Environmental News Update, October 12, 2016

Link to mailed newsletter on Constant Contact.


Do you ever feel like the environmental community offers too many events in October? The plethora of opportunities to get involved is a good problem to have, but sometimes it interferes with newsletter deadlines. (Sorry for the late delivery!)

I spent a large part of today at the Bayou Preservation Association’s 50th anniversary Water Quality Symposium being inspired by decades of progress and opportunities for improvement. Galveston Bay was mentioned many times during the day, since things  (water, invasive species, plastic bags, pollutants) that go into our bayous often make it to Galveston Bay. “Back the Bayous, Back the Bay.”

The image above is part of the Back the Bay campaign of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program. As a non-regulatory program administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, GBEP is charged with implementing The Galveston Bay Plan – a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for Galveston Bay. GBEP’s CCMP has provided successful stewardship of the Galveston Bay Estuary for more than 20 years, but it is now time to update the Plan. Over the course of the one-year planning process, GBEP, with support from the Houston-Galveston Area Council, will engage stakeholders in the Galveston Bay Estuary to obtain feedback on existing Galveston Bay Plan priorities, identify additional needs not included in previous plan iterations, and present draft content for public comment. We all have the opportunity to participate in this process, starting at a meeting on October 26, 2016. Learn more by scrolling down, or by visiting www.galvestonbayplan.org.


