Houston Environmental News Update April 21, 2015

NASA's global selfieJust in case you weren’t sure which holiday we celebrate tomorrow (if you read this, you probably celebrate year round), the banner photo for today’s newsletter is a update of the Blue Marble photograph, NASA’s 2014 Global Selfie.

The blue marble image is often associated with Earth Day. The updated photo by NASA is a a mosaic of images posted on social media, compiled to reflect what our earth looked like from space on Earth Day in 2014. This year, NASA is hosting another Earth Day campaign, “#NoPlaceLikeHome,” requesting videos and photos of our favorite places on earth.

NASA is working to expand our understanding of Earth’s changing climate and environment. You can learn more about NASA’s studies of our earth–including great work being done by our local Johnson Space Center–on NASA’s Earth website. The studies and images are awe-inspiring; I encourage you to explore. (NASA’s celebration of Earth Day and their climate work is really only the tip of the iceberg–or perhaps the tip of the melting ice sheet.)

While it is critically important to our future to think globally, the greater Houston region has tremendous opportunities to act locally (scroll down to read some of them). CEC works hard to gather and share this information with you, so you can be informed about how to be involved locally with well over 100 member groups. Your support is critical to CEC’s ability to share this information. I encourage you to support CEC’s work in honor of Earth Day.

(Thanks to DY at Earth Day Houston last week for visiting our booth and talking about aeronautics and climate change.)

 

CEC NOTES

  1. H-E-B Tear Pad Campaign. HEB logoH-E-B supports many EarthShare of Texas organizations with corporate grants or in-kind contributions, including the CEC with support of our Environmental Resource Guide and the Greater Houston Environmental Summit. 2015 Tear Pad photo2The April tear-pad promotion is a bit different as it enables H-E-B customers to bolster the diverse environmental program work of more than three dozen EarthShare of Texas’ member organizations, including CEC! The customers’ dollars will go directly to CEC and the other EarthShare of Texas member organizations, benefiting both the Texas environment and economy. Throughout the month of April and into the first week of May, look for the EarthShare of Texas display and tear-off coupons at the check-out stands in any Texas H-E-B and Central Market stores. Support EarthShare of Texas and the Texas environment!
  2. New Subscribers. Thank you to our new subscribers, including the great people we met at the us at the Houston Philanthropic Society networking event last Thursday: Bill, Wes, Alan, Richard, Tifani, Susan, Cynthia, John, and Susan. We hope you enjoy our emails. Please consider liking us on facebook.

