Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: March 30, 2015

Featured

  1. In the garden with Urban Harvest: Stormwater management takes many forms in urban landscape (Chris LaChance – Houston Chronicle, 3/27/2015)
    “Detention ponds are required by developers when natural systems such as native prairies, wetlands, and woodlands are paved over to build roads, homes, parking lots and malls. They were designed as an attempt to make up for the natural porous, or permeable, areas lost to development. Nonetheless, rainwater, also referred to as stormwater, which once soaked into the soil and helped to replenish groundwater, rapidly runs off the solid, impervious surfaces. Along the way it picks up substances such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers from landscapes, oil and grease from parking lots and pet waste. As a result, we see flooding, polluting of rivers, bayous and bays, and lowering of water levels in aquifers… Better, more natural ways to manage stormwater are fast becoming alternatives to conventional methods… The resulting techniques, often referred to a stormwater best management practices or BMPs are cheaper, more aesthetically pleasing and more effective at controlling pollution.”
    www.chron.com
  2. Greens Bayou project will provide flood control improvements (Marie Leonard – Community Impact Newspaper, 3/25/2015)
    “A project decades in the making will begin later this year to reduce the effects of flooding along the Greens Bayou watershed in northern Harris County. ‘The history of flooding on Greens Bayou goes back to the 1920s and ‘30s, and maybe even earlier,’ said Jill Boullion, executive director of the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition. ‘The first study on the bayou was authorized by the federal government in 1948, so this project has its genesis in that 1948 study.’ The Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition began an advocacy effort in 2009 to secure funding for the project, which was going nowhere at the time, Boullion said. Members of the coalition traveled to Galveston, Dallas and Washington D.C. to meet with officials from the Army Corp of Engineers to discuss the project, which received $8 million in start-up funding in the federal 2015 fiscal year budget for the Corp Civil Works program. The $55 million project includes the construction of a 108-acre detention basin and 3.7 miles of channel improvements, which stretch from Cutten Road to Veteran’s Memorial Drive. The basin itself will be situated at Antoine and West Greens Road, near Beltway 8 in northern Harris County. Harris County purchased the property for the project in 1997, Boullion said.”
    http://impactnews.com
  3. Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistance Blowing in Wind (Eva Hershaw – The Texas Tribune, 3/29/2015)
    “After years spent studying the dust that blows across the southern Great Plains, Phil Smith no longer looks at the dark haboobs that routinely rise over Lubbock without a healthy dose of apprehension. In a study slated for publication next month, he and Texas Tech University colleague Greg Mayer may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne. For years, scientists have known that humans can contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria by consuming contaminated meat or water. The findings by Smith and Mayer indicate that humans could also be exposed to so-called ‘super bugs’ or ‘super bacteria’ traveling through the air. ‘This is the first test to open our eyes to the fact that we could be breathing these things,’ said Smith, an environmental toxicologist at Texas Tech.”
    www.texastribune.org

