National Estuaries Week, The Quest for Environmental Justice, Run in the Park, National Electric Drive Week, Take Me Outdoors Houston, Green Jobs, and more
We’re in the midst of National Estuaries Week, which runs September 17-24. The goal of National Estuaries Week is to show members of Congress, federal agencies, and state and local governments the importance of America’s estuaries by showcasing the value they provide communities.
The Galveston Bay Estuary Program, CEC’s newest member organization, is one of two estuary programs in Texas and one of 28 National Estuary Programs in the country. GBEP is the lead organization in the region in sponsoring National Estuaries Week programs and events. GBEP is a non-regulatory program administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, charged with implementing the Galveston Bay Plan, with a mission to preserve Galveston Bay for generations to come. Learn more about GBEP here.
There are a few ways you can get involved in National Estuaries Week – host a clean up, restoration project, or other event at your local estuary. Be sure to register your event at the Restore America’s Estuaries Event Registration Page. Second, share your support for National Estuaries Week on social media using the hashtag #EstuariesWeek and #WadeIn while also tagging your members of Congress.
You can learn more about efforts to preserve and restore Galveston Bay at the Back the Bay website.
Some planned events include Houston Bird Week, continuing through September 24, a week of virtual and in-person events centered around our region’s birds and wildlife. See details in the Fall Bird Migration section below. There are also a variety of Volunteer Opportunities, which you can find below.
Top image: The Coastal Heritage Preserve, taken by Cynthia Clevenger for Galveston Bay Estuary Program
Tell us how we can improve the newsletter!
We recently launched a survey asking subscribers to “Houston Environmental News” what they like about it, and how we can improve it. If you haven’t already completed the survey, please fill it out today to let us know how we can improve the newsletter. Find the survey here.
Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers
Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is September 23, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Bring your coffee (or tea) and ideas for things that are working in your programs (or questions about things that are not). The Zoom call is hosted by regional board members from the Texas Association for Environmental Education. Email Alicia.Mein@pct3.hctx.net or firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom link and any questions.
Virtually Wild! Texas Student Learning Programs
Region 4 Education Service Center partners with the Virtually Wild! Texas team to provide students with engaging and interactive TEKS-aligned virtual environmental education field trips that highlight careers in conservation. These free 45-minute programs are live, and teachers and students are encouraged to engage with natural resources professionals by asking questions. Topics vary by program and have included endangered species, animal adaptations, habitat exploration, wildlife crime investigations, and more! Public, private, homeschool, hospitals, and education sites are welcome to view. See program listings and register at esc4.net.
Deep in the Heart Learning Resources
Deep in the Heart Learning Resources, using videos from the recent full-length documentary, are now available to connect students to Texas’s unique environments, inspire awe in the natural beauty of our state, and lead to actions that support conservation. Each video includes 4 TEKS and NGSS-aligned lessons for K-12 teachers and students. Lessons include directions for the teacher, student documents in English and Spanish, and English and Spanish PowerPoint files. The lessons are aligned with the 2020/2021 revised Science TEKS. Learn more and download the resources at deepintheheartwildlife.com.
- Sept. 27: Ocean Education to Action: Advancing Ocean Literacy
- Oct. 11-15: NAAEE 2022: Educating for Change (Tuscon, AZ)
- Oct. 15: Native Prairies Association of Texas Teacher Workshop
- Oct. 20 Educator Workshop Happy Hour: Nature at Night
- Nov. 10-12: CAST22 (Dallas)
- Dec. 7-9: Texas Children in Nature Summit (Austin)
Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
EPA seeks input on new environmental justice-focused pollution prevention grant opportunity
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold two listening sessions to collect input on the development of a new grant opportunity made possible by the $100 million investment in the agency’s Pollution Prevention program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new grant opportunity will encourage businesses that are working in, or working with, underserved or overburdened communities to adopt P2 practices in a way that advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s environmental agenda. A listening session on September 29 is for all potential applicants and stakeholders. For both listening sessions, EPA is interested in understanding how these grants can be most accessible and useful to applicants. EPA will also seek additional insight into how funded projects can help businesses adopt P2 approaches to address environmental problems in underserved/overburdened communities.
Comment on Draft Regional Flood Plan
The San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group submitted the DRAFT Regional Flood Plan to the Texas Water Development Board on Aug. 1, 2022. The public is invited to provide feedback on the DRAFT Regional Flood Plan and learn more about flood risk, stormwater management, and flood mitigation projects by visiting sanjacintofloodplanning.org. An in-person open house will be held September 27, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine Drive. A virtual open house will be held September 29, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Learn more about the open houses at sanjacintofloodplanning.org.
Public Comment on Harris County Storm Conveyance Tunnels proposal
The Harris County Flood Control District is seeking public comment on the recently released Feasibility Study on the Countywide Large Diameter Tunnels for Stormwater Conveyance, a $30 billion, 133-mile system of 8 large underground tunnels to drain stormwater out of the county’s bayous and streams. Public comment will be accepted through September 30. The next phase of the project will include community meetings. Find more information, including the presentation slides and video of a public meeting held in June, at hcfcd.org.
Comment on Environmental Justice Scorecard
The White House Council on Environmental Quality is taking a next step in the development of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Environmental Justice Scorecard, a first-of-its-kind tool that will assess progress Federal agencies are making to advance environmental justice, including through the Justice40 Initiative. The draft framework for the Environmental Justice Scorecard, on which CEQ and the Office of Management and Budget are inviting feedback and comment, would assess the efforts that Federal agencies are taking toward reducing burdens and harms in communities; delivering benefits to communities; and centering justice in decision making. The public can submit comments on the Scorecard until Sunday, October 2, via the Federal Register.
San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group seeks Flood Districts voting member
The San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group is soliciting nominations for individuals
interested in becoming a voting-member to represent Flood Districts on the San Jacinto
Regional Flood Planning Group. Nominees who have strong affiliation or are endorsed by Flood Districts or Drainage Districts within Region 6 are encouraged to apply. Nominations will be accepted by mail and email to SanJacFldPG@eng.hctx.net until October 9. Mailing address: Claudia Garcia c/o SJRFPG Project Sponsor, Harris County Engineering Department, 1111 Fannin St., 12th Fl., Houston, TX 77002. Find the full solicitation at sanjacintofloodplanning.org.
Public meetings on Harris County bond propositions
On November 8, 2022, voters in Harris County will have the opportunity to vote on three propositions for the issuance of bonds totaling $1.2 billion. This bond package would provide funding for multiple categories, including public safety facilities, roads, drainage and transportation-related programs, and parks and trails. The County is collecting community input through meetings, online tools and comment submissions. This input will be shared with Harris County Precinct staff as they make decisions regarding future projects that could be funded through these bonds. A series of community engagement meetings is being held through October 20 to share information on the bond and gather input from the community. Find the full schedule of meetings and information about other ways to provide input at harriscounty2022bond.org.
Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.