COALITION NOTES

  1. Education Seminar: Tiny Houses in Houston. Want a tiny house that’s off the grid? What’s out there? Can you make them mobile and then attach them permanently to your lot? Come out for a special seminar on April 22, 2015, 6-8pm at the Green Building Resource Center. There will be an Earth Day show and tell with two ACTUAL tiny houses to tour right outside the GBRC after the talk! Two local builders, Shannon and David will talk about what they do; Donna will talk about some of the small houses she features in her book; Teresa, an appraiser, will talk about how the appraisal industry looks at green building and tiny houses; and Sheila Blake will talk about tiny houses and the building code. AIA & USGBC CEU’s available. This is a free event. RSVP by calling 832-394-9050. Learn more at www.codegreenhouston.org.
  2. Wetland Economic Benefits Workshop. Texas Coastal Watershed Program is hosting a Wetland Economic Benefits Workshop on April 23, 2015, 9am-3pm at the United Way Community Resource Center. This is a free workshop for professionals who commonly work with Upper Texas Gulf Coast landowners: realtors, natural resource professionals, environmental service providers, etc. The workshop highlights incentive programs available to private landowners for conserving, restoring, or creating wetlands. Regional experts will speak on emerging ecosystem services markets, wetland ecosystem services, wetland mitigation, nature tourism, wildlife management, conservation easements, and forested wetlands. TCWP will demonstrate its new clearinghouse website of programs which provide economic benefit to landowners for wetland conservation. Lunch will be provided to workshop participants. View the flyer and register at www.eventbrite.com.
  3. KPC Strategic Planning Process. Katy Prairie Conservancy is is in the middle of a Strategic Planning process to help better understand the needs and perceptions of the community so they can better serve it. You can participate by taking a public opinion survey at www.surveymonkey.com.
  4. Garden Haikus Earth Day Contest. Celebrate National Gardening Month, National Poetry Month AND Earth Day this April by taking part in the fourth-annual Recipe for Success Foundation Garden Haikus for Earth Day Contest. Students and adults are invited to enter the citywide contest online. Submit your poem in the traditional haiku format to reflect spring garden themes or the fun of growing and eating healthy food. Winners will be selected from three categories: Seeds (Age 5 to 11), Sprouts (Age 12 to 17), Blooms (Age 18+). Multiple submissions welcome. Entry deadline is April 30, 2015. Learn more at  www.recipe4success.org.
  5. 2015 TWRC Summer Wildlife Camp. The TWRC Wildlife Center will be hosting a series of weekly summer camps for kids, ages 7-12. Campers will get to see wonderfully wild and wacky creatures, and will be able to lead their very own safari adventures in their backyards after learning about the wildlife and habitats in Texas. Each week, campers will be tasked with caring for special animals throughout the week, and even practicing veterinary techniques like examining x-rays, using microscopes, and more! To register, visit www.twrcwildlifecenter.org. Volunteers and sponsors are also needed!
  6. BLC’s Annual Gala: Blazing Trails. Join Bayou Land Conservancy for the first time at beautiful Ashton Gardens! Celebrate BLC becoming the largest regional conservation easement holder in Texas (almost 12,000 acres!). Celebrate a number of our key volunteers in the field, as well as “sparkplug” science teachers who bring their students to our award- winning watershed education field trips. The highlight will be a professional video of this year’s theme: “Blazing Trails” – an overview of the most recently completed land protection projects. The gala will be held on April 23, 2015, at 7pm. Learn more at http://bayoulandconservancy.blogspot.com.
  7. Earth Day Art Contest Awards Show & Auction. Come out to Skyline Art Services on April 23, 2015, 6-9pm for the Earth Day Art Contest Awards Show & Auction benefiting local schools and Air Alliance Houston educational programs. Check out the auction at http://earthday15.auction-bid.org.
  8. Pasadena Rain Barrel Workshop. Registration is now open for GBF’s next Rain Barrel workshop on April 25, 2015. This workshop, in partnership with the City of Pasadena, will feature a Buy-1-Get-1-Free program for Pasadena residents! The workshop will also be presented in both English and Spanish, slideshow text included. For more information, and to pre-register, visit www.galvbay.org/rainbarrel! For further questions, contact Neally Rhea at 281-332-3381 x220, or email nrhea@galvbay.org.
  9. 2015 Bayou Bash. Bayou Buddies of Buffalo Bayou Partnership will be hosting their biggest and greenest fundraiser of the year featuring crawfish and libations, live entertainment, silent auction, lawn games, kayak demos and pontoon boat rides. The bash will be held on April 25, 2015, 1-4pm at the Sabine Promenade. Presale tickets are NOW on sale! $25 for Bayou Buddies members (with discount code); and $30 for General Admission (prices go up $10 at the door!). More at http://buffalobayou.org.
