Houston Environmental News Update February 3, 2015

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, hosted by the CEC, was such a big success last week that we are already planning for next year. Mark your calendars for January 28, 2016!

Next up: the Greater Houston Environmental Summit on March 3, 2015. We’ll have a trifecta of awesomeness, with amazing speakers, fabulous networking, and scrumptious food. Read on for more information, including how to register.

CEC NOTES

  1. Greater Houston Environmental Summit March 3, 2015
    Order tickets via Eventbrite:
    http://cecenvsummit.eventbrite.com

    SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE. Contact [email protected] for more information.Please join the CEC to learn from some of the most influential members of the environmental community, and network with a great community of environmental influencers.Speakers include:

    • Opening Keynote: Laura Huffman, State Director for the Nature Conservancy
    • Closing Keynote: Dr. Robert Bullard, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University
    • Panelists (Moderated by Lisa Gray of the Houston Chronicle):
      • Dr. Steven Klineberg, Kinder Institute at Rice University: Changing demographics & the Environment
      • Dr. Wayne Klotz, Klotz Associates: Sustainable Infrastructure
      • Ms. Ashley Wadick, TCEQ Houston Region Director: Regulatory Outlook
    • Ms. Elizabeth Love, Houston Endowment, will provide a brief address on environmental philanthropy.

    Lunch will be provided by Pat Greer’s Kitchen.

  2. New Subscribers: Thank you Lawrence, Molly, Gabriella, Jeff, Kat, Ambika, Patricia, Kate, Christina, Alexandra, Christopher, and Kendra, our newest subscribers. We hope you enjoy our emails!
  3. Wild & Scenic Film Festival January 29, 2015Thank you to our audience, our volunteers, and our local and national sponsors for this amazing event!
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  4. Save the Date…. …for CEC’s second annual Environmental Poetry & Puns on April 1, 2015.

COALITION NOTES

  1. Anti-Idling Campaign. One of the exciting movies at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival was “Idle Threat,” a story about a passionate crusade to reduce vehicle idling in New York City. Almost everyone at the festival signed a petition in support of Air Alliance Houston’s “Houston Anti-Idling Ordinance Petition,” which was circulated during the film. You too can sign the petition!
  2. “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 [email protected] Learn more at http://houstonwilderness.org.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. H-GAC’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee. The H-GAC’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee will be meeting  Thursday, February 5th, 2015, from 1:30 to 3:30. The topic of the meeting will be Meeting the Region’s Water Supply Needs, and we will hear from representatives from Region H and a water conservation firm. For more information, visit www.h-gac.com.
  6. LEED for Homeowners Workshop. There will be a workshop on February 5, 2015, 5:30pm at the Green Building Resource Center for homeowners interested in LEED. Come learn what LEED is all about, how to incorporate Green Building Strategies into your new home, the cost implications of Green Building and more! Register by emailing [email protected]
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 43rd Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta. Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s 43rd Annual Regatta will be held on March 7, 2015, from 7:30am-2pm at Sesquicentennial Park. This is Texas’ largest canoe and kayak race! Houstonians (ages 12 and up) are encouraged to participate in the 15-mile ACA santioned race along the scenic Buffalo Bayou. The cost to register is $45. Learn more and register today at http://buffalobayou.org.
  11. Additional Upcoming Events

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COMMUNITY NOTES

  1. 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.
  2. Allen Parkway Public Meeting. The public is invited to a community meeting to hear plans for improving the flow, functionality, safety and aesthetics of Allen Parkway. The meeting is hosted by Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering, the entities which will fund and oversee the proposed improvements. The presentation will show recommended plans that will improve pedestrian and auto safety, create additional parking for Buffalo Bayou Park and provide better access with protected crosswalks to better serve surrounding neighborhoods and commercial development via improved intersections. The meeting will be held on February 5, 2015, 6-7pm, at the Neighborhood Resource Center Auditorium (815 Crosby St). No advance registration required. More at https://gallery.mailchimp.com.
  3. Private Profit vs. Public Good: Do Energy Companies Have a Social Responsibility? Join UH Energy for the second annual Energy Symposium Series: Critical Issues in Energy on February 10, 2015, 5:30-8pm at the UH Student Center South Theater. Guest speakers include Badar Khan, Direct Energy; Nate Teti, Statoil North America; Aneel Karnani, University of Michigan; Kathleen Hartnett White, Texas Public Policy Foundation; and Moderator John Beddow, Houston Business Journal. For more information, please contact UH Energy at [email protected] or call 713-743-6100. RSVP at www.eventbrite.com.
  4. 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.
  5. Houston & the Legislature: Previewing the 84th Session. The Texas Tribune, in partnership with Houston First, will present a quarterly conversation series on the major policy debates on the agenda of the 84th Legislature — and what they mean for the state’s largest city and surrounding communities. Come out to the Wortham Center for the first installment of this series on February 12, 2015, 11:30am-1pm. Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith will moderate. The event is free and open to the public and includes a light lunch. The conversation will also be livestreamed at texastribune.org/livestream (starting at noon), and the video will be accessible for viewing afterward. Learn more at www.texastribune.org.
  6. STEM Student Research Facilitation Course. The Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) at Northwestern University is offering a professional development opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers to develop or advance a program that facilitates their own students’ research. Through a generous grant from Motorola Solutions, teachers participate in an 11-week course and learn about models and tools for implementing student research in their school district, advance planning efforts to facilitate student research opportunities, and share best practices with experienced area teachers and STEM leaders. The course is online (contact meetings are optional) and begins February 16, 2015. Please contact [email protected] with any questions. Register at www.surveygizmo.com.
  7. 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 [email protected], or read the latest update.
  8. 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 [email protected] or 512-389-8224. The deadline is March 31, 2015.
  9. Additional Community Announcements 
  10. 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.
    • SOS, Save Our Sharks
    • Biking Big Bend Ranch
    • Big City Biologists
  11. Air Quality Forecast. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/forecast_today.html. Houston Clean Air Network and Realtime Ozone Mapping: http://houstoncleanairnetwork.com.
    • February 3, 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.
    • February 4, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate to strong winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.
    • February 5, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.
    • February 6, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.

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