Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour January 29, 2015

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WSFF LogoJoin the CEC on January 29, 2015, at the River Oaks Theatre as it hosts the first Houston screening of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour! Wild & Scenic On Tour partners with environmental groups, college and university groups, nature centers, and museums across the country to host the festival as a way to outreach into their communities and bring together an audience of diverse affiliations. On Tour hosts bring the issues featured in these films to the local level to show how global issues affect everyone.The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is the largest film festival of its kind in the United States and serves as a national platform for local environmental advocacy.

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://wild-scenic-cechouston.eventbrite.com/?aff=efbevent

Thank you to our local sponsors Ruggles Green, Hydroshack Hydroponics, and Environment Associates.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Learn more.

84th Texas Legislature Regular Session update, January 27, 2015

Brackish groundwater, desert plants, traffic, hunting, wastewater, renewable energy, metal recycling, the GLO… and notably a resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Texas A&M Forest Service.

House Bills

HB 30: Relating to the development of brackish groundwater.
HB 798: Relating to the sale or transportation of certain desert plants; creating an offense and providing penalties; providing authority to impose a fee.
HB 801: Relating to planning for the use of and liability resulting from prescribed burns by the Parks and Wildlife Department.
HB 802: Relating to the provision of a transportation allotment under the foundation school program based on the price of gasoline.
HB 813: Relating to the operation and movement of motorcycles during periods of traffic congestion.
HB 814: Relating to posting notice of a meeting of a governmental body on the Internet instead of in a newspaper.
HB 821: Relating to the requirements of certain minors applying for a hunting or fishing license.
HB 836: Relating to the development of brackish groundwater.
HB 848: Relating to qualifications for a backflow prevention assembly tester license.
HB 849: Relating to an exemption from the sales tax for firearms and hunting supplies for a limited period.
HB 856: Relating to Internet broadcasts of open meetings held by the policy board of a metropolitan planning organization.
HB 857: Relating to the legislature’s goals for renewable electric generating capacity.
HB 862: Relating to requiring an electric utility to notify certain landowners of its application for a certificate of convenience and necessity for a proposed transmission line facility.
HB 876: Relating to the method of payment for regulated material purchased by a metal recycling entity.
HB 898: Relating to the confidentiality of certain water well reports.
HB 911: Relating to the composition of the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
HB 912: Relating to the dismissal of protests against certain decisions and actions of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding wastewater discharge permits.
HB 928: Relating to state and local planning for and responses to drought.
HB 930: Relating to water well drillers and pump installers; authorizing fees.
HB 936: Relating to the operation of a neighborhood electric vehicle.
HB 939: Relating to unenforceable restrictive covenants regarding standby electric generators affecting residential homes

Senate Bills

SB 329: Relating to state and local planning for and responses to drought.
SB 341: Relating to the allocation of certain motor vehicle sales tax revenue to the state highway fund and to the uses of that revenue.
SB 350: Relating to the duties of the General Land Office and other state agencies with regard to the accounting for and management of real property owned by the state.
SB 356: Relating to the creation, purpose, implementation, and funding of the County Park Beautification and Improvement Program.

Senate Resolutions
SR 30: Recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Houston Environmental News Update January 27, 2015

Apparently, we aren’t the only people excited about Thursday’s screening of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival: we’re sold out and wait-list only!

The other big news is that the Texas Legislative Session is in full swing. Keep up with proposed legislation in our newsletter and on our website. Parks seem to be the ‘hot topic’ in terms of environmental legislation so far. A Houston contingent is heading to Austin on Wednesday for a day of education relating to parks and bayous–and it’s not too late to join.

CEC NOTES

  1.  Wild & Scenic Film Festival January 29, 2015

    Join the CEC on January 29, 2015, at the River Oaks Theatre as it hosts the first Houston screening of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour!

     

    The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, North America’s largest environmental film festival, will bring two hours of beautiful, educational and inspiring short films to the big screen at River Oaks Theatre on January 29th from 6:30 – 9:00pm. We have selected nine films that cover a variety of issues, and it is our hope to use the festival to increase community understanding of the connection we share with the planet and our roles as stewards of the environment in which we live.