  10. Willow Waterhole Music in the Park. Come out to South Gazebo at Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve on April 25, 2015, 11am-10pm for Music in the Park! This craft and music festival will feature 40 craft vendors and 11 hours of free music! Stop by one of the many local food trucks to fill your appetite (food and drinks available for purchase). Bring your favorite lawn chair and blankets and enjoy the day! Learn more at www.willowwaterhole.org or www.facebook.com.
  11. Earth Day Celebration at Exploration Green. Bay Area’s new Exploration Green will host its inaugural Earth Day Celebration at the 200-acre green space in the heart of Clear Lake on April 25, 2015, 8am-2pm. Free and open to all, festivities will include traditional outdoor games, running and walking, education and environmental activities and volunteer opportunities for visitors all ages. Created and staffed by a volunteer corps of a variety of organizations, including Space Volunteers from Boeing and other space organizations, Assisteens, Texas Coastal Watershed Program and Exploration Green Conservancy, activities include: 5K Fun Trail Run, Geocaching, ExGames, Cyclo-Cross Exhibition, and may opportunities to volunteer! Learn more at www.explorationgreen.org.
  12. 2015 Anything That Floats Competition. The fifth annual Anything That Floats competition will be held in Downtown Houston at Sesquicentennial Park on Buffalo Bayou on April 25, 2015, from 8am-1pm. The competition is organized by rdAGENTS, the Rice Design Alliance young professionals group. Teams of two to five people — you don’t have to be an architect or a designer! — are invited to enter. Teams will use their own tools and spend the morning constructing their craft out of discarded and donated building materials that are provided by rdAGENTS. Then, two members of each team must then test the seaworthiness of their creation in a race for time across Buffalo Bayou. To compete, registration is $25 for RDA members and $35 for non-members. Registration fees include breakfast, lunch, and light refreshments throughout the day. Attending the race is free and open to the public. More at www.ricedesignalliance.org.
  13. Peace or Wars Without End? US Foreign Policy: A Conference to Explore Our Choices. The Houston Peace & Justice Center has called together a left-right convergence of progressive Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Republicans and others who have created a conference on foreign policy, “Peace, or Wars without End – a Conference to Explore Our Choices.” It will be held at Texas Southern University in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs Building in conjunction with TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the TSU Civil Rights Law Society on April 25, 2015, 8:30am-5:45pm. Come together with experts to question the use of military methods to solve conflicts and consider how we can move beyond wars to build a safer, more just and sustainable world. Learn more at www.hpjc.org.
  14. Cigna Sunday Streets – Heights – with Kidical Mass! Cigna Sunday Streets Houston is an initiative to promote and improve the health of Houstonians. Cigna Sunday Streets Houston opens a stretch of streets normally reserved for cars and other vehicles to allow cycling, walking, dancing, socializing and provides a family-friendly opportunity to be physically active. The next event will be held on April 26, 2015, 12-4pm on Navigation from Jensen to Lockwood. Learn more at www.houstontx.gov.
  15. Final 5th Ward/Buffalo Bayou/East End Livable Centers Public Meeting. Since September 2014, the Livable Centers Design Team has been engaging community members and gathering feedback about placemaking, economic development, housing, circulation and connectivity, open space, and sustainability of the Fifth Ward, Buffalo Bayou, and East End. Based on public feedback, the Livable Centers Design Team have developed a series of recommendations for the neighborhoods and propose a new, more people-friendly role for Buffalo Bayou as a unifying feature between the Fifth Ward and East End communities. There will be one last meeting on April 28, 2015, 6m, at Phillis Wheatley High School. Come out for a presentation of the final plan and to explore opportunities for community members to get involved in making the plan a reality! Learn more at www.facebook.com.
  16. GCBO Spring Fling Auction. There are two weeks left for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory’s Spring Fling Auction. All proceeds raised from this auction will go toward GCBO’s coastal conservation programs. This year the auction contains original artwork, weekend trips, books, and nature related items.The auction closes at 3pm on April 30, 2015. Take a look and bid on the items at www.gcbo.org.
