Houston Environmental News Update February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

CEC connects our environmental community. While we know of at least one couple that met (almost 25 years ago!) at a CEC event, most connections forged by CEC are less romantic.

We regularly hear from people who, through CEC, have found jobs, hired employees, volunteered, attended events, participated in public comment opportunities, and more. Do you have a CEC story? Respond to this email and let us know how you have connected with our environmental community.

Banner photo notes: This red maple flowered just in time for Valentine’s Day.
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.

We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. EJ Ingrained – the Practice of Environmental Justice at EPA
    The University of Houston Law Center is proud to welcome Matt Tejada as its Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Lecture Series speaker for Spring 2018, on Thursday, February 15. Dr. Tejada has served since 2013 as the Director of U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, and this presentation will offer his perspective on the past five year’s experiences and recent changes in federal policy. Dr. Tejada is already well known in Houston as the former Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston, where he spearheaded the consolidation of Mothers for Clean Air with the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention into a new powerful advocacy group with a doubled operating budget. He will offer his personal perspectives on how environmental justice has become ingrained into the practices and cultures of federal agencies, and how it will continue to play a role in the future of environmental protection. Learn more and register online.
  2. NPSOT Houston: Natural Resources Management–A Tale of Two Cities (Houston & Pasadena)
    This talk will address how two neighboring cities of different sizes manage natural resources within their boundaries. Both large and small municipalities face challenges and opportunities unique to their size. The discussion will include how the Natural Resources Program of each city has differing roles and how they are able to fund projects and develop partnerships to reach their goals. The speakers will discuss their ongoing habitat restoration projects and the different methods that they use to manage their natural areas for wildlife. Additionally, they will address how each city promotes education and outreach and the various ways that volunteers can be involved in helping to support natural resources in urban areas. Learn  more at npsot.org.
  3. Sea Turtle Patrol Training
    Sea Turtle nesting season runs from April 1 through July 15. Turtle Island Restoration Network and Texas A&M have 11 patrol routes that extend from Rollover Pass on Bolivar, through Galveston to Surfside Beach, Follet’s Island. Patrol shifts are Monday through Saturday, 7AM-9AM and 10AM- Noon. Volunteers must commit to at least one shift per week throughout the entire season. Learn more at 2018seaturtlepatrol.blogspot.com. Upcoming dates for training:

    • Saturday, Feb. 17 in Surfside
    • Thursday, Feb. 22 in Galveston
    • Saturday, Feb. 24 in Bolivar
  4. Workday at Don Green Nature Park
    On Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, join Friends of Don Green Park for a volunteer cleanup. Help Troop 55 Life Scout Jackson Douglas install Eastern Screech Owl boxes and trim the native grasses in the pocket prairie. Bring hedge clippers, water and good cheer. Learn more on the Friends of Don Greene Facebook page.
  5. Fishing 101 at Jesse H. Jones Park
    Join Jones Park staff and volunteers for the opportunity to learn the basics of fishing through the TPWD Jr. Angler program. This course covers basic information on rods & reels, bait and tackle, knot tying, casting, and more. After the class, visitors can try out their new skills fishing on Spring Creek. Ages 6+. Reservations required, beginning Wed., Feb 7, 2018. Participants will need to provide their own fishing tackle, bait, and a sack lunch. Learn more on the Jesse Jones Park Facebook page.
  6. City of Houston to Consider Floodplain Ordinance
    The City of Houston is considering revisions to Chapter 19 to ensure new dwellings are built high enough to save lives and property in the event of flooding. The public is encouraged to provide input on the proposed changes to Chapter 19 through Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Learn more about the proposed changes at houstonrecovers.org. The ordinance will be presented to Council on February 28, 2018.
  7. Houston Wilderness Annual Luncheon
    On Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, Houston Wilderness will have the honor of presenting its annual Wild Life Award to the founding members of the Quality of Life Coalition at the Annual Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club. The award will honor their strong and enduring commitment to enhancing Houston’s quality of life and preserving our natural environment for many generations to experience and enjoy. Learn more at houstonwilderness.org.
  8. Air Alliance Houston State of the Air Gala
    Featured speakers include Former Mayor Bill White and Dr. Robert Bullard, the father of Environmental Justice. Funds raised through this event will support AAH’s programs, allowing them to continue our research, education, and advocacy work to advance the public health of our communities by improving air quality. Learn more at airalliancehouston.org.
  9. NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks Seaside Chats
    Seaside Chats are informal presentations about ocean topics associated with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the Gulf of Mexico. These presentations take place on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in February and March at The Texas A&M Galveston Campus. Learn more at flowergarden.noaa.gov. Participation by Webinar is available. Topics for 2018 are:

    • 2/21/18: Corals: More Than Your Garden Variety presented by Marissa Nuttall, FGBNMS
    • 2/28/18: Okeanos Expedition 2017: Surprising Finds in the Gulf of Mexico presented by Charles Messing, Nova Southeastern University
    • 3/7/18: Reef Resilience: Bleaching, Mortality and Hurricanes, Oh My! presented by Michelle Johnston, FGBNMS
  10. PACE: Liftoff in Houston
    Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, is not yet an everyday term, but it is gaining traction in Houston. Texas PACE enables property owners to finance 100% of their energy saving, water conservation, and distributed generation improvements with little to no capital outlay. PACE enables commercial property owners to lower their operating costs, increase net operating income and the quality of the asset as the idea is what you save in utilities will be greater than your payments.  A voluntary land-secured assessment that is paid off over time, often up to 20 years or more, the City enabled PACE as a way to incentivize sustainability and resilience upgrades to commercial, industrial and multifamily properties. Partnering with US Green Building Council, PACE: Liftoff in Houston is a free education seminar, open to the public. Feb. 28, 2018, 6:00-8:00pm at the Green Building Resource Center. The panel will be discussing the first few successful PACE projects in Houston. CEU’s available. Please RSVP to Steve Stelzer at (832)394-9050 or [email protected]. For more information, visit codegreenhouston.org.
  11. HNPAT Presents Professor, Environmental Lawyer, and Author Jim BlackburnJim-Blackburn-HGAPS
    The Houston Chapter of Native Prairies Association of Texas (HNPAT) has the honor of hosting Jim Blackburn on Feb. 28, 2018, from 6:30-8:30pm, at the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion at Hermann Park. Blackburn will discuss the Texas Coastal Exchange, a system developed at the Severe Storm Prevention, Education and Evacuation from Disaster (“SSPEED”) Center at Rice University, for buying and selling ecological services such as carbon sequestration, water supply enhancement, flood mitigation and fish and wildlife enhancement. Restoration of coastal and inland prairies is a key driver of Texas Coastal Exchange, and this restoration along with certain grazing techniques could revolutionize conservation thinking as well as the farm and ranch economy and the oil and gas industry. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.
  12. Open House for The Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition
    Help protect and sustain Galveston Bay for future generations by providing your input on The Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition draft. Attend anytime between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 5, 2018 for an open house to learn more about the four Plan Priorities identified in draft plan and provide document feedback.  Learn more at www.GalvestonBayPlan.org.
  13. Save the Date: Bayou Greenway Day
    Get to know your bayou at Bayou Greenway Day, a FREE outdoor festival with games, music, giveaways and more. Experience the beauty of the Bayou Greenways while enjoying free activities, hosted by Houston Parks Board and other community organizations. Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Tidwell Park along Halls Bayou Greenway. Learn more at houstonparksboard.org.
  14. Interfaith Environmental Study in 2018
    The Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, a Houston affiliate of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, invites you to join with people of other faiths for an Interfaith Environmental Study in 2018.  A group for the study is forming now and considering several resources for use in the study.  Date/times for the study will be set by group preference. Contact Lisa Brenskelle at [email protected] if you might like to participate or would like more information on the study resources under consideration.
  15. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
    Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 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.

    • El Camino Real: Travel across Texas on the Camino Real de los Tejas, and meet a man on a mission to highlight the history, places, and culture of this centuries-old pathway
    • Songbird Habitat: On an overgrazed piece of land an hour east of Austin, a family’s work in restoring native songbird habitat has gone from a hobby to a passion
    • Night Hike: Join a black light night hike at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin

Additional Upcoming Events