EcoNotes

  • 29 March
    • Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistance Blowing in Wind (Eva Hershaw – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Metro writes off old light rail studies (Charles Kuffner – Off the Kuff)
      http://offthekuff.com
    • NOAA Seeks Comments on an Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to Collect Red Drum in Federal Waters off Mississippi (Oyster Radio)
      http://oysterradio.blogspot.com
  • 27 March
    • In the garden with Urban Harvest: Stormwater management takes many forms in urban landscape (Chris LaChance – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Regional Haze, The ‘War on Coal,’ and How Environmental Policy Is Made (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Policing Pollution (Nick Anderson – Houston Chronicle)
      http://blog.chron.com
    • See How Local Drilling Rules Vary Across Texas (Jim Malewitz and Ryan Murphy – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Wasted effort from Metro studies was a team effort (Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle)
      http://blog.chron.com
    • Houston parks get millions to boost quality of life (Video) (Joe Martin – Houston BizBlog)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Why Houston is spending millions to take a walk in the park (Video) (Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • U.S. gives approval for $350,000 rhino hunt sold at Texas auction (Jon Herskovitz – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 26 March
  • 25 March
    • Is it Spring Allergies or Indoor Air Quality Issues Causing Running Noses and Itchy Eyes across Texas? (WebWire)
      www.webwire.com
    • Greens Bayou project will provide flood control improvements (Marie Leonard – Community Impact Newspaper)
      http://impactnews.com
    • Last Call for Comments on EPA’s Refinery Rule (Brian Butler – airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Urban Land Institute report says Dome should live on (David Taylor – The Examiner)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • U.S. Supreme Court Hears Latest Texas v. EPA Challenge (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Gulf Coast not immune to tsunamis, say researchers (Leigh Morgan – AL News)
      www.al.com
    • EPA call for comments raises questions over biofuel standards delay (Chris Prentice – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 24 March
    • Volunteers ready to target trash along Cypress Creek (Bryan Kirk – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Report: Smart Lawn Watering Could Save Big (Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org
    • ACTion Alerts: Follow the Texas Legislative Session (Adrian Shelley – airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Precinct 4 recognizes first geocacher to finish 2015 GeoChallenge (The Humble Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Texas lawmakers get earful as they consider banning cities from banning fracking (Kimberly Reeves – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Austin Launches Texas’ Inaugural PACE Program, Unleashes Private Funding for Water and Energy Efficiency (Charlene Heydinger – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
  • 23 March
    • The virtues of rainwater harvesting (Monique Ching – Times Record News)
      www.timesrecordnews.com
    • Galveston Bay Oil Spill: One Year Later (Maggie Martin – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • Confusion Swirls Over Bill to Clarify Drilling Rules (The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Lawmakers Consider Outlawing Local Anti-Fracking Ordinances (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Sugar Land installs solar-powered waste, recycling stations (David Pollan – Community Impact)
      http://impactnews.com
    • Five things you need to know in Texas energy this week (Video) (Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • What’s the Latest in the Fallout From the Houston Ship Channel Collision? (Maggie Martin – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
  • 22 March
    • Gosling road expansions in jeopardy with uncertainty over funding (Bridget Balch – The Courier of Montgomery County)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
  • 20 March
    • Galveston commits $41 million to improving island’s biggest beaches (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
  • 19 March
  • 17 March
    • Showdown In Austin: State Wants To Curb City Regulation Of Oil And Gas (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: March 23, 2015

