Environmental News Update September 21, 2016

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I walked to City Hall today from our office in the 6th Ward. I was excited to partake in Urban Harvest’s Farmers Market.URBAN HARVESTI was very excited to help the SPARK School Park Program celebrate as it announced an exciting program to address park equity–and game-changing grants from Houston Endowment and Kinder Foundation. I was also hoping that the beginning of fall might make the 20 minute walk less hot. Sigh. Here’s a little fall pic from Sheldon Lake State Park to help us all think cool thoughts. -Rachel


  1. SPARK Receives $5 Million Grant from Houston Endowment & Kinder Foundation. SPARK is honored to be the recipient of a record $5 million donation from Houston Endowment and Kinder Foundation, to be used to increase park equity in the Houston-Harris County area. Each foundation will contribute $2.5 million dollars over the next three years to construct 30 SPARK parks in “park desert” areas of the county. The City of Houston has also pledged an additional $450,000 in federal Community Block Grant funding toward the project. Twenty-five new parks and five re-SPARKS of existing parks will be included in the initiative. Schools will be selected from park desert sites identified through a park evaluation conducted by The Trust for Public Land. A park desert is defined to be more than one-half mile or a ten-minute walk from an existing park. Learn more at SPARKPARK.org.
  2. Public Meeting: Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan. The meeting will be hosted on September 22 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the Eddie V Gray Wetland Center, 1724 Market Street, Baytown, TX, 77520. At the meeting, the Partnership will discuss the current status of the bayou, the efforts to implement the WPP, and provide feedback on current efforts. We look forward to speaking with you about your ideas, planned activities, and potential partnerships! Light refreshments will be served. Visit  www.cederbayouwatershed.com for more information about the Protection Plan. Email Justin.Bower@h-gac.com to RSVP for the meeting.
  3. Young Adult Sustainability Call for Presenters. The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club is reaching out to young people, from high school to college in the Houston area, that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to sustainability.  This can include a range of interests from urban park preservation or air and water quality mitigation to environmental activism around global climate change.  The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club would like to celebrate the ongoing achievements of these young adults. The group is offering a certificate of recognition and a one-year, free membership to the Sierra Club to individuals who make a 7-10 minute presentation about their sustainability efforts at its February general meeting in order to bring together young people from all parts of the city, and all races and economic groups, to see their common interests in sustaining the planet for future generations. If you have any questions, please email Elizabeth Spike at elizabeth.spike@comcast.net or call 713-256-3589.
  4. NAACP Sea Level Rise Workshop. The Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People invites you to attend a local workshop on climate change on September 24, 2016, at the Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. The workshop will include presentations by Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program; Dan Rizza, of Climate Central, who will demonstrate the Surging Seas web tool; Steve Costello, Chief Resilience Officer (“Dlood Czar”) for the City of Houston; And John Jacob and Steve Mikulencak of the Texas Sea Grant.  Seating is limited, and RSVP is required. Contact Dr. Jacqueline Smith at climate@naacphouston.org to RSVP or for more information. Continue reading

CEC is pleased to welcome CHIP intern Ashley Moore!

Ashley at Centennial Gardens in Hermann Park.Ashley is an intern placed with CEC through the prestigious Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). CHIP offers government internships to University of Houston students each fall and spring semester. Since its inception, the program has placed over 1000 interns in local political offices. Judging by the feedback from participating offices, the program is a resounding success.

For her internship, Ashley will be reviewing Houston City Council agendas, posting environmentally-related agenda items online, and attending City Council meetings.She will also be identifying and compiling policy priorities of CEC’s member organizations. If you are attending the council meeting or have a particular interest in environmental policies, please feel encouraged to contact Ashley at ashley@cechouston.org.

Ashley is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Political Science with an expected graduation date of May 2017. Upon obtaining her B.S. she plans to pursue a policy-related job in Washington D.C. or graduate studies in the field of international relations. Ashley has worked as a canvasser for the Texas Campaign for the Environment. While a full-time student, she owns and operates a small vintage clothing business.

Houston City Council Agenda – September 21, 2016

cityofhoustonThe city will consider the following agenda items at the September 21, 2016, Houston City Council Meeting.

  • 7 – The Director of the Department of Public Works & Engineering will seek approval of final contract for the Holcombe Drainage Project which reduced the risk of structural flooding in the area by improving street conveyance and sheet flow. The project was completed 14.55% under budget at a total cost of $2.9 million.
  • 8 – Public Works & Engineering will seek approval of final contract for the Northeast Water Purification Plant which was part of the City’s rehabilitation and upgrade of the Surface Water Treatment Facilities Program. It was required to meet current and future water demands. The project was completed 2.10% under budget at a total cost of $5.8 million.
  • 9 – Public Works & Engineering will also seek approval of final contract for the Pressure Reducing Valve Station Improvements. The project was required to improve existing water distribution systems and to meet requirements to regulate the withdrawal of groundwater. The project was completed 20.52% under budget at a total cost of $1.7 million.