  17. Garden Haikus Earth Day Contest. Celebrate National Gardening Month, National Poetry Month AND Earth Day this April by taking part in the fourth-annual Recipe for Success Foundation Garden Haikus for Earth Day Contest. Students and adults are invited to enter the citywide contest online. Submit your poem in the traditional haiku format to reflect spring garden themes or the fun of growing and eating healthy food. Winners will be selected from three categories: Seeds (Age 5 to 11), Sprouts (Age 12 to 17), Blooms (Age 18+). Multiple submissions welcome. Entry deadline is April 30, 2015. Learn more at www.recipe4success.org.
  18. Moths & Butterflies with Maggie Honig. Come out to the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center on May 2, 2015, 9-11am for a special class on moths and butterflies. Get your Arboretum Certificate of Achievement in Science & Nature certifying your successful completion of the Nature Revealed class! Butterflies and moths are abundant in our area, and their life histories are varied and fascinating. Come and learn how they find food, escape predators, and enrich our lives, and learn to recognize some of the more common species. Teachers receive 2 hours of SBEC credit and Master Naturalists receive 2 hours of advanced training for taking these classes. The cost is $20 for HANC members and $35 for non-members. Learn more and register at http://houstonarboretum.org.
  19. 11th Annual Energy Corridor Bike to Work Day. The Energy Corridor District will host its 11th annual Bike to Work Day celebration on May 14, 2015, from 6:30-7:30am at the Terry Hershey Park gazebo (15342 Memorial Drive). Enjoy music, a complimentary breakfast and refreshments, giveaways, raffle prizes and fun! New to bicycle commuting? Unsure of the best bike route? Sign up for Bike Buddies on the Energy Corridor website and you will be matched with an experienced cyclist with a similar route. You can also explore and download cycling route maps at www.energycorridor.org.
  20. 2015 Prairie Conservation Assessment. Coastal Prairie Partnership, in association with its conservation partners, will be conducting a listening tour this spring to assess the collaborative needs of prairie community. There will be five meetings this spring to assess collaborative opportunities to protect, restore, and raise awareness of coastal prairies in the 13-county Greater Houston Region. Full details including the meeting schedule can be found at prairiepartner.org. The final event is May 5, with a report expected on July 31, 2015.
  21. Bay Day – Organization Sign Up. The Galveston Bay Foundation is seeking some additional environmental organizations to host booths at the Bay Day event on May 23, 2015, from 11am-4pm at the Kemah Boardwalk. Bay Day is a one-day celebration presented by the Galveston Bay Foundation and numerous community partners. It is a fun event for families and adults that annually draws more than 5,000 attendees to experience and learn more about Galveston Bay, the largest bay in Texas and one of the most productive estuaries in the country! This event is free to the public and is family-friendly. Booth space is free for non-profits and government groups, and for sponsors. It includes a 10×10 tent, table, and two chairs. Space is limited, so sign up today! Any groups interested in participating should read and fill out the exhibitor application (BayDay_Exhibitor_Application_2015), and submit the document no later than May 8th. For more information, please contact Emily Ford at eford@galvbay.org.
  22. ABNC Preserve Watch 2015: Rookery Tour and Gator Night. The Armand Bayou Nature Center is hosting Preserve Watch 2015 with Stewardship Coordinator Mark Kramer. This is a special program showcases the unique beauty and fragile ecology of the urban wilderness that is Armand Bayou Nature Center through lectures and field trips. These behind the scenes adventures will deepen your appreciation for the richness of life that exists right here in your own backyard. Panoramic viewscapes, iconic apex predators and a spectacular assembly of nesting birds highlight the adventures. Each of these experiences will begin with an introduction and lecture in the auditorium and concludes with a field trip. Most activities last approximately 2-3 hours. There are two upcoming events in early May. The Rookery Tour will be held on May 9, 2015, 9am-noon, and costs $30. Come observe the colonial nesting water birds at the ABNC Rookery Tour. Later on May 9th, come out for ABNC Gator Night from 7-9:30pm to get a hands-on look at some of last year’s hatchling gators, discuss the unique reptilian relationship between hatchling and mother alligators, and explore the bayou where participants will get to view these animals in their natural habitat onboard the Bayou Ranger pontoon boat. This event costs $40 per person. Reservations are required as places are limited. Participants must be at least 18 years of age. Please call 281-474-2551×10 to reserve your spot! Learn more about these events at www.abnc.org.