  1. Willow Waterhole Park Survey. Please help The Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy service the community better by filling out their park activities survey. Click here for the survey.
  2. Citizens Climate Lobby Conroe Chapter Monthly Meeting The meeting will be hosted Oct. 12, 2016, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at the Central Branch Library, 104 I-45 North, Conroe TX 77301. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), is a non-partisan, grass-roots organization that works to create political will for climate solutions by building constructive and respectful working relationships with members of Congress. CCL advocates for Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D), a revenue-neutral, market-based carbon fee climate change solution, with all revenue returned directly to households. Email  Bill Bray to RSVP to ten.labolgcbs@yarb.llib, or cal Bob Jones, (936) 697-7125. Visit  www.citizensclimatelobby.org for more information about the organization, and how to join a chapter.
  3. Sims Bayou Greenway Groundbreaking Celebration. On October 13, 2016, join Houston Parks Board, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Council Member Larry Green, District K, in celebrating the groundbreaking of Sims Bayou Greenway. As part of Bayou Greenways 2020, Sims Bayou Greenway will connect people to parks, nature and each other. Houston Parks Board is excited to provide the surrounding communities with additional parkland and greenspace to enjoy. Lean more at houstonparksboard.org.
  4. 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 thatsjoesmail@GMAIL.com for inquiries. Visit www.meetup.com/HoustonSierraClub for more information about the Houston area Sierra Club.
  5. My Houston 2040: Jill Wood and Lawrence Spence. Jill Wood directs the adventure playground at The Parish School, one of only a handful of site-based adventure playgrounds in the U.S. She’s in awe of what children can do when given the time, safety training and permission to build their own play space out of real tools, scavenged construction material, recyclables, fabric and rope. Lawrence Spence teaches Environmental Science at Westside High School. He’s developing “Headwaters to Baywaters,” an environmental science curriculum based in our local history and ecosystems, taking his students out to study the real world of our region’s watersheds and prairies of the west, through the bayous and all the way to the bay and Gulf Coast. Thursday, October 13, 2016. My Houston 2040 is a monthly Happy Hour meeting of Houston’s urban, eco, creative and hungry minds. Learn more on the MH2040 facebook page.
  6. Houston Food Policy Workgroup: Blackwood Land Institute. On October 14, 2016, join the Houston Food Policy Workgroup for a tour and talk at the beloved Blackwood Educational Land Institute. From noon to 1:00 pm, discuss local agritourism, followed by a guided tour of Blackwood and a chance to explore. Learn more on the HFPW event page on facebook.
  7. Bike Around the Bay. Galveston Bay Foundation invites you to join them on October 15 & 16, 2016, for the tenth annual Bike Around the Bay, a two-day 170-mile fully supported ride around Galveston Bay. This unique cycling event takes riders in a complete loop around the largest estuary in Texas (and one of the biggest in North America). Register to ride or volunteer at galvbay.org.
  8. Hermann Park to Port Bike Ride. The third annual Park to Port Bike Ride will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The 20-mile, out-and-back ride will start in Hermann Park and travel east along the Bayou Greenway trail on Brays Bayou to the Port of Houston. Riders can enjoy a turn-around party, sponsored by the Port of Houston Authority, at Brady’s Landing, and a post-ride celebration at Hermann Park. Learn more and register at hermannpark.org.
  9. Buffalo Bayou Captivating the Imagination: KBR Kids Day. Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership and KBR for free family fun at the 10th annual KBR Kids Day at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. Featuring hands-on learning opportunities from 30 non-profit partners as well as live music and entertainment this year’s Kids Day will surely captivate your child’s imagination! Explore the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area, take $2 boat rides on BBP’s pontoon boat Spirit of the Bayou, and rent bikes or kayaks from our park concessionaires. Every Kid in a Park Passports for Nature activities will be a fun way to get your family or school connected to all Houston-area parks. Teachers, special information will be available on how to connect to cool field trips too! Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Learn more at buffalobayou.org.
  10. 2016 Prairies & Pollinators Month – Greater Houston. Join the Coastal Prairie Partnership–and over fourteen partners–for a month of special hikes, plantings, and other events. The celebration is from October 7, 2016 to November 12, 2016, at multiple locations around the region. For a full calendar, including details about the following events, visit prariepartner.org:
    • Oct. 15 – Prairie Pandemonium at Armand Bayou Nature Center. Click here for registration and event information. 
    • Oct. 22 – Urban Prairies by Light Rail. Join Jaime Gonzalez, KPC Community Conservation Director, in exploring the city’s future and current urban pocket prairies. Click here to register
  11. 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/.
  12. Houston Parks Board Annual Luncheon. The Houston Parks Board invites you to the Houston Parks Board’s 2016 Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, from 11:30 to 1:00 pm. The event will be outdoors on Hermann Square in front of City Hall, a unique and beautiful setting for a special event that brings Houstonians together in celebration of our parks. Thanks to all of the excitement surrounding the amazing work being accomplished in our parks and along our bayous through Bayou Greenways 2020, the Houston Parks Board anticipates a sell-out crowd. The theme of this year’s luncheon is Connecting Neighborhoods, Transforming Houston. Bayou Greenways 2020 is not only making Houston a more beautiful and healthier place to be, it’s also connecting neighborhoods to one another – and residents within neighborhoods to one another. Learn more and purchase tickets at houstonparksboard.org.
  13. San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site Public Comment Meeting. The EPA has announced their Proposed Plan for Clean Up of the SJRWPSF site. In short, the EPA is proposing that paper mill waste in the pits located north of I-10 with concentrations of dioxin exceeding the preliminary remediation goal of 200 ng/kg (parts per trillion) be removed. That corresponds to the removal of approximately 152,000 cubic yards of material from those northern pits that lie in or adjacent to the river. The EPA is also proposing the removal of 50,000 cubic yards of waste material with dioxin concentrations above the preliminary remediation goal of 240 ng/kg from the southern impoundments located south of I-10. EPA will host a public comment meeting at the Highlands Community Center in Highlands, Texas at 6:30 pm on October 20, 2016. You can learn more on the EPA website. Additional information is available on the Galveston Bay Foundation’s SJRP web page.
  14. Galveston Bay Plan Revision Open House. Help protect and preserve the Galveston Bay Estuary by attending the Galveston Bay Plan Revision Open House on October 26, 2016, from 4PM – 6PM at the Nessler Civic Center in Texas City. The Galveston Bay Estuary Program (GBEP) is one of 28 National Estuary Programs designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect and restore our nation’s estuaries. GBEP is required to maintain a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) to address priority problems in the Galveston Bay Estuary. GBEP’s CCMP has provided successful stewardship of the Galveston Bay Estuary for more than 20 years, but it is now time to update the Plan. Attend anytime to learn more about the priorities defined in the original  Galveston Bay Plan and Strategic Action Plan, and provide priority rankings for the Galveston Bay Plan revision. Learn more about the project at www.GalvestonBayPlan.org.
  15. STAR Master Composter Program. Thursday through Sunday, October 26 – 30 , 2016 at the Green Building Resource Center. Certified YardWise Master Composters (MC) complete a 20-hour training course by approved MC instructors, as well as 20 hours of volunteer community service in public compost education and awareness (within six months of completing the course). MC training courses will provide at least 16 hours of classroom time to be supplemented with four hours of hands-on training. Learn more and register at greenhoustontx.gov.
  16. Milkweed Propagation Workshop. October 26, 2016, 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program is hosting a Milkweed Propagation Workshop at the HPARD greenhouse 6501 Memorial Drive between E. Memorial Loop Drive and Crestwood Drive. The workshop presenter will be Barbara Keller-Willy, Executive Director of Monarch Gateway. Participants will learn how to propagate milkweed and take home milkweed seed to grown on their own. To register, contact kelli.ondracek@houstontx.gov.
  17. Clinton Park Prairie Planting. October 29, 2016, 9am to 11am. Join the Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program in installing locally native plants into a ten acre prairie restoration site at Clinton Park located at 200 Mississippi St. Volunteers will need closed-toed shoes or rubber boots and clothes that can dirty. Gloves and work tools will be provided.  To register, contact kelli.ondracek@houstontx.gov.
  18. Houston Green Office Challenge. The 2016 Houston Green Office Challenge has launched! Once again, the City of Houston is challenging commercial building property managers, property owners and office tenants to improve the environmental and economic performance of their business operations. The Houston Green Office Challenge helps participants achieve strategies that reduce energy use, waste and water use, and provides an exciting way for businesses to make Houston a greener place to live, work and play. Learn more at houstongoc.org. Note, as this notice is going to press, CEC is at the top of the leaderboard!
  19. 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!
  20. Lighten Your Footprint Class.  What ways are you inspired to make changes in your lifestyle, your neighborhood, workplace or the Houston area that offer more care for the earth, care for people and creates community?  This class will be hosted on Oct. 29, 2016, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, at Finca Tres Robles, 257 N. Greenwood St. Houston TX 77011. Through storytelling of active projects in the Houston area, Urban Harvest will discuss and work together on ideas for projects, large or small that you may have envisioned.This workshop is intended to empower those attending  to go forward with their ideas of how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The instructors have a variety of backgrounds in environmental activism, permaculture designers, equal rights activism, leaders in the local food community, vegetable and fruit tree gardening educators, urban farms and community gardens development and more. Please RSVP at UrbanHarvest.org. Email lilly@urbanharvest.org with any questions. 
  21. Intersections 2016. Intersections 2016 is a cross-disciplinary conference of quality of life, health, equity, development and environmental issues facing our growing region. The goal is to foster synergistic thinking and collaboration by bringing different people together, and to demystify the mechanisms for creating sustainable change in Houston. November 10 – 12, 2016. CEC is proud to be a part of this conference presented by Houston Tomorrow. Register at intersections2016.org.
  22. University of Houston Sustainability Fest: Creative Expressions Contest. Deadline to submit work is Oct. 31, 2016. Sustainability combines social, environmental and economic aspects that challenge us to thoughtfully, justly and responsibly address the longevity and success of all living things on this planet. Contestants may submit a written work or visual art piece that addresses an aspect of sustainability. Written pieces include but are not limited to: poetry, short stories, articles, letters and songs, while visual works include but are not limited to: photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and digital art. Students, faculty and staff are invited to submit their original work to sustainability@uh.edu by Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at 5 p.m. Please visit www.uh.edu/Sustainability for full information on competition rules. The Sustainability Fest will be Nov. 7, 2016, at University of Houston Butler Plaza, from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Attendance to the event is free and open to the public. Learn more on the UH Sustainability Facebook Page.
  23. Call for Donated Auction Items. The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting their Annual Auction on Dec. 8, 2016. They are seeking auction items to be donated as early as possible. For more information about the auction and how to donate, please contact one of the following: Frank Blake at frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896 (central Houston); Art Browning at art.browning@gmail.com or 281-728-6327 (Cypress area), or Lorraine Gibson at 281-384-4104, or raineygib@aol.com  (Pearland area).
  24. 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 elizabeth.spike@comcast.net or call 713-256-3589.
  25. Wilderness Wonders Fall Luncheon 2016 The Woods Project will host their Annual Luncheon on Nov. 1, 2016, at the Junior League, 1811, Briar Oaks Lane, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. In this centennial of the National Park Service, we invite you to be inspired by The Woods Project students as they share stories about their life-changing summer experiences. Register here.
  26. Additional Upcoming Events:


