Houston Environmental News Update May 8, 2019

World Migratory Bird Day, Jared Diamond at The Progressive Forum, Gulf Coast Green, Houston Bike Summit, Green Jobs, and much more

This Saturday, May 11, 2019, is World Migratory Bird Day. According to the official WMBD website, the event is “an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. ” This year’s theme is “Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.”

Here in the Houston area, we have several opportunities to mark the occasion over the next couple of weeks. On Thursday, Houston Audubon will hold 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 (see Coalition & Community Notes below).

Houston Audubon will celebrate the official day on Saturday at Houston Botanic Garden’s Spring Saturday Series, with guided bird walks and family activities to learn about the birds of our region, bird conservation, pollination, migration, and more (see below). Find more birding opportunities at Houston Audubon’s online calendar.

The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is hosting its second annual “Brew on the Bayou” fundraiser on March 23. They also hold Bird Banding events on the third Saturday of each month in Lake Jackson.


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 May 15, 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, 2019.
  • 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.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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


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.


ITC Update: Concerning Levels of PFAs Detected 

Galveston Bay Foundation has partnered with Texas A&M University’s Superfund Research Center to analyze water samples around the ITC incident for PFAs, a group of chemical compounds frequently found in industrial product and firefighting foam. Some of these compounds are known to have harmful health impacts, but the extent of harm is still widely unknown. Overall, the results show a definite presence of many different PFAs in the water of the Houston Ship Channel. Highest levels were found near ITC, but even the samples that were taken from the shoreline further downstream showed levels of concern.


Keep Pearland Beautiful names new Executive Director

Keep Pearland Beautiful recently named Adrian Hernandez as its new Executive Director. Hernandez is a KPB member, volunteer, and has served on the KPB Board of Directors for several years. Hernandez is involved with the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Coastal Water Communities Water Quality Outreach Workgroup, the WaterNow Alliance, the Brazoria County Cities’ Association, and stays actively engaged in environmental awareness events and associations across our region.


Trends in Renewable Energy Development

On May 9, 2019, from 7:30-9 a.m., the latest Houston Renewable Energy Networking Breakfast will be held in the offices of Locke Lord LLP in 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.


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. For more information and to register, visit galvbay.org.


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. 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.


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 in Sargent, Texas. For more information, visit h-gac.com.


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 the final Public Scoping meeting, which will be held May 9, 2019, from 6-9 p.m., at Cypress Ridge High School. Find more information about the Study and the meeting at swg.usace.army.mil or the Facebook event.


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. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.


Composting lecture with Keep Pearland Beautiful

On May 9, 2019, from 7-8 p.m., Keep Pearland Beautiful and Brazoria County Master Gardener Association will host a free lecture titled “Composting” by master gardener Ellen Pedisch. The lecture will be held in Multi-Purpose Room 1 in the Pearland Recreation Center. For more information, visit keeppearlandbeautiful.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.


Sugar Land Bike to Work and School Day

On May 10, 2019, the City of Sugar Land will host Bike to Work and School Day with a leisurely group ride from the South Meadow Pavillion at Memorial Park to Fort Settlement Middle School (for Bike to School) or Sugar Land City Hall (for Bike to Work). For more information, visit h-gac.com.


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 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. Tickets include a copy of the book. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit progressiveforumhouston.org.


Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium symposium

On May 14, 2019, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium will host a symposium and social hour at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative. The symposium will feature brief presentations by leading researchers and authors on the consortium’s 2019 body of work. A social Q&A session will follow the presentations with authors, funders, and attendees. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.


Texas Coastal Management Program grant workshop

The Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office is soliciting applications for projects that address environmental concerns within the coastal zone and promote sustainable economic development. Texas Coastal Management Program. Cycle 25 involves a competitive pre-proposal process followed by an invitation-only final application submission. Pre-proposals (required) must be received electronically by 5 p.m. on June 12, 2019. A workshop will be held at May 15, 2019 at 9:30 a.m in the Wortham Auditorium of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston. For more information, visit glo.texas.gov.