COMMUNITY NOTES

  1. Champion Lake Earth Day Event. In commemoration of Earth Day 2015, Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge along with the Friends of Trinity River Refuge, will host an afternoon of outdoor activities at the Champion Lake Public Use Area. The fun-filled afternoon is on April 25, 2015, from 11am-2pm. Activities will include refuge boat tours, canoeing, kayaking, bird and butterfly viewing, walking the levee trail, dip netting and fishing lessons in the lake for the kids, and a “Wildlife Experience.” Champion Lake is located at the end of CR 417, two miles east of FM 1409 in southern Liberty County. This is approximately 10 miles south of Dayton, TX from Hwy 90 or about six miles north of I-10 at the Cove exit (FM 565). Admission is free. Call the refuge office at 936/336-9786 for more information. You may want to bring a lawn chair as seating is limited. Learn more at www.facebook.com.
  2. 2015 Coors Light Líderes Program. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Coors Light Líderes program, which identifies the brightest and most-deserving emerging leaders in the community! Of the nominees, 12 individuals will be selected and highlighted through the Coors Light Líderes website, print materials, and online ads. The nominees will also be featured on the Coors Light Líderes Facebook page for contributions to their communities. One person will be selected by a public online voting process and named the Coors Light 2015 Líder of the Year. The winner will receive a $25,000 grant for his/her nonprofit to implement a leadership project. All 12 nominated leaders will join the more than 120 Coors Light Líderes who through an interactive website, Facebook and private LinkedIn page can access resources about professional development, education, and networking. Líderes may also be invited to special Coors Light brand-sponsored events. Learn more and submit your nomination at CoorsLightLideres.com. The deadline for nominations is June 5, 2015.
  3. Addressing Conflict with Deer in Our Communities – An Interactive and Engaging Workshop. White-tailed deer are a valuable natural resource enjoyed by many across Texas. However, when deer numbers escalate and they become overabundant, deer can threaten wildlife and plant diversity and cause emotionally charged conflict within communities. There are very real economic, cultural, health, and ecological concerns. Texas communities regularly confront these issues. Come out to Texas State University on May 29, 2015, for a workshop that addresses these topics. This workshop will allow attendees to learn from the experiences of others and hear from nationally recognized experts currently working with overabundant deer issues. The cost is $55, which includes lunch. Register at www.texas-wildlife.org.
  4. Aviation Conservation Grant Proposals. Have a great potential avian habitat conservation project to fund? Funds raised through the Great Texas Birding Classic fund projects throughout the state each year, with over $800,000 in grants given to date! Submit your project proposal form by May 1, 2015, for consideration by winning teams. Visit Conservation Grants for project criteria and proposal forms. The deadline for proposals is May 1, 2015. Contact Shelly Plante, with questions by phone (512-389-4500) or email (shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov).
  5. My Water Pledge. My Water Pledge is a friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most “water-wise.” Mayors nationwide will challenge their residents to conserve water energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of informative, easy-to-use pledges online. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win. Cities will compete in the following population categories: 5,000-29,999, 30,000-99,999, 100,000-299,999. 300,000-599,999, 600,000+). Participants in the winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes. By the way, your mayor doesn’t have to participate for your city to win… But every person makes a difference! Last year, the challenge awarded more than $50,000 in prizes to nearly 1,000 residents in U.S. cities. Take the pledge! http://bit.ly/OpbCL0
  6. Input for Plan Houston. One million more residents are expected to move to Houston in the next 20 years. To prepare for this momentous growth, the City is creating a General Plan called Plan Houston. The Plan will address neighborhood enhancement and community development over the coming years, helping agencies better coordinate their efforts to make positive change throughout the city. The City wants your input. What makes Houston a great place to live? How can we ensure Houston’s future as a vibrant and growing city? Please visit ByYouCity.org and share YOUR vision of Houston’s future.
  7. Going Coastal: Exploring the UH Coastal Center. Come out to the “Going Coastal” event on April 25, 2015, 10:30am-3pm at the UH Coastal Center. Visitors will get first-hand exposure to projects taking place at the center. Experience the wealth of environmental, plant life, air quality, coastal ecology, and geophysical research going on at UH’s largest outdoor learning laboratory! Scientists and UH students doing research at the Center will give demonstrations and discuss latest findings at their field sites. Tour stops include research wells, GPS units measuring subsidence, towers measuring air quality, insect nets and grasshoppers, prairie plants and preservation, and a look at architectural visions for future buildings at the UHCC. For more information about the event, visit http://giving.uh.edu or contact Hillary Norwood at 713-743-2611 or nsmrsvp@nsm.uh.edu. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 4-10 (Includes Lunch and Tours).
  8. The Montrose Bi-Annual Recycling Event. Come bring your recycling to the H-E-B at 1701 W. Alabama on April 25, 2015, from 10am-2pm. Help keep Montrose clean and green! Find the list of accepted items at http://montrosedistrict.org.