    Big thanks to our local & national sponsors:
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  2. Save the Dates. In addition to the film festival, the CEC has some great events planned for next year, and we hope you can join us. More details are coming soon, but for now, please save the dates!
    • March 3, 2015: CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit
    • April 1, 2015: Environmental Poetry and Puns

COALITION NOTES

  1. Keep Hermann Park Green: Plant a Tree. Join Hermann Park Conservancy on January 31, 2015, from 9am-noon, for a great volunteer opportunity in honor of Arbor Day. Come dig in and plant some trees! Individuals and families are welcome and no tree planting experience is necessary. Tools will be provided but you can bring your own. The trees have been donated by CenterPoint Energy and the Apache Corporation. For more information, e-mail volunteer@hermannpark.org.
  2. CWI Workshop: Water Quality Case Studies. Please join H-GAC for its first CWI workshop of 2015 on January 28, 2015 from 1:30-4pm at H-GAC. The topic is Water Quality Case Studies. Speakers will discuss case studies regarding WWTF bacteria sampling, OSSF tracking, and use of cameras to assist in environmental investigations. Speakers include Heather Maloney of TCEQ, Andrew Isbell of Walker County, Stephen Dicker of the Houston Police Department, and Erin Livingston of H-GAC. Register at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com.
  3. Net-Zero Residential in Houston. What is Net-Zero Construction? Is it affordable? Does it mean the house is off the grid? What is the Net part? David Goswick of Houze and Jim Waller of Solaris have experience with new construction to share with you. Brent Farrell of ReCraft has experience with renovations. And Richard Morgan will discuss what SPEER (the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource) is doing to get this technology mainstream in Texas. Learn about Net-Zero on January 28, 2015, 6-8pm at the City of Houston Permitting Center. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to steve.stelzer@houstontx.gov or 832-394-9050. Learn more at www.greenhoustontx.gov.
  4. Cypress Creek Trails Master Plan – Public Meeting. Undertaken by a group of local Municipal Utility Districts and other public and private partners, the Cypress Creek Trails Master Plan’s goals are to identify the most suitable routes for future trail corridors along Cypress Creek from Eldridge Parkway to Cutten Road. Encompassing more than 13 square miles, the Plan also includes recommendations for multi-use trail connections from adjacent neighborhoods, schools, office and commercial areas. The Plan will serve as a guide for future trail development and identifies the preferred trail location, prospective funding partners, and probable costs. The Plan is a piece of the overlying Cypress Creek Greenway Project. Come out on January 28, 2015, 7-9pm, to the Lone Star College for a public meeting to review the preliminary recommendations. Read more at www.chron.com.
  5. Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership Meeting. The Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership is a group of local stakeholders from the communities surrounding Cedar Bayou with the purpose is to seek voluntary ways to restore and protect our local waterway. The next meeting will be on January 29, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm, at the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center. Never been to a meeting? It’s not to late to get involved! This meeting is open to anyone who has an interest in the public health, economy, and environment of the Cedar Bayou watershed, and shaping decisions affecting the water quality in the community. Learn more at www.cedarbayouwatershed.com.
  6. Artist Boat Habitat Restoration Events. Artist Boat will be hosting two habitat restoration events at the Dellanera RV Park and Seascape Condominiums in Galveston on January 30, 2015 (10am-2:30pm), and February 1, 2015 (1-5:30pm). These events are open to anyone who would like to spend some time outside at the beach and help plant a newly constructed dune. Bare dunes are subject to more erosion, which damages the natural beach habitat and makes the property behind the dunes more susceptible to damage from storms. Not only will these events allow you to cross “saving Galveston’s dunes” off your bucket list, but they’re also great opportunities for community engagement and environmental stewardship. Bring a lunch, some sunscreen, and your families! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for an event, please contact Artist Boat’s Habitat and Stewardship Program Manager, Nate Johnson, at njohnson@artistboat.org or at (409) 770-0722.
  7. Resetting the Meter: Innovative Strategies for Sustainable Parking. Commuters aren’t the only ones suffering as Texas roadways reach unprecedented levels of congestion. Population growth also means that valuable, undeveloped land will need to be converted into parking lots, which can affect everything from plant and animal life to climate. Traditionally-designed parking areas contribute greatly to storm water runoff, water and soil pollution, excess heat, and aesthetic blight. In response, some builders are turning to new economically and ecologically viable practices and solutions to create parking spaces for a more sustainable, livable urban and suburban landscape. Anyone interested in learning how to create and maintain parking spaces using low-impact practices is invited to attend a one-day conference on January 30, 2015, 8am-3:30pm at the Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park in Spring. Expert presenters will share effective methods and strategies to create environmentally-harmonious parking schemes that also have potential to enhance their surroundings. For more information call The Mercer Society at 281-443-8731.
