Houston Environmental News Update May 1, 2019

May is Bike Month, Reef on the Road exhibit, Katy Prairie Conservancy annual bash, Party for the Planet, Green Jobs, and much more

Hooray for Bike Month! In recent years, the City of Houston and the greater region have made great strides in becoming a more bike-friendly place, and May is the perfect time to take advantage by dusting off your bicycle and hitting the trails.

Various organizations are hosting rides and other events throughout the Houston region to celebrate. To learn more about opportunities to get involved, check out some of our favorite Bike Month sites:


CEC NOTES

Save the Date: Greater Houston Environmental Summit

In 2019, CEC will be hosting the Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 2, 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.


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


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

We have endeavored to confirm the events listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary’s “Reef of the Road” exhibit in Galveston

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary recently brought its Reef on the Road traveling exhibit to its new location–Cruise Terminal 2 in Galveston, where it will be seen by thousands of visitors boarding cruise ships for trips across the Gulf of Mexico. The exhibit delivers messages of underwater beauty and diversity, as well as reasons for action to conserve our fragile ocean planet. Through a combination of short messages, interactive elements, and videos, guests will be engaged in learning about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, our local ocean treasure.


Galveston Bay Foundation receives $2.3 million grant to restore marsh along Galveston Bay

Galveston Bay Foundation recently received a $2.3 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation award to continue to restore and create marsh habitat in the Dollar Bay/Moses Lake complex in Galveston Bay. The funding comes to Galveston Bay Foundation through the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, a funding source created from Deepwater Horizon oil spill penalties. With the funding, GBF will construct breakwaters to protect and restore estuarine emergent marsh along 1,500 feet of shoreline and 47 newly created marsh terraces, which will support emergent marsh vegetation. Construction work will restore 72 acres of intertidal marsh complex and create suitable habitat for oyster growth within the Dollar Bay/Moses Lake complex in Galveston Bay. For more, visit galvbay.org.


Spring Creek Nature Trail Receives Texan by Nature Certification

Bayou Land Conservancy recently received the Texan by Nature Project Certification for the Spring Creek Nature Trail. This certification recognizes meaningful conservation efforts involving and benefiting people, prosperity, and natural resources. The Spring Creek Nature Trail is a 14-mile natural surface, hike/bike trail that runs along Spring Creek, in both Harris and Montgomery counties, and was mostly constructed by community volunteers, including about 20 boardwalks and bridges. The trail is part of a larger system of green space along the border between the two counties known as the Spring Creek Greenway, the longest, continuous, urban, forested greenway in the country.


Comment period for Lower Colorado River Authority Habitat Conservation Plan

The Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation has submitted an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an Incidental Take Permit under the Endangered Species Act. LCRA TSC has developed a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan to minimize potential impacts of transmission line construction and maintenance across 241 Texas counties on 22 federally listed endangered species and one non-listed species. The Service encourages the public to review and provide comments on LCRA TSC’s HCP and the Service’s draft Environmental Impact Statement during the 45-day public comment period. Written comments must be received by June 13, 2019. To see the associated documents, which includes directions on how to comment, visit fws.gov.


Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study public scoping meetings

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District has initiated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study. The study will investigate the causes of flooding and develop alternatives that could reduce the risk of flooding along the Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries, in Harris and Fort Bend counties. The study will also complete a Dam Safety Modification Evaluation on the Addicks and Barker Dams. The USACE invites interested individuals and organizations to attend one of the scheduled Public Scoping meetings. Find more information about the Study and the meetings at swg.usace.army.mil (or click on the Facebook events below).


National Bike Challenge with BikeHouston continues

Through Sept. 30, 2019, BikeHouston, whose mission is the implementation of the City of Houston Bike Plan, will be sponsoring the city’s participation in the National Bike Challenge, a nationwide event that unites thousands of new and existing bicyclists across the country in friendly competition designed to celebrate and encourage biking. For more information on how to participate, visit lovetoride.net.


City of Houston Climate Action Plan Community Meetings

The City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability has begun drafting a Climate Action Plan. The goal is to create ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish a pathway to meet the Paris Agreement goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, while also decreasing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and reducing costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy. The target completion date for the Plan is December 2019, with implementation by the City to start in 2020. HARC, the Houston Advanced Research Center, is providing technical assistance. The City has scheduled a set of Community Meetings to give members of the public information about the Plan, as well as receive input: Meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates (see details here):

  • May 2, 2019 — Northeast Multiservice Center
  • May 8, 2019 — Metropolitan Multiservice Center

Katy Prairie Conservancy 2019 Bash: Our Roots Run Deep

On May 2, 2019, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Katy Prairie Conservancy will host its 2019 annual fundraising dinner, themed “Our Roots Run Deep,” at the River Oaks Country Club. This year, the event will honor avid conservationist and easement donor Forrest Wylie. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit katyprairie.org.


2019 WaterWorks Festival

On May 3, 2019, from 9 a.m.-noon, the City of Houston’s WaterWorks Education Center will hold the 26th Annual WaterWorks Festival at Levy Park, 3801 Eastside St. This year’s theme is “Careers in STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math).” The event will feature more than 50 sponsors and exhibitors sharing a variety of careers in both the public and private water and waste water sectors. For more information, visit constantcontact.com.


Mont Belvieu Spring Outdoor Celebration

On May 4, 2019, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the City of Mont Belviue will host its Spring Outdoor Celebration at City Park, 10900 Eagle Lane. This fun-filled day of outdoor exploration will include kayaking, archery, dog training, a wild bird show, outdoor education, and much more. For more information, visit the Facebook event.


Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Party for the Planet

On May 4, 2019, beginning at 6 p.m., the Armand Bayou Nature Center, 8500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena, will hold its annual “Party for the Planet” spring fundraiser. The event will include complementary cocktails, live and silent auctions, music and dancing, games and other fun activities alongside a catered dinner. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit abnc.org.


