Dawson of Houston, editor and founder of the nonprofit Texas Climate News, is the 2016 recipient of the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award, which the 124-year-old organization presents to an individual each year to recognize “outstanding environmental reporting or editorial comment that contributes to a better understanding of environmental issues.” In addition to his work at Texas Climate News, Bill has worked as Houston Chronicle’s environment writer for 17 years and as senior writer for environmental issues at the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative reporting organization in Washington. In 1997, Bill was the recipient of CEC’s inaugural Synergy Media Award for outstanding efforts in the field of environmental reporting.
  12. 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.
    • Pecos Pupfish
    • Prairie Dogs
    • Buffalo Soldiers