  8. EPA Toxics Release Inventory Regional Workshop. The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is an EPA program that tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. This information is submitted, compiled, and helps support informed decision-making by industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and the public. The EPA is sponsoring a two-day TRI Regional Workshop in collaboration with Texas Southern University and Dillard University from January 30-31, 2015, at the Sheraton Galleria. The goal of the workshop is to educate communities, students, industry professionals, academicians, and public health officials on how to access and navigate the EPA TRI data source to improve environmental conditions and policies in environmental justice communities. Regional case studies will be incorporated into the workshop training. For more information about registration, travel assistance, and lodging please contact Dr. Denae King at (713) 313-4804 or kingdw@tsu.edu. More at http://airalliancehouston.org.
  9. State of the Air 2015. Air Alliance Houston is hosting the State of the Air 2015, on February 3, from 11am-1pm at Season’s 52. Come for food, networking, fundraising, and updates about Houston’s air quality. The featured speaker this year is Dr. Robert Bullard. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. Professor Bullard received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Tickets are $35. Register at http://ezregister.com.
  10. “Envision” – A Rating System for Sustainable Infrastructure. Come out to Houston Wilderness on February 4, 2015, 12-1:30pm, for a presentation on sustainable infrastructure. Michael Bloom, of R. G. Miller Engineers, Inc., will present an overview of the system and the environmental considerations it embodies. Similar to the LEED building certification program, Envision is a sustainable rating system published by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). RSVP to rita@houstonwilderness.org. Learn more at http://houstonwilderness.org.
  11. Winter Environmental Educators’ Exchange Meeting. The Winter Environmental Educator’s Exchange Meeting will be held in the Training Room of the Hollingsworth Science Resource Center on February 4, 2015, 4:30-6:30pm. The Hollingsworth Science Resource Center is designed to be a biological supply source for enhancing the K-12 science curriculum of the Houston Independent School District. Science educators affiliated with grades K-12 of the HoustonISD have free access to over 51 different specimens and lab equipment. The Environmental Educator’s Exchange members will be able to tour the facility (aquarium room, bacteria/fungi room, microorganism room, mealworm room, etc.), the greenhouse, the Rescue Plants Project, the nature gardens, the ponds, and the compost bins. Learn more about the Environmental Educator’s Exchange at http://hunstem.uhd.edu.
  12. Texas Women in Conservation Luncheon. Audubon Texas and Houston Audubon have announced the inaugural Texas Women in Conservation Luncheon for February 5, 2015, at 12pm at the River Oaks Country Club. This luncheon will honor the following four remarkable Texas women who have shown an exceptional commitment to protecting our native landscapes and wildlife with the Terry Hershey Women in Conservation Award: Mary Anne Piacentini, Executive Director of Katy Prairie Conservancy; Ellen Temple Conservationist, Book Publisher, & Education Advocate; Susan Rieff, Executive Director of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Carol Dinkins, Environmental Practice Group Leader, Vinson & Elkins LLP. More at www.texaswomeninconservation.org.
  13. Joel Sartore at the Asia Society Texas Center. National Geographic Wildlife Photographer, Joel Sartore, will speak at Houston’s Asia Society on February 8, 2015, at 2pm. A friend to the Houston Zoo, Joel Sartore is actively engaged in using his wildlife photography to save species and highlight those that are endangered. More than half of the world’s species are threatened with extinction, and Joel Sartore is on a mission to photograph every captive species on Earth for the Photo Ark. It takes just one to build an ark, and after nine years, thousands of species are on board so far. In continued collaboration with Houston Zoo, Joel returns to Houston for the fifth consecutive year to present a hilarious and poignant program. Through photos, videos, and amazing stories, he will take you behind the scenes around Asia to see creatures unlike any you’ve seen before. You’ll get the inside scoop on your favorite Asian species like pandas, tigers, elephants, and other animals that are on the brink of extinction. The cost is $15 for Asia Society and Houston Zoo members and $20 for nonmembers. Learn more at http://asiasociety.org.
  14. Rain Barrel Workshop. Galveston Bay Foundation’s rain barrel program in 2014 conserved over 500,000 gallons of water for Galveston Bay. Now, the goal is to double that in 2015! Sign-up today for GBF’s next rain barrel workshop on February 21, 2015, from 9:30-11:30am in Baytown, and you can protect the Bay while lowering your water bill! Visit www.galvbay.org/rainbarrel to register and get more information.
  15. 2015 Abandoned Crab Trap Removal. Galveston Bay Foundation is looking for volunteers with boats for the 2015 Abandoned Crab Trap Removal on February 21, 2015, 9am-noon in Anahuac, TX. Abandoned crab traps result in the inadvertent death of several aquatic species including, but not limited to, blue crabs, estuarine sport fish, stone crabs, birds, diamond-backed terrapins, river otter, and–if found on land–terrestrial animals as well. Not only are abandoned traps hazardous to wildlife, they are unsightly, problematic for fishers and boaters, and can even smother seagrasses. Each year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) closes crabbing in all Texas waters for a 10-day period in February. Any trap left in the water during those ten days is considered “litter” under state law and is susceptible to being removed. Read more and learn how to get involved by visiting http://galvbay.org.
  16. Additional Upcoming Events

