Houston Environmental News Update September 5, 2018

Connecting our environmental community since 1971.

Incorporated in 1971, the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is an alliance of over 130 diverse nonprofit, governmental, professional, conservation, advocacy, and educational organizations whose activities impact our environment and quality of life in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. One of our most-prominent founders, environmental activist Terry Hershey, helped incorporate the CEC because she recognized the need for communication and environmental advocacy in the Houston area.

Our mission is to foster education, dialogue, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. Our vision is an environmental community recognized as a vital part of the fabric of our society.

We connect concerned individuals and community leaders with opportunities to become involved, take action, and make a difference. We share, support, and enhance their efforts and environmental advocacy. We do this through our programs, which include events that enhance understanding, and publications that give a balanced perspective on environmental issues.

Events like our annual Greater Houston Environmental Summit, the Houston Green Film Series and Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour, and Earth Day Houston in partnership with Discovery Green provide unique opportunities for experts and the public to communicate and collaborate on the critical environmental challenges we face today.

Our weekly Houston Environmental News Update provides some 5,000 subscribers with the latest environmental news, events, and job opportunities. Our Environmental Resource Guide, the only publication of its kind in the region, details the missions and activities of hundreds of organizations working to protect and improve the environment.

An indispensable link to the environmental community, the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition has provided opportunities to create a better world for over 45 years.

The banner image above is a collage of photographs from our archives at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center at the Julia Ideson Building of Houston Public Library, which contains materials from the late 1960s to 1986. Additional records of the CEC are included in the special collections at the Houston History Archives, located and managed by the University of Houston. For additional historical information about the CEC, please visit the CEC records at the Houston History Archives. Next week, we’ll be talking about pirates and water quality.


Houston Green Film Series
Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, for a screening of Dirt Rich, which explores the connection between regenerative agriculture and climate change (see the trailer). Dirt Rich shifts focus from greenhouse gas emissions to carbon draw-down, which many believe is the only viable solution for reversing the effects of runaway global warming in a timely manner. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7 p.m. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival
Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners on October 17, for “Wild About Houston, A Green Film Festival,” to showcase local short films telling environmental stories. Email [email protected] if you have a film to submit.

6:30 p.m. conversation, networking, and a light meal
7:00 p.m. film screening, followed by a panel discussion. Panelists to be announced.
Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. For more information, see the Facebook event.
And be sure to mark your calendar for January 30 & 31, 2019, when we’ll be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour.

CEC Seeks Board & Committee Members
The CEC is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on our 2019 Board of Directors and on board committees (programs, publications, membership, governance, finance, and development). Our Governance Committee will be hosting informational open houses for potential board members September 24 and October 22, 2018. If you are interested, please send an email with your résumé to [email protected]