  9. The Value of Clean Air. How can society make informed choices about activities that cause emissions that simultaneously lead to climate change and poor air quality? In the third talk in the Center for Energy Studies‘ series on public policy and climate change, Drew Shindell will explore the use of a multi-impact valuation framework that extends the social cost of carbon used previously for carbon dioxide (CO2) to a broader range of pollutants and impacts. The results suggest that: 1) efforts to mitigate atmosphere-related environmental damages should target a broad set of emissions, including CO2, methane and aerosol/ozone precursors; 2) total atmosphere-related environmental damages plus generation costs are much greater for coal-fired power than other types of electricity generation; and 3) damages associated with gasoline vehicles substantially exceed those for electric vehicles. The relative importance of uncertainties in climate science, concentration-response relationships and economic projections will also be explored as they relate to the path forward to providing improved policy-relevant science. The lecture will take place on May 8, 2015, 12-1:30pm at James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University. http://bakerinstitute.org
  10. 10th State of the Bay Symposium – Call for Presenters. The Galveston Bay Estuary Program is pleased to announce that the 10th State of the Bay Symposium will be held January 13-14, 2016 at the Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center in Galveston, Texas. The theme of this symposium is “20 Years of Successfully Preserving Galveston Bay.” Through science, collaborative partnerships, public education, and hard work, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program and partners have made great progress in protecting the bay’s ecological and economic health—as well as the public health. The Estuary Program welcomes abstracts for oral and poster presentations and panel sessions that address coastal and estuarine restoration and management, in all habitats, at all scales in all regions of Galveston Bay. Abstracts must be received in electronic format at the Estuary Program no later than May 15, 2015 via e-mail (gbep@tceq.texas.gov). Learn more: 10th State of the Bay Symposium Call for Presentations.
  11. Fishing for Energy 2015 – Request for Proposals. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is pleased to announce on behalf of Fishing for Energy partners Covanta, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, the availability of a request for proposals to support outreach and prevention strategies to reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear to marine and coastal environments… The Fishing for Energy (FfE) partners recognize that while derelict gear removal and disposal is a critical effort to reduce the threat of entanglement, entrapment and habitat scarring from marine debris, the real conservation gains are to be made in prevention of the threat, which is the focus of this Request for Proposals. Read more about the proposal at www.nfwf.org. The deadline is April 23, 2015.
  12. Kinder Institute Luncheon 2015.  The Kinder Institute Luncheon 2015 will be held on April 30, 2015, at 11:30am at the Hilton Americas – Houston. The luncheon will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen Klineberg, and the official release of the 34th annual Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey. Register online at http://kinder.rice.edu.
  13. Harris County Precinct 4 GeoChallenge. The Precinct 4 GeoChallenge is a precinct-wide geocaching event sponsored by Harris County Precinct 4. Participants will be introduced to the trending pastime of geocaching while experiencing the abundance of amenities Precinct 4 has to offer. The GeoChallenge contains a series of 57 geocaches, all of which are easy to find. However, attainment of certain geocaches may require elevated physical activity. Learn more and find out how to get started at www.hcp4.net.
  14. Community Solutions 2015 Host Applications. Does your organization value increasing cultural diversity in the workplace or forging international partnerships with like-minded individuals and institutions? Are you interested in having an experienced community development professional join your organization for four months at no cost? Does your team need a highly skilled expert to take on an upcoming project? Whatever the case may be, hosting a 2015 Community Solutions Program (CSP) Leader is an opportunity you won’t want to pass up. The Community Solutions Program is a leadership development program for mid-career professionals working in community development from over 60 countries worldwide. CSP Leaders spend four-months in the U.S. working with selected host organizations while focusing on one of the following four areas: environmental issues, tolerance & conflict resolution, transparency & accountability, and women & gender issues. Interested organizations should fill out the Host Interest Form by May 15, 2015. Learn more at www.irex.org.
  15. Teacher Trainings: Down Under Out Yonder (DUOY) and Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Expedition (IWWE). A DUOY coral reef ecology underwater workshop for educators will be held from July 11-15, 2015. This 5-day expedition includes a 2-day Corals to Classrooms workshop followed by three days of diving the coral reefs of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which harbors the northernmost coral reefs in the continental US, providing habitat for a variety of fish, turtles, and sharks. Participants return to their classrooms filled with innovative ideas for teaching biology, oceanography, geology, physical science, government, and environmental science. Another workshop, IWWE, a coastal habitat ecology workshop for educators, will be held from June 15-19, 2015. Cruise the estuaries of coastal Texas from the Louisiana border to Freeport by way of the Intracoastal Waterway during this five-day expedition. Along the way, participants explore diverse habitats as they learn about the natural and human threats to our living coast. Educators of all levels walk away from this experience with new knowledge and skills for educating students about coastal ecology (and economy). For more information, call 361-882-3939 or email info@gulfmex.org or visit http://www.gulfmex.org/education-training/duoy/.
  16. Additional Community Announcements

