Houston Environmental News Update August 17, 2022

Hurricane Harvey anniversary, Future of State Parks, Sandcastle Competition, Bee Movie, Bullies on the Bayou, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

Five years. Five years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and dumped an unprecedented amount of rainfall on the greater Houston region and causing almost incalculable damage before finally moving eastward.

In many ways, it seems like it was just yesterday. In others, considering all that’s happened since, it feels more like a decade. But one thing is certain – the storm and its impact is something that those of us who lived through it will never forget.

Since then, officials at the federal, state, county and municipal levels, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups have taken steps to reduce the impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly flooding. There have been many proposals, often controversial, including the construction of huge stormwater tunnels, restrictions on development in floodplains, and the immense so-called “Ike Dike.”

There have been smaller-scale efforts as well, such as CEC member organization Exploration Green Conservancy’s expansion of the combined park/detention area in the Clear Lake area, profiled recently by Houston Pubic Media environmental reporter Katie Watkins as part of the station’s “Below the Waterlines” podcast series.

Other CEC member organizations that work on these issues include: AIA Houston, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Bayou Land Conservancy, Coastal Prairie Conservancy, Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), Houston Climate Movement, Native Prairies Association of Texas, Willow Waterhole Greenway Conservancy and many more. For more, check out the searchable, web-based version of our Environmental Resource Guide.

Top image: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team


CEC NOTES

Summer of Action 2022

Our Summer of Action continues! If you missed any of our June community listening sessions and July skill-building meetings, surf over to Houston Climate Movement’s YouTube page to check out the event recordings.

Please register at Eventbrite for new Summer of Action events, including the Houston Community Climate Summit at Rice University on September 10.


Member Organization Spotlight: Brays Bayou Association

This week, we spotlight CEC member organization the Brays Bayou Association. For decades, the Association Association pushed for Project Brays with the foresight to know that the bayou would need additional work to maintain it’s integrity with the growth of the area. Learn more about them and their current activities at their Facebook page.


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is August 12, 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 cwilems@galvbay.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.


Other opportunities:


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


Harris County flood risk reduction funds surveys

The Harris County Community Services Department is collecting feedback from communities on how to prioritize the $750 million in promised CDBG-MIT funds. The Committees recently submitted this letter to request that the Method of Distribution strongly prioritize flood risk reduction projects. You can find out more at HarrisRecovery.org, and the surveys, in English and Spanish, are open throughout the summer.



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.


Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.


Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update August 10, 2022

National Farmers Market Week, Unplugged Adventure, The Big Four, Five for 10 – Buffalo Bayou, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

This year, National Farmers Market Week is celebrated from August 7-13. Fortunately for the greater Houston community, there is no shortage of markets in our area.

Supporting farmer’s markets is a way to support our environment. Considering food typically travels 1,500 miles to arrive at your plate, there are large amounts of natural resources that contribute to this process, which in turn, contributes to pollution and trash (due to extra packaging). However, food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances in addition to using farming techniques that minimize the impact on the earth. While the feel-good features of farmers markets are not guaranteed, you are able to talk to the farmers to get the dirt on their farming practices.

Here is a list of some local markets so you can visit them yourself:

Central City Co-Op – Monday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. on Wed., 3 p.m. on Sun.) While technically not a farmers market, Central City Co-Op, founded in 1998, is Houston’s local, sustainable marketplace and oldest existing organic Co-Op. It offers fresh produce, meat, dairy, and prepared foods from many local farmers. (It’s also a great place to grab a coffee and meet a friend.) 

Sources:

Top image: Urban Harvest


CEC NOTES

Summer of Action 2022

Our Summer of Action is halfway over, and we’re proud to report that the June community listening sessions and July skill-building sessions were a huge success. If you missed it, surf over to Houston Climate Movement’s YouTube page to check out the event recordings.

Next on the agenda: virtual meetings with Members of Congress to advocate for Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation funding in support climate resilience investments in our region. Please register at Eventbrite for these and other Summer of Action events, including the Houston Community Climate Summit at Rice University on September 10.