Featured

  1. Rising acidity of Texas bays concerns scientists (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 3/17/2015)
    “Many Texas bays are souring as fresh water grows scarcer because of drought and increasing urban demands, a change that could harm oysters and other shellfish and in time reverberate through the food chain, scientists reported Tuesday. Researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi found a steady rise in acidity from Galveston Bay to near where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1960s. The problem becomes more severe as the coastline curves to the south.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  2. Central Park in west Houston? Energy Corridor master plan envisions massive world-class green space (Barbara Kuntz – Culture Map Houston, 3/17/2015)
    “West Houston, namely The Energy Corridor District, is ready for its own version of Central Park. ‘The idea is to create a regional destination for recreation, arts and events, while creating enhanced riparian ecology, greater connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists, better-performing stormwater drainage and grand, delightful parks that neighbors and employees in The Energy Corridor District can enjoy,’ Clark Martinson, general manager for the district, writes in the area’s February newsletter. ‘It could be The Energy Corridor’s own version of Central Park, straddling the ecological corridor along Langham Creek.’ The newsletter goes on to identify Langham Creek stretching from the Addicks Dam spillway to Terry Hershey Park as ‘ripe for just such a transformation,’ with those conclusions coming after stakeholders’ most recent ongoing master plan meeting with urban and landscape experts from Sasaki Associates, The Office of James Burnett and Toole Design Group. The final plan is to be revealed sometime this spring.”
    http://houston.cd ulturemap.com
  3. Broadway to be spruced up (Erin Mulvaney – Houston Chronicle, 3/19/2015)
    “Broadway between Hobby Airport and Interstate 45 may offer a first impression of Houston to first-time visitors, but not the one many civic boosters would like. The 2 miles along the main road between the airport and the highway include strip developments and aging apartment complexes. Grassy medians along the road are scattered with few trees and shrubs. Little landscaping or lighting welcome travelers or residents coming home. ‘Tired’ is one word used to describe the area by Anne Culver, the president of Scenic Houston, a nonprofit working to raise $7.5 million to upgrade the area.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 22 March
    • Ten years after a fiery explosion killed 15 in Texas City, preventable deaths continue at refineries (Jim Malewitz and Jolie McCullough – The Texas Tribune)
      http://apps.texastribune.org
  • 20 March
    • Center collaboration on air pollutants in the Texas Eagle Ford Shale wins health prize (William Gray – The Center for Public Integrity)
      www.publicintegrity.org
    • EPA Awards over $2.1 Million to Clean Up Diesel Engines in La., Okla. and Texas (Big Country)
      www.bigcountryhomepage.com
    • This Major Newspaper Just Declared War on Fossil Fuels (Tim McDonnell – Climate Desk)
      http://climatedesk.org
    • Texas, other states, announce red snapper plan (Conor Harrison – Lone Star Outdoor News)
      www.lsonews.com
    • Wood is Good For Your Body and Brain: Planet Ark Report (Chris Philpot – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 19 March
    • Broadway to be spruced up (Erin Mulvaney – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Clean Transportation and Energy Consulting Firm Joins WTS as Partner for Advancement of Women in Transportation (Benzinga)
      www.benzinga.com
    • A Roundup of Energy, Water, and Climate Bills in the 84th Texas Legislative Session (Kate Zerrenner – Texas Clean Air Matters)
      http://blogs.edf.org
  • 18 March
    • Let’s work with nature, not against it (Susan Chadwick – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Groundwater, subsidence organizations (Matt Stephens – Community Impact Newspaper)
      http://impactnews.com
    • City Beautiful (James Howard Kunstler – Orion Magazine)
      https://orionmagazine.org
    • Georgetown Goes All In on Renewable Energy (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Beaumont State Rep Files Oyster Reef “Land Grab” Bill (Dianna Wray – Houston Press Blogs)
      http://blogs.houstonpress.com
    • Parks, pathways bloom along Cypress Creek as part of greenway project (Matt Stephens – Community Impact Newspaper)
      http://impactnews.com
    • Can carbon emissions be curbed without EPA rule? (Germán Ibáñez – Electric Light & Power)
      www.elp.com
    • The Next Big Drug Discovery Could Come From a Scoop of Soil in Your Backyard (Arvind Suresh – PLOS Blogs)
      http://blogs.plos.org
    • Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 2: Can ‘Nested’ Neighborhood Planning Lead to Urban Ecological Democracy? (Jayne Engle – The Nature of Cities)
      www.thenatureofcities.com
  • 17 March
  • 16 March
    • How The Oceans Have Dried Texas Out (Philip Issa – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Five things you need to know in Texas energy this week (Video) (Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • EPA Encourages Consumers to Save 1 Trillion Gallons of Wasted Water/ WaterSense Partners Celebrate Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22 (EPA News)
      http://yosemite.epa.gov
    • Bipartisan Legislative Stink: Questions Raised On Authorship Of Chemicals ‘Safety’ Bill (David McCumber – The Daily Call)
      www.thedailycall.org
    • Politics Is Poisoning NASA’s Ability to Do What It Needs to Do (Phil Plait – Slate)
      www.slate.com
  • 15 March
    • Pearland residents team up with Parks and Rec to plant wetland habitats (Stacey Glaesmann – The Pearland Journal)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
  • 14 March
  • 13 March
    • Water birds find sanctuary on High Island (Gary Clark – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Galveston Farm Raises a Unique Crop: Endangered Sea Turtles (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • Private Sector Plays a Big Role In State Water Planning (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Revenues From Oil Production Down 40 Percent From August (Andrew Scheider – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Are Food Deserts also Food Monocultures? Proposing a Citizen Science Project in Urban Ecology (PLOS Blogs)
      http://blogs.plos.org
  • 12 March
  • 11 March
  • 10 March
    • Binoculars, Enthusiasm All That’s Required for Texas Birding Event (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Houston Ship Channel remains closed, but public safe (Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Video: Life After Proposition 6 (Evan Smith – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Endangered Species Expert Heads to Comptroller’s Office (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 9 March
  • 8 March
    • T-Squared: An In-Depth Series on Undrinkable Water (Emily Ramshaw – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 5 March
    • Once extravagant, renewable power plans go cheap (James Osborne – The Dallas Morning News)
      www.dallasnews.com
  • 2 March
    • What living in a dumpster for a year taught this professor about the things we don’t need (Peter Holley – The Washington Post)
      www.washingtonpost.com
    • At Hearing, Climate Change Called a “Threat Multiplier” (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org