    • 5/15/2015 (deadline): IREX Community Solutions 2015 Host Application Due. CEC hosted Sophany Touch, a Community Solutions Fellow, two years ago and it was an amazing opportunity. We highly recommend participating. Please reach out to us if you have any questions!
  17. 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.
    • On the Right Track
    • Swimming to Survive
    • Lone Star Land Steward: Winston 8 Ranch
    • A Day at Pedernales
  18. Air Quality Forecast. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/forecast_today.html. Houston Clean Air Network and Realtime Ozone Mapping: http://houstoncleanairnetwork.com.
    • April 21, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds, cool temperatures, and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.
    • April 22, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds and lower incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.
    • April 23, 2015: Yellow–Moderate–PM2.5. Smoke from agricultural burning in Mexico and Central America should continue in South Texas and spread into parts of Central and Southeast Texas, and could raise the daily PM2.5 AQI into the “Moderate” range in the Houston area.
    • April 24, 2015: Yellow–Moderate–PM2.5. Smoke from agricultural burning in Mexico and Central America should continue in South, Central, and Southeast Texas and could spread into parts of North Central Texas, and could raise the daily PM2.5 AQI into the “Moderate” range in the Houston area.

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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 20, 2015

Featured

  1. County Attorney appeals trial court rulings in San Jacinto Waste Pits case (The Poutpourri, 4/17/2015)
    “Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today appealed trial court rulings in the case involving the contamination of the San Jacinto River. County Attorney Ryan filed a Notice of Appeal in the case of Harris County and the State of Texas v. International Paper. The case involves the contamination of the river by International Paper’s predecessor Champion Paper in the 1960s, when Champion’s Pasadena Mill disposed of dioxin-laced paper mill waste in pits dug on the river bank… The case was tried in October 2014, with a group of companies settling with Harris County and the State for $29.2 million before the jury returned its verdict. The County is appealing on the grounds that the jury was not permitted to hear key evidence from experts and witnesses who live and work near the river. ”
    www.yourhoustonnews.comCEC Note: EPA is hosting an information open house about the Superfund Site on April 30, 2015, in Channelview.
  2. Scientists Are Flying Over Texas Oil and Gas Fields To Measure Air Pollution (Mose Buchele – StateImpact, 4/13/2015)
    “A team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – has been circling over Texas, gathering data. The flights are part of a project to find out exactly how emissions from the state’s sprawling oil and gas fields pollute the air we breathe… The project tracks things like the excessive production of ozone, which has adverse affects on human health, and methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than even carbon dioxide. One thing they want to know is what fraction of the stuff being extracted really just ends up in the atmosphere — that’s called the ‘leak rate.’ It changes from oil field to oil field.”
    http://stateimpact.npr.org
  3. Checking in on The State of Houston’s Environment.
    (Houston Matters, KPFT, 4/17/2015)
    We continue our week-long series exploring “The State of Houston” with a conversation about the environment in Greater Houston. We talk with News 88.7 Energy and Environment Reporter Dave Fehling. We discuss concerns about clean air and clean water, new efforts to monitor chemical releases, ongoing disputes over landfills and other encroachment of our urban landscape into the rural landscape that surrounds it, and concerns about the impact of fracking (including earthquakes reported in North Texas, and the repercussions of the Denton fracking ban). We also talk about Houston’s recycling program and discuss other efforts to reduce carbon emissions in a community reliant on industry.
    www.houstonmatters.org
  4. Earth-Friendly Parking Lots Now a Reality with TrueGrid Permeable Pavement (University Chronicle, 4/15/2015)
    “New pavement solution made of 100-percent post-consumer recycled content reduces runoff, protects groundwater. Houston-based toy inventor Barry Stiles is the creative mind behind a new type of permeable pavement — one that significantly raises the bar for parking lots everywhere. Traditionally paved parking spaces are sites of major stormwater runoff. Because water cannot penetrate pervious pavements like asphalt and concrete, it instead runs across the surface, ultimately posing a danger to the quality of groundwater supplies and local ecosystems. However, parking lots can be made significantly eco-friendlier with the installation of TrueGrid, a plastic paving system that is 98 percent permeable — thus allowing water to absorb directly into the ground rather than running off the surface of the pavement.”