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. Researchers examine 2016 mortality event at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
    In July 2016, something mysterious happened at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Recreational divers at East Flower Garden Bank noticed an area where corals and other organisms were dead and covered in white bacterial mats. Sanctuary researchers immediately notified the scientific community and began investigations. In February 2018, 40 researchers from a variety of disciplines met to discuss their findings. Though no single cause was determined, everyone agrees that low dissolved oxygen levels were a contributing factor. A report summarizing the symposium conclusions is now available on the National Marine Sanctuaries website. (This summarizes a Sanctuary press release.)
  2. Documentary on Jim Blackburn in the works
    Houston environmental attorney and Rice University professor Jim Blackburn is the subject of a documentary film, Calming the Waters, being produced by Documentary Alliance. The film will not only document his career, but also examine his creative approaches to habitat preservation and restoration. Plans are to submit the film for a Texas PBS release and to distribute free-of-charge program DVDs to schools and environmental nonprofits. For more information and production updates, visit calmingthewaters.com or call (713) 666-2504.
  3. Texas Sea Grant releases “Texas Fish and Game in a Changing Climate”
    Texas Sea Grant. part of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, recently released the publication “Texas Fish and Game in a Changing Climate.” Written by Wendy Gordon, Ph.D., this 4-page resource is aimed specifically toward people who enjoy to hunt and fish in Texas and provides an introduction to climate change and its impacts on our environment.
  4. Park to Port Bike Ride early registration ends Sept. 6
    This year’s Park to Port Bike Ride, set for October 6, is a 20-mile round-trip ride from Hermann Park’s Bayou Parkland along the Brays Bayou Greenway trail to the Port of Houston, where there will be a turn-around party at Hidalgo Park. Participants will then ride back to Hermann Park for a celebratory Post-Ride Party. The ride is open to riders of all levels and is not a race. Early registration ends Sept. 6, and regular registration is Sept. 7-Oct. 4. For more information, visit hermannpark.org.
  5. Children’s Environmental Health Symposium registration ends Sept. 6
    The Children’s Environmental Health Symposium will be held Sept. 13-14, 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dallas – Love Field. Physicians, mid-level providers, registered nurses, social workers, public health practitioners, community health workers, policy makers, academics, and others will be informed about the critical links between the environment and health, which is an essential step towards improving health outcomes. Registration ends September 6. For more information, visit elpaso.ttuhsc.edu.
  6. UH Sutainability Meetup: Soil Biology and Conservation
    On September 6, 2018, from 3-4 p.m., the University of Houston Office of Sustainability will host a Meetup featuring soil expert and Memorial Park conservation program manager Daniel Millikin, who will discuss soil biology, composting and conservation. Everyone is invited to the event, which will be held at the Student Center South, Heights Room 224. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  7. Memorial Park Conservancy Lawn Party
    On September 6, 2018, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Memorial Park Conservancy will host a free Lawn Party with games for all ages, free beer and food trucks. Party-goers will be able to learn about the work that the Conservancy has been doing on behalf of the park. The event will be dog-friendly. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  8. Seeing Harvey: Personal Stories, Public Responses
    On September 6, 2018, FotoFest International will open Seeing Harvey: Personal Stories, Public Responses, focusing on the widespread and sustained influence Hurricane Harvey had on the region’s landscape, infrastructure, and communities, and the resilience and fortitude of those affected. It includes images from professional photojournalists, artists, and members of the general public. It is exhibited concurrently with DELUGE, consisting of a video installation, recovered artifacts, and images of Houston flood survivors, and their environs, by international photographer Gideon Mendel. The exhibition runs through November 3.
  9. Natives Nursery Open House
    On September 8, 2018, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Houston Audubon will host the first Natives Nursery Open House at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. There will be a presentation about the nursery, the native plants grown there, and how to plant with natives. Native plant experts will answer questions and help attendees select the best plants for their yard. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  10. Public meeting on Harvey recovery funds distribution
    On Sept. 10, 2018, from 10 a.m.-noon, the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host a public meeting at its headquarters, 3555 Timmons Lane, seeking input on Method of Distribution for approximately $241 million in Harvey recovery funds to support infrastructure projects and home buyouts/acquisitions outside the City of Houston and Harris County. The funds are part of the first round of Community Development Block Grant funds provided by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to support long-term recovery in Texas. Specific information, and city and county level allocations, can be viewed at h-gac.com.
  11. Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable
    On Sept. 10, 2018, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons Lane, will host a Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable, featuring representatives from Asakura Robinson with an overview of the MD Anderson Prairie project; representatives from League City with an overview of the Dr. Ned & Fay Dudney Clear Creek Nature Center Management Plan; and more. For more information and to RSVP, visit h-gac.com.
