Houston Environmental News Update May 18, 2022

Renewing ties, Welcome to Clean Water Action, The Architecture of Bees, Food Equity, Houston Bike Summit, Bike to Work Day, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

As we all know, the past two years have taken a toll on society in innumerable ways, most especially the incredible loss of life and health. The pandemic has also had a huge impact on all of our social and professional connections.

That’s also true of the nonprofit sector, which relies on the goodwill of members and contributors to accomplish our good work. In the face of these challenges, we at the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition have worked hard to maintain our connections with and among the wider environmental community. We’re also undergoing a change in leadership, which of course presents its own challenges.

While the pandemic is by no means over, CEC wants to make a concerted effort this summer to extend a new invitation to our members, both institutional and individual, to reconnect with us and engage with our offerings – whether through our newsetters, online, or events like Earth Day Houston (such as the highly successful one held in April at Discovery Green) or our Environmental Summit, which after a two-year hiatus will return in-person this fall.

In the weeks ahead, look for a survey of our institutional members to get ideas about how CEC can better serve our member organizations, including such opportunities as appearances on KPFT-FM’s “Open Journal” program. We’ll also be featuring member organizations in profiles in this newsletter. (See an example in our profile of new member organization Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund Texas below.)


CEC welcomes Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund Texas as newest member organization

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is proud to announce that Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund Texas is our newest member organization. Founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. Its stated mission is “to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.”

Clean Water Fund Texas Director Becky Smith states, “We are pleased to join Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to be part of the long-trusted cadre of activists and educators who have restored natural and human health in our region for many decades. I look forward to joining and supporting the ongoing work of CEC’s member groups using our grassroots organizing approach along with policy advocacy and building electoral power at the local, state, and federal levels. We are honored to be part of such a team.” 

Please stay tuned for an invitation for a “CWA Meet & Greet” with outgoing and incoming Texas Directors, David Foster and Becky Smith, at a local Houston watering hole during the first week of June.

In the meantime, Clean Water Action asks you to make comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed Clean Water Act Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning Regulations (Worst Case Discharge Rule). Essentially, the proposal deals with protecting communities and drinking water from chemical spills during extreme weather events. Learn more and make comments through cleanwater.salsalabs.org. EPA is accepting comments through May 27.

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition seeks Executive Director

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is seeking a new, permanent Executive Director to lead the organization, and to design and direct strategies to support the mission of fostering dialogue, education, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Greater Houston Area. Duties for the executive director will include overseeing the administration, financial performance, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include board governance, fundraising, marketing, and community engagement as they fit into the CEC mission. The position reports directly to the Board of Directors. For the full job description and application instructions, visit 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 May 20, 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 at Alicia.Mein@pct3.hctx.net 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.

CAST22 Call for Proposals

The Science Teachers Association of Texas (STAT) has announced the CAST22 Call for Proposals is now open. The annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), presented by the Science Teachers Association of Texas, traditionally features hundreds of breakout sessions presented by educators who generously share their best strategies for inspiring discovery of the world through science. STAT invites you to turn your innovative teaching strategies and lesson plans into proposals for sessions that could benefit educators and students across Texas and beyond. Submit your proposal by Tuesday, May 31 to share your expertise at CAST22, November 10–12 in Dallas.

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


Transportation Policy Council Meeting

On May 20, beginning at 9:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council will hold a monthly meeting. The meeting will include action on the proposed North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP). Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting in-person at the H-GAC offices, 3555 Timmons Lane, or virtually and will be able to make comments on the proposal. For information on the meeting, including how to connect virtually, visit h-gac.com.

San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group open houses

The San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group will be hold a series of open houses in late May. On March 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., an in-person open house will be held at the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands. On May 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., there will be a virtual open house. On May 31, from 5:30-7:30 p.m, there will be an in-person open house at the Clear Lake Shores Clubhouse. Find the public notices and other meeting materials at sanjacintofloodplanning.org.

Policy Assessment for the Reconsideration of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency is making available to the public a draft document titled, Policy Assessment for the Reconsideration of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, External Review Draft (Draft PA). This draft document was prepared as a part of the current reconsideration of the 2020 final decision on the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone. When final, the PA is intended to ‘‘bridge the gap’’ between the scientific and technical information assessed in the 2020 Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants (2020 ISA), as well as any air quality, exposure and risk analyses available in the reconsideration, and the judgments required of the Administrator. The primary and secondary ozone NAAQS are set to protect the public health and the public welfare from ozone and other photochemical oxidants in ambient air. Visit the April 29, 2022, Federal Register announcement for information on how to submit comments. Comments must be received on or before May 31.

2045 Regional Transportation Plan public meetings, survey

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is planning for the region’s next 20 years and wants to forge a new vision that prioritizes safety, convenience, accessibility, and sustainability for the entire Gulf Coast region. It is asking the public to participating in its 2045 regional transportation plan update. You can take the digital survey or register to attend one or more public meetings through June 2.

Air Quality Conformity

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is accepting public comments through June 3 on the proposed air quality conformity determination in the the long-term regional transportation plan (RTP). To submit a public comment, you can: email public comments to: PublicComments@h-gac.com or make public comments by phone at 1-855-363-2516. For more details, visit h-gac.com.

Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.

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Texas Water Resources Institute seeks Research Assistant

The Texas Water Resources Institute, a part of the Texas A&M University System, is seeking a Research Assistant who will provide project planning, development, management, and implementation of research and education projects for the Institute. Among other responsibilities, the Research Institute will help provide support and eventual leadership for watershed-based data collection, assessment, planning, and management programs; and participate in and eventually lead field-based water quality and quantity monitoring trips, equipment preparation and maintenance activities, and data management activities in support of watershed-based planning efforts. For the full job description and to apply, visit myworkdayjobs.com.