    www.ssuchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 18 April
    • Metro Delays Opening Of Houston’s Two New Light Rail Lines (Gail Delaughter – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  • 17 April
  • 16 April
    • Organic Groups Fight for Clean Compost (Katherine Proctor – Courthouse News Service)
      www.courthousenews.com
    • Checking in on The State of Houston’s Environment (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • Nuclear reactor ship to start journey from Va. to Galveston (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • From The Toilet to the Tap The Future of Water is Here (The Spirit of Arkansas)
      www.katv.com
    • U.S. sued to curb deaths of sea turtles by shrimping industry (Barbara Liston – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar (Environment Texas)
      www.environmenttexas.org
  • 15 April
    • 10th Anniversary of Earth Day Houston: A Growing Success in Making Houston a Greener, More Sustainable City (airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Houston’s Bike Plan in a Nut Shell. (BikeHouston)
      www.bikehouston.org
    • Commentary: Charting a new future for the Gulf of Mexico (Laura Huffman – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center donates saplings from historic trees to Precinct 4 (The Kingwood Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Earth-Friendly Parking Lots Now a Reality with TrueGrid Permeable Pavement (University Chronicle)
      www.ssuchronicle.com
    • Demonstrators Take To BP Headquarters On Anniversary Of Oil Spill (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Big Sit! an Easy Fun Way to Compete in Great Texas Birding Classic (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • EPA Mobile Lab Screens Austin Residents’ Soil (Newsroom America)
      www.newsroomamerica.com
    • Researchers Testing Air Pollution Over Fracking Sites (Andy Szal – Manufacturing News)
      www.manufacturing.net
    • Democrats Cave on Measure Overturning Fracking Regulations (Priscila Mosqueda – Texas Observer)
      www.texasobserver.org
    • Shark Fin Ban Back on the House Menu (Ryan McCrimmon – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 14 April
    • Texas Residents Worried Dioxin Could be Causing Cancer Cluster (Susan Carroll, Houston Chronicle – Chem Info)
      www.chem.info
    • As Deadline Nears for Texas Haze Rule, A Look at How Lawsuits Shape Regulation (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • TPPF: Federal government continues to limit energy production in Texas (Leigh Thompson – MRT)
      www.mrt.com
  • 13 April
  • 12 April
    • Sex, Drugs and Plant Biology: Why Much of Texas is Covered in Green Gunk (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
  • 11 April
    • Despite Rocky Start, Agriculture Chief Defends Record (Jay Root and Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 10 April
    • Hundreds of UH Volunteers Work to Keep Houston Beautiful April 11 (Melissa Carroll – University of Houston)
      www.uh.edu
  • 9 April
  • 8 April
    • Environmental group says appeals court ruling on EPA ‘dead zone’ strategy not all bad news (Mark Schleifstein – NOLA News)
      www.nola.com
  • 7 April
    • EPA Releases New Website Enabling the Public to Track Compliance Status of Public Water Systems (EPA News)
      http://yosemite.epa.gov
  • 6 April
    • UH Researchers Discover N-Type Polymer for Fast Organic Battery
      (Jeannie Kever – University of Houston News)
      www.uh.edu
    • Proposed Law Would Allow Houston To Regulate Mountains Of Coal (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • My Top 5: Air Alliance’s Sara DeMers Heald (365 Things To Do In Houston)
      http://365thingsinhouston.com
  • 4 April
    • First ‘Bayou Greenway Day’ highlights Houston’s waterways (Katherine Driessen – Houston Chronicle)
      http://m.chron.com
  • 2 April
  • 31 March
    • Work Begins To Create Plan To Turn Astrodome Into Giant Park (Pat Hernandez – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Your Household’s Garbage And Houston’s Leaking Landfills (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Legislation Aims to Boost Electricity Conservation (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 30 March
    • UH Students ‘Unfold’ Innovative Maps of Houston (Mike Emery – University of Houston)
      www.uh.edu
  • 27 March
    • Biking through downtown Houston just got easier thanks to new protected green lane (Nikki Ndukwe – Culture Map Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Rockefeller family tried and failed to get ExxonMobil to accept climate change (Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian)
      www.theguardian.com