Houston-Galveston Storm Surge Initiatives Community Meeting

On May 15, 2019, from 6:30-8 p.m., Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia will host a community convesation regarding storm surge and flood prevention initiatives for the Houston-Galveston area. The event will provide information about plans recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Texas A & M, and Rice University’s SSPEED Center. The event will be held at Corbin Hall, San Jacinto College Central, Pasadena. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.


Solid Waste Workshop: A Comprehensive Look at Recycling

On May 16, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold the second of its Solid Waste Workshops, which will provide a comprehensive look at recycling in the region, including the timely topics of contamination and challenging markets. For more information and to RSVP, visit constantcontact.com.


Alligators of the Big Thicket

On May 16, 2019, from 6-7 p.m., the Big Thicket Association will host its Thicket of Diversity Science Café featuring a presentation by Matthew Pyne, Ph.D., Lamar University biology professor, titled “Alligators of the Big Thicket.” Pyne and research assistant Jami Brown will present their latest research. The event will be held at the Logon Café, 3805 Calder Avenue, Beaumont.


Houston Bike Summit

On May 17-18, 2019, BikeHouston will host the annual Houston Bike Summit at Sawyer Yards. The event brings together all types of riders to celebrate how far the city has come and recognize what remains to make Houston a Gold Level Cycling City. The event features a panel discussion on the future of bicycling in Houston, and a free bike festival, group rides, and a street demonstration to see the potential of Houston’s roads. For more information, visit bikehouston.org.


Bike to Work Day

On May 17, 2018, the City of Houston will host Bike to Work Day, part of Bike Month. Houstonians are challenged to rethink how they commute to the places they live, work or play. Festivities begin at 7 a.m. in front of City Hall at Hermann Square, and the ride will begin to rollout at 7:30 a.m. For more information, visit houstonbikeplan.org.


Gulf Coast Green 2019 at Rice University on May 17

Gulf Coast Green 2019, sponsored by AIA Houston, will be held May 17, 2019, at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. This year’s theme, “CROSSROADS: Inclusive Exchange,” will focus on how design and construction can engage the community and foster human relationships, both professional and personal. Early registration ends April 19. For more information and to register, visit aiah-gulfcoastgreen.org.


Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan forum

As part of the implementation of the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan‘s three keys goals, Houston Wilderness is hosting a series of interactive forums throughout 2019. The next one will be held May 17, beginning at 2 p.m at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. Dr. Kelly Burks-Copes, research ecologist and project manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will speak on the Ecosystem Restoration projects under the Coastal Texas Study. To RSVP, click here.


Bay Day Festival

On May, 18, 2019, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the Galveston Bay Foundation will host the annual Bay Day Festival at the Kemah Boardwalk. The family-friendly event celebrates the largest bay in Texas and one of the most productive estuaries in the country. Festival highlights include bay-themed arts and crafts, live animal demonstrations and touch tanks, a scavenger hunt, science and marine exhibits and more. Children and adults will learn about the importance of Galveston Bay in our everyday lives as they engage with a variety of local educational exhibits. For more information, visit galvbay.org.


Houston Hackathon

On May 17-18, 2019, the Houston Hackathon, an annual “civic” hackathon to solve problems that affect the greater public—such as traffic information, voter registration, or recycling programs— will be held at The Cannon. For more information and to register, visit houstonhackathon.com.


White Oak Bayou Fish-Off

On May 18, 2019, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., the White Oak Bayou Association will hold its annual White Oak Bayou Fish -Off competition in partnership with the Friends of Woodland Park’s Happy Trails and Hot Dogs Day. The Friends of Woodland Park will grill and provide hot dogs, chips and root beer floats staring at 11:00 a.m. Activities include games and activires for kids and guided nature tours by a Texas Master Naturalist. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.


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.

  • Inks Lake State Park offers hunting opportunities for the disabled
  • A researcher taps the secrets of trees to study climate change
  • Studying the movement of Texas Horned Lizards in restored habitats

Additional Upcoming Events