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 MVillafranca@compycycle.net, or via phone, 713-869-6700. For a full list of acceptable items, visit www.montrosedistrict.org.
  4. Japhet Creek Clean-ups. Japhet Creek Nature Conservancy is hosting several creek clean-ups this fall, including October 22 and November 12 & 19, 2016. Learn more about how to help at japhetcreek.org.
  5. Annual America Rose Society’s South Central Convention and Rose Show The Houston Rose Society wlll host the convention Oct. 21 – 23, 2016, at the Hampton Inn, 4741 East Sam Houston Parkway South, Pasadena. This will be a three day event, hosted by the largest rose society in the United States, the Houston Rose Society. Click here for the registration form.
  6. Future of Energy Forum lunch. The Center for Environmental Policy at American University;  the Center for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Houston; and the Texas Clean Energy Coalition invite you to a discussion on Texas’ energy future on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 12:00-2:00 pm, at the Houstonian Hotel.  Pat Wood, former chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will moderate, and Bill Reilly, former EPA Administrator, will serve as a discussant, along with other experts. Learn more and RSVP at eventbrite.com.
  7. 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.
  8. Texas Commission for Environmental Quality Recycling Survey. Deadline: October 31, 2016. Please aid the TCEQ  by participating in a survey for a study on the current and potential economic impacts of recycling, including state and local revenue that may be considered lost because recyclable materials are not recycled. Results will be included in the TCEQ report, “Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis.” The study is required for the Texas House Bill 2763 of the 84th Texas Legislature. Please visit www.tceq.texas.gov for a full summary of the survey. Click here for a direct link to take the survey.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
    • Powderhorn Legacy *
    • Preaching Taxidermy
    • Caterpillars
  11. Additional Upcoming Events