Thursday, September 25, 2014

WVWA Fall Membership Event this Saturday, September 27th

Wimberley Valley Watershed Association
Fall Membership Picnic at Jacob's Well

Join us Saturday September 27th at the Retreat at Jacob's Well to connect with the Wimberley Valley community and celebrate nearly two decades of conservation and stewardship of our land and water. Enjoy a casual picnic dinner with music by Dave Moretz and meet the Friends of Jacob's Well Volunteers, Science Dive Teams and water lovers from across the Hill Country. Come early for a dip into Jacob's Well!

PO BOX 2534
Wimberley, Texas 78676

Hill Country Alliance News 09.23.14

Water Crisis: Time to Get Serious!

September 23, 2014

Last week’s “Water Crisis” event hosted by The Hays County Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) drew a huge crowd and continues to create meaningful conversations about how rural lands west of I-35 will be developed. CARD advocates that responsible, sustainable development within western Hays County be concentrated along established growth corridors, ie: I-35, Hwy 130, FM 46, US 290 and US 281. They also recommend that the interior of Hays and northern Comal Counties remain at rural densities. 

CARD’s intention was to bring people together for a serious and respectful conversation about serious water issues that will determine the future of Hill Country development.
The backdrop consists of simmering controversies such as the over-pumping of the Trinity Aquifer, the legal separation between groundwater and surface water, the importation of water from the east to fuel development along the I-35 corridor, and the failure of the TCEQ to create adequate aquifer protection in this highly stressed area. 

These controversies coupled with Central Texas’ spiraling growth and the inability of Texas counties to contribute to significant land planning are the driving forces that led CARD to call this “Water Crisis” Summit and to lay the groundwork for future dialog and action. 

CARD invited a panel of speakers to present their vision of the state of water to the public in Wimberley, Texas. The panel included Andy Sansom of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Hays County Commissioner Ray Wisenant, Peter Newell, of HDR Engineering (planning consultant for the San Antonio and Blanco River Basins - Region L), and SAWS’ (San Antonio Water Supply) COO, Steve Clouse. 

Presentations relied on the suppositions that the I-35 growth corridor will continue to grow at an exponential rate without limitation westward into the Hill Country, and without regard to advanced conservation strategies and low impact development strategies that can and should be part of the equation. The proposal that SAWS and the Hays County Commissioner’s Court are presenting is to import at least 141,000 Acre-Feet (about 46 Billion gallons) per year, every year, from our neighboring counties to the east over the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Landowners to the east strongly object to this volume of water moving out of their area. 

HCA views water transfers as something to take seriously and avoid without full comprehension and assurance that the sending basin isn’t compromised simply to benefit another basin’s unbridled growth. 

HCA also recognizes and struggles with the fact that here in the Hill Country (and all of Texas) we do not have the ability to practice land development/land-use planning outside of our municipalities or on a large landscape scale. The result is that infrastructure proposals such as these actually become the region's land-use plan by default. Every pipeline that stretches outside of a city, leads sprawling development further away from existing urban infrastructure. Who exactly will this new supply serve, at what cost, and at whose expense? 

A prosperous Hill Country economy is achievable with careful planning and sustainable supply solutions. We need to embrace the idea that our growth needs must be met without over-drafting our resources - and that means financial resources as well as natural resources. Just as Hill Country ranchers have known for generations, this landscape has a carrying capacity that must be calculated and honored. 

CARD’s leadership continues to provide the Hill Country with well-reasoned planning input and thoughtful forums in which the community has the ability to participate and make a difference. Their website is a valuable resource, and contains an event summary with links to each of presentations from the Summit.

As a counterpoint, or perhaps an expanded point, Linda Curtis from Independent Texans had this to say:

Thursday night, I attended a forum in Hays County put on by the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD). I have good friends in CARD and I know they mean well. I also believe they had no intention of letting this happen. Nevertheless, I want to tell you what I think – me, Linda Curtis. The League of Independent Voters will have its own response to my report soon. 

What went down is that local Hays County Commissioners, Will Conley and Ray Whisenant, together with San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) Senior VP CEO Steven Clouse, stole the show peddling their respective plans to drain the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and its deep Simsboro formation in rural counties just east of Austin where I happen to live. 

The confusing blather of the Hays County Commissioners – which might explain why so many people just up and left before the end – had many scratching their heads. But it was the scientists on the panel who really got to me. They began with a conclusion. The conclusion is that our growth rate in central Texas will continue for decades, ignoring the basic truism we all learn in Biology 101, expressed in the graph below. We put this together for our friends in Austin who are choking on out-of-control growth and its intimate partner – unaffordability.
In other words, dear Hays County friends, we Central Texans are on an unsustainable path. But you already know this. So why was this perspective not represented at the CARD event? I really don’t know. But I think Hays Countians need to hear another viewpoint and some basic facts. 

It is important that you understand that the projects being sold to you on Thursday night represent a virtual siege by water marketers and some municipalities on the aquifer east of Austin – the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer under Burleson, Milam, Lee and Bastrop counties. It is a fact that you cannot effectively evaluate the effect of one project on the aquifer without acknowledging the total projected pumping on the same aquifer. 

It surprised me that no one from Hays County took on their Commissioners for using taxpayer dollars for a “reservation agreement” with Forestar Real Estate Group for 45,000- acre-feet per year, after the Lost Pines District granted Forestar a more reasonable 12,000 acre-feet permit based on a desire not to mine (and harm) the Simsboro. That’s almost 14 billion gallons per year compared to a little less than 4 billion gallons --- however, 4 billion gallons is estimated to serve up to 35,000 homes.

Hays County has no way to deliver, much less need for, water for 125,000 homes until maybe 2060! What’s more, ask the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District that represents you if they would ever agree to the amount of drawdown on your aquifer being forced on us out here east of Austin