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COMMUNITY NOTES

  1. TIAA Presents: Global Disruption in Energy Markets. Global energy markets are shifting and new opportunities and risks will shape the future of the industry and how we fuel our lives. New technologies (ultra-deep water exploration, hydraulic fracturing, and de-centralized power production) are increasing supply in new markets, while growth in developing nations creates increased demand from new consumers. Regulatory issues, changing attitudes toward carbon based energy sources, and new supplier/customer relationships will also play a role in shifting energy markets. January 27, 2015, 6:30-9pm at The Junior League of Houston. The cost is $35 per person. www.tiaaglobal.org
  2. An Evening with Kristin Ohlson. OHBA will be hosting ‘An Evening with Kristin Ohlson’ on January 29, 2015, 4-8pm at the United Way Building. Kristin Ohlson is the author of the soil will save us, “How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet,” which is a critically acclaimed book that is changing how we look at and value soil. Kristin Ohlson is an independent journalist and New York Times bestselling author who will talk about the Ancient Partnership between Plants and Soil Organisms. Tickets are $55 for OHBA members and $75 for non-members. Order tickets at www.eventbrite.com.
  3. EPA’s Gulf Guardian Awards – Deadline Extension. It’s time to recognize all those great programs that benefit the Gulf through EPA’s Gulf Guardian Awards. This is an exciting competition that rewards good Gulf stewards for their efforts with an award and recognition from their State and the EPA. The categories for nomination are: Business/Industry, Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity, Civic and Nonprofit Organizations, Youth Environmental Education, Individual, Partnerships and Bi-national. Learn more at www.epa.gov/gmpo/. Applications are due by January 30, 2015.
  4. Children: Food and Environment Conference. The Children: Food and Environment Conference will be held February 4-6, 2015, in Austin. The conference will explore interactions between food and environmental factors and how these interactions affect children’s health. It will also highlight cutting edge science in these areas of study and engage participants in an event that will explore: how the interaction between food and environmental factors affect children’s health; and policy, regulatory, and further research implications. Register at www.greenmoonsolutions.com.
  5. Public Comment Meeting for Armand Bayou Watershed. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has scheduled a meeting to take public comment on six draft total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for indicator bacteria in the Armand Bayou watershed of the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin in Harris County. The meeting will be held on February 12, 2015, at 6pm in the Discovery Room (#108) at the Johnson Space Center, Gilruth Center. At the meeting, individuals have the opportunity to present oral statements when called upon in order of registration. An agency staff member will give a brief presentation at the start of the meeting and will be available to answer questions before and after all public comments have been received. Written comments will also be accepted until March 9, 2015. Submit written comments to Jason Leifester, Water Quality Planning Division, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, MC 203, P. O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas, 78711-3087. Learn more at www.tceq.texas.gov.
  6. Update on Whooping Crane Litigation. The Aransas Project is an alliance of citizens, organizations, businesses, and municipalities who want responsible water management of the Guadalupe River Basin and bays that represents all interests throughout the basin. Recently, the decision in TAP v. Shaw, et al was overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. A Motion for Rehearing from the full 5th Circuit was turned down. Now, TAP is putting together a Petition for Certiorari, or the “cert petition” for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. TAP has 90 days from mid-December to file a cert petition. The board of directors of TAP has authorized the legal team to prepare this petition and work is underway. Support is needed for the petition as TAP anticipates at least $50,000 will be needed for this effort. To support the effort or learn more, visit thearansasproject.org, contact jbb@blackburncarter.com, or read the latest update.
  7. TPWD Local Park Grants. Recreation Grants is now accepting applications for the Urban Outdoor, Non-urban Outdoor, and Small Community Local Park Grant Programs. Applications are being accepted through the online portal at https://tpwd-recgrants.fluidreview.com. If you need assistance or have questions regarding the application process, contact rec.grants@tpwd.texas.gov or 512-389-8224. The deadline is March 31, 2015.
  8. Additional Community Announcements 
  9. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife. Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 PM each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, 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.
    • The Legend of Ethel
    • Parks & Wildlife People: Kris Shipman
    • Resaca de la Palma State Park
    • Liberty Ships, Artificial Reefs
  10. Air Quality Forecast. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/forecast_today.html. Houston Clean Air Network and Realtime Ozone Mapping: http://houstoncleanairnetwork.com.
      • January 27, 2015: Yellow–Moderate–PM2.5.Winds may be light enough for the daily PM2.5 AQI to reach the lower end of the “Moderate” range in the Houston area, with highest concentrations in the morning and evening.
      • January 28, 2015: Yellow–Moderate–PM2.5.Winds may be light enough for the daily PM2.5 AQI to reach the lower end of the “Moderate” range in the Houston area, with highest concentrations in the morning and evening.
      • January 29, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate to strong winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.
      • January 30, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds, cooler temperatures, and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.

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