GBCO Spring Fling concludes May 5

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory’s Spring Fling, an opportunity to see and celebrate millions of migratory songbirds as they arrive at stopover habitat along the coast, concludes May 5, 2019. This is great time to enjoy the wide variety of species that migrate through Texas dressed in their spring finery and to see colorful birds like orioles, grosbeaks, tanagers, and numerous warbler species. Spring Fling takes place at the Quintana Neotropic Bird Sanctuary from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily. The Sanctuary is located on Lamar Street across from the Quintana town hall building. For more information, visit
gcbo.org.


“Texas Coastal Exchange: How Houses of Worship Can Help”

On May 5, 2019, beginning at 2 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston invites you to learn about the Texas Coastal Exchange (TCX), a new carbon offset program for the region. Jim Blackburn, Rice professor and member of the TCX board of directors, will discuss how the TCX is designed both as a land conservation tool and a means to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. Find out how you/your house of worship can support local land conservation as a buyer of carbon offsets. The event will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church,
2353 Rice Blvd. For more details and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.

Regional Trash and Marine Debris Summit

On May 7, 2019, from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., the third Houston-Galveston Regional Trash and Marine Debris Summit will be held 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. For more information, visit DontTrashAGoodThing.org.

Transition Houston meeting on “Nature of the Flood”

On May 7, 2019, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Transition Houston will hold its monthly meeting featuring a presentation by Brad Carter, Ph.D., a structural geologist who has worked in academia and the petroleum industry, on the issue of flooding and understanding how our rivers and bayous play a role in mitigation and flood risk reduction. The meeting will be held at the Haven’s Center, 1827 W. Alabama St. For more information, see the Facebook event.


Mercer Botanic Gardens Lunch Bunch: Snake Identification

On May 8, from noon-2 p.m., Mercer Botanic Gardens will present a “Lunch Bunch” interactive class with Clinton and Michelle Pustejovsky of Texas Snakes on how to identify snakes, snake safety, and what to do if you are bitten by a venomous snake. Venomous snakes and common nonvenomous snakes will be on site for participants to view. Participants should bring a lunch and dress for the weather. Lunch Bunch is a free program and is recommended for participants ages 12 and older. For more information, see the Facebook event.


“Trends in Renewable Energy Development”

On May 9, 2019, the latest Houston Renewable Energy Networking Breakfast will be held in the offices of Locke Lord LLP, 600 Travis Street (Chase Tower), 25th Floor Conference Room. The featured speaker will be Cary Kottler, Vice President of North American Development at Pattern Energy. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.


Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable Field Trip to Levy Park

On May 9, 2019, from 10 a.m.-noon, the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable will host a spring field trip to Levy Park, 3801 Eastside. 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. The event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.


Galveston Bay Foundation Rain Barrel Workshop at Houston Maritime Museum

On May 9, 2019, from 10-11 a.m., the Galveston Bay Foundation will host a Rain Barrel Workshop to teach the public about the cost savings and environmental benefits of collecting rainwater, and proper rain barrel installation instructions and tips. The $35 registration fee includes one 35-gallon barrel, one connector kit, and admission to the workshop for the registrant and one guest. The workshop will be held at the Houston Maritime Museum, 2311 Canal Street. For more information and to register, visit galvbay.org.


Coastal Basin Bacteria Reduction Meeting

On May 9, 2019, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invite area stakeholders in
Caney Creek/Linville Bayou (Basin 13) to help create a plan to reduce high concentrations of bacteria found in the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin. 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. The meeting will be held at Caney Creek Chapel, 2477 County Road 297, Sargent. For more information, visit h-gac.com.


“Birding Then and Now”

On May 9, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., Houston Audubon will host a special speaker event with Fred Collins and Bob Honig, who will describe how birding in the greater Houston area has changed over the past 50 years. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the United Way Community Resources Center, 50 Waugh Drive. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.


The Gulf of Mexico Alliance  2019 All Hands Meeting

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a Regional Ocean Partnership working to sustain the resources of the Gulf of Mexico, will hold its 2019 All Hands Meeting from June 10-13 at The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The deadline for registration is May 9. For more information and to register, visit gulfofmexicoalliance.org.


Texas Stream Team water monitoring training sessions

The Texas Stream Team is a network of trained volunteers and supportive partners working together to collect information about the natural resources of Texas and to ensure the information is available to all Texans. Volunteers are trained to collect quality-assured information that can be used to make environmentally sound decisions. There are two upcoming training sessions: May 10 at Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center and May 11 at Brazosport Community College. Both sessions are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and to register, visit h-gac.com.


Houston Botanic Garden Spring Saturday Series with Houston Audubon

On May 11, 2019, from 10 a.m.-noon, Houston Botanic Garden, 8205 North Bayou Drive, will celebrate World Migratory Bird Day with its latest Spring Saturday Series with Houston Audubon. The event will include guided bird walks and family activities to learn about the birds of our region, bird conservation, pollination, migration, and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.


The Progressive Forum presents Jared Diamond

On May 12, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., The Progressive Forum will present Jared Diamond, author of the nonfiction classics Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, in a talk about the final book in the trilogy, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis. The book features Diamond’s comparative approach, embracing history, geography, ecology, economics, and anthropology, as well as psychological answers for how individuals and nations can become more resilient. The event will be held at Congregation Emmanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd. Tickets include a copy of the book. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit progressiveforumhouston.org.


TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife

Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3 p.m. 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.

  • Huntsville State Park opens a door to 2,000 acres of outdoor adventure*
  • Lone Star Land Steward: Laborcitas Creek Ranch
  • A Texas landowner saves copperhead snakes for science

Additional Upcoming Events