Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: January 31, 2015


  1. Bayou Greenways 2020 project gets $7.1 million infusion from Deepwater Horizon funds (Shelby Hodge – Culture Map Houston, 1/21/16)
    “The Houston Parks Board is celebrating the announcement that the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council has selected its Bayou Greenways 2020 project as recipient of a $7.1 million grant from a fund established in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds will be used for acquisition and enrichment of already existing parkland along Clear Creek, located in southern Harris County. According to the Bayou Preservation Association, Clear Creek ‘is one of the most beautiful wild streams in the Houston area.’ The parks board plan is to restore and conserve the verdant natural habitats while improving water quality and thereby supporting the Galveston Bay and estuary that were damaged by the oil spill.”
  2. Fitzsimons: Measure to protect state’s natural resources is imperiled (Blair Calvert Fitzsimons – Houston Chronicle Outlook, 1/23/16)
    “The permanent protection of private rural lands through conservation easements is one of the most cost-effective strategies to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations. But a proposal from the Lower Colorado River Authority, or LCRA, challenges the integrity of the conservation easement and undermines an effective tool for conserving the state’s critical natural resources. The LCRA has proposed to construct a large electrical transmission line across the largest piece of protected land – public or private – in Gillespie County, southwest of Austin. Owned by Mrs. Terese T. Hershey, one of Texas’ most renowned conservationists, the 1,500-acre Hershey Ranch is protected by a conservation easement that was supposed to conserve it in perpetuity. The Hill Country Land Trust, one of Texas’ 30 private, nonprofit land trusts, “holds” the conservation easement and is entrusted with ensuring that the land is protected forever.”
  3. UH Students Design Energy Efficient, Affordable Homes (Jeannie Kever – UH News, 1/27/2016)
    “With plans to capture the power of Houston’s sun and reuse its abundant rainfall, a group of University of Houston students has completed the first phase of an ambitious project to rethink affordable housing and energy efficiency. Three interdisciplinary teams have been named winners of the Energy Efficiency Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Direct Energy and UH Energy. Ultimately, organizers plan to build the winning designs in Houston’s Third Ward, near the UH campus. Teams of students – about 30 undergraduate and graduate students participated, representing the UH colleges of architecture, engineering, technology, business, law and mathematics and natural sciences – were asked to design an 800-square-foot, two-bedroom house that could be built for $80,000 or less, with monthly utility bills under $25.”
  4. Texas 2040 game challenges Texans to learn about water issues and conserve (Eva Vigh – Texas Water Resources Institute, 1/27/2016)
    “The Colorado River Alliance, in partnership with the Texas Water Development Board, has created a free, interactive game called Texas 2040. The game helps Texans better understand the water challenges the state’s rivers will face in the next 25 years, said Brent Lyles, the alliance’s executive director. This game builds understanding in a fun way, and we hope people who play it will start thinking about their own water use,’ he said. Originally launched as part of the Texas Colorado River Rolling Exhibit, the environmental sustainability game came online in October 2015. The game is designed to show citizens the impacts of drought and population growth on Texas rivers. It presents players with real-life options to help balance both the limited water source and the needs of water users. At each turn, players must choose a solution that best meets their budget and conservation goals. Potential options include installing pipe sensors to detect leaks, building artificial aquifers or reservoirs, using recycled water, developing desalination treatment facilities and establishing limits on lawn irrigation.”


  • 29 January
    • Residents Want State To Take Close Look At Pasadena Refinery Permit (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
    • Master Planned Community May See Improvements From Persistent Power Outages (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
    • METRO Helps Transition a Texas Tradition (Jo-Carolyn Goode – Houston Style Magazine)
    • Zika in Texas? ‘We have the perfect storm to allow virus to flourish,’ scientists warn (Tom Dart, The Guardian – Raw Story)
  • 27 January
    • UH Students Design Energy Efficient, Affordable Homes (Jeannie Kever – UH News)
    • Harris County Begins Project To Remove Submerged Cars From Bayous (Al Ortiz – Houston Public Media)
    • Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition meets in Houston (Adrian Shelley – airCurrent News)
    • Ozone Theater is off to a Banner Year (Paige Powell – airCurrent News)
    • UT Austin research recommends ways to protect Hill Country while supporting growth (Texas Water Resources Institute)
    • Texas 2040 game challenges Texans to learn about water issues and conserve (Eva Vigh – Texas Water Resources Institute)
    • New research determines most effective water conservation policies for Ogallala farmers (Texas Water Resources Institute)
    • $6.5 million in state funding will boost invasive species work by TWPD and partners (Texas Water Resources Institute)
  • 26 January
  • 25 January
  • 23 January
    • Sky-high Power Rates Spark Outrage in Rural Texas (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
  • 22 January
    • Tons Of Coal Waste In Texas But EPA’s New Regulation Lacks Weight (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
    • Science students become stewards through research (David Sikes – Corpus Christi Caller Times)
    • Purple martins begin to arrive (Gary Clark – Houston Chronicle)
    • Freeze Protection for Plants (Ryan Draper – The Houston Zoo Blog)
  • 21 January
  • 19 January
  • 15 January
    • Continuing the Search for Better Energy Materials (UH News)
  • 6 January
    • Climate change could have a bigger impact on developed countries’ food systems(Tim McDonnell – Grist)
  • 4 January
    • What’s going on with the Memorial Park Demonstration Project? (HoustonPress)