CEC seeks partner organizations for fall Candidate Forum

CEC is looking for member organizations to partner with us in hosting a Candidate Forum on October 2 focused on environmental issues. If you or your organization is interested in teaming up, please send an email to charlotte.cisneros@cechouston.org.


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is August 12, 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 cwilems@galvbay.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.


Other opportunities:


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


Harris County flood risk reduction funds surveys

The Harris County Community Services Department is collecting feedback from communities on how to prioritize the $750 million in promised CDBG-MIT funds. The Committees recently submitted this letter to request that the Method of Distribution strongly prioritize flood risk reduction projects. You can find out more at HarrisRecovery.org, and the surveys, in English and Spanish, are open throughout the summer.



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.


Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.


Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update August 3, 2022

National Oyster Day, Summer of Action continues, Great American Outdoors Day, OHBAPalooza, Moth Night, Offshore Wind, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

Since there’s a day for everything, it’s only right that Friday, August 5 is National Oyster Day. Designed to celebrate oysters as a delicacy, the event encourages folks to go to their favorite seafood restaurants or the many oyster festivals around the country for a taste of the salty, and – some say, aphrodisiac – mollusks.

(Speaking of festivals, our friends in the Great White North got a jump on us last week with the Halifax Oyster Festival, where a photograph of a certain mascot went viral. Check it out, if you dare.)

Here along the Texas Gulf Coast, of course, we love our oysters. Oyster harvesting is a major contributor to our economy and to Houston’s celebrated food scene. As such, we take an active interest in protecting oysters in our bays and the Gulf of Mexico.

But it turns out that oysters can play a vital role in protecting our coast. As the Galveston Bay Foundation notes, one oyster filters 50 gallons of water a day helping to remove unwanted pollutants.

“That is why Galveston Bay Foundation’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program is so important. It focuses on increasing the population of Eastern oysters by returning shucked oyster shells collected from local restaurants back to Galveston Bay to create new oyster habitat and a healthier Bay for all, ” according to the GBF website. Learn more about the program and other ways they protect our shorelines at galvbay.org or watch this video.

Top image: Galveston Bay Foundation


CEC NOTES

Summer of Action 2022

Our Summer of Action is halfway over, and we’re proud to report that the June community listening sessions and July skill-building sessions were a huge success. If you missed it, surf over to Houston Climate Movement’s YouTube page to check out the event recordings.

Next on the agenda: virtual meetings with Members of Congress to advocate for Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation funding in support climate resilience investments in our region. Please register at Eventbrite for these and other Summer of Action events, including the Houston Community Climate Summit at Rice University on September 10.


CEC seeks partner organizations for fall Candidate Forum

CEC is looking for member organizations to partner with us in hosting a Candidate Forum on October 2 focused on environmental issues. If you or your organization is interested in teaming up, please send an email to charlotte.cisneros@cechouston.org.


Meet new CEC Executive Director Charlotte Cisneros!

Please join the Citizens’ Environmental Community and its members on August 4, from 5-8 p.m., as we publicly welcome new Executive Director Charlotte Cisneros during a Happy Hour at White Rhino, 319 Milby St. in the East End. In addition to connecting over a cold beverage, we will also provide information on upcoming CEC events and programs, and learn how White Rhino contributes to conservation and sustainability efforts. For more information, see the Facebook event.


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is August 12, 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 cwilems@galvbay.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.


Other opportunities:


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Public Meeting

On August 3-4, from approximately 2 – 6:30 pm. Central Time each day, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council will hold a public meeting. This free meeting is open to all members of the public. Individual registration is required and is available through the scheduled end time of the meeting day. The WHEJAC is interested in receiving public comments specific to the development of an annual public performance scorecard and the types of indicators or data that would be useful in a scorecard. This scorecard will provide a method for evaluation and accountability to assess the Federal Government’s progress in addressing current and historic environmental injustice. Learn more and register for the meeting at epa.gov.


Harris County flood risk reduction funds surveys

The Harris County Community Services Department is collecting feedback from communities on how to prioritize the $750 million in promised CDBG-MIT funds. The Committees recently submitted this letter to request that the Method of Distribution strongly prioritize flood risk reduction projects. You can find out more at HarrisRecovery.org, and the surveys, in English and Spanish, are open throughout the summer.



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.


Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.


Continue reading