  12. Lone Star Healthy Streams workshop
    On Sept. 11, 2018, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Lone Star Healthy Streams program, which works to protect of the health of Texans from bacterial contamination of waterways originating from livestock operations and feral hogs, will host a workshop for farmers, ranchers, and landowners at the Waller County Community Center, 21274 FM 1098, Hempstead. For more information and to register, visit lshs.tamu.edu.
  13. Summer Salon: Smart Cities
    On Sept. 12, 2018, beginning at 7:30 a.m., the Center for Houston’s Future will host its final 2018 Summer Salon on “Following Houston’s Future.” This edition, titled “Follow the Big Ideas: Smart Cities,” will feature a panel of expert speakers. The event will be at The Junior League, 1811 Briar Oaks Lane. For more information and to register, visit centerforhoustonsfuturedev.org.
  14. “Food Access & Resiliency Post-Harvey” discussion
    On Sept. 12, 2018, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., the Houston Food System Collaborative will host a discussion  on the impact Harvey had on food access and production in our communities and how to prepare for the future with panelists from the Houston Food Bank, Children At Risk, the City of Houston, and local agriculturalists. The event will be held at the Houston Food Bank, 535 Portwall Street. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  15. Lunch Bunch: Behind the Scenes at a Botanic Garden
    On Sept. 12, 2018, from noon-2 p.m., the Mercer Botanical Garden Center will host a free brown-bag lunch presentation in which Suzzanne Chapman, botanical collections curator, will discuss the herbarium collection, what makes up the collection, and the details it reveals about plants, habitats, and environmental changes over time. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  16. HARC People & Nature Series: Innovative Resilience Funding
    On Sept. 12, 2018, from 6-8:30 p.m., the Houston Advanced Research Center will continue its People & Nature Speaker Series with a conversation among six national thought leaders on the topic of innovative resilience financing and the role that the public and private sectors can play to develop new community partnerships and diversified resilience funding mechanisms in Greater Houston. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit harcresearch.org.
  17. Buffalo Bayou East Sector Community Meetings
    On Sept. 12 and 13, Buffalo Bayou Partnership will host separate public meetings to receive input on priorities for the development the 5-mile stretch of the bayou from U.S. 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. The meetings will be held at The DeLuxe Theater (Sept. 12) and Ripley House Community Center (Sept. 13). For more information, visit buffalobayou.org.
  18. TPWD Recreation Grants Public Meeting
    On Sept. 13, 2018, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will host a public meeting to discuss and assess evaluation criteria for awarding funds through the Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) Grant and for Local Park Grants. Public feedback will assist TPWD in keeping the evaluation criteria relevant for future grant applicants. Those unable to attend a public meeting will have the opportunity to participate in an online webinar. The meeting will be held at the TPWD Region 4 headquarters, 14200 Garrett Rd. For more information (including registering for the webinars), visit cechouston.org.
  19. North Houston Highway Improvement District Open House (West Side)
    On Sept. 13, 2018, from 5:30-7 p.m., the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department invites the public to an Open House at the Houston Public Library-Central Library for central city neighborhoods – Sixth Ward, Fourth Ward, Midtown & Downtown – adjacent to a segment of TxDOT’s North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The public is encouraged to participate in the planning of future opportunities that will enhance the highway corridor and re-connect Houston’s neighborhoods with new parks, trails and civic amenities. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  20. Texas Adopt-A-Beach Fall 2018 Cleanup
    On Sept. 15, 2018, the Texas General Land Office is hosting a set of seasonal beach cleanups at beaches along the Gulf Coast, including several in the Houston-Galveston region. Among them:  Quintana Beach, Surfside Beach, Bolivar Peninsula/Crystal Beach, Galveston Island, Morgan’s Point, McFaddin Beach/Sabine Pass, Sea Rim State Park, Matagorda Beach, Port Aransas, and Texas City Prairie Preserve. Find more information and register at eventbrite.com.
  21. Drive Electric Week event at IKEA
    On Sept. 15, 2018, from 9:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. the Houston Renewable Energy Group, in conjunction with Drive Electric Week and the Houston Electric Auto Association, will allow the public to experience many different types of electric vehicles, and take tours IKEA’S 3,000-panel rooftop solar generation plant at 7810 Katy Freeway. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  22. 2018 Prairies & Pollinators: A Regional Celebration
    From late September through early November, the Coastal Prairie Partnership is sponsoring “2018 Prairies & Pollinators: A Regional Celebration,” a set of events allowing attendees to learn about and help plant pollinating plants in prairies across the region. The first event will be the Wildscapes Workshop, presented by the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas on September 22. For a full listing of all the planned events, visit prairiepartner.org.
  23. 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.

    • Recreational opportunities at Goliad State Park & Historic Site
    • Owls make their home in El Paso’s underground spaces
    • Creating a massive database of marine animals
  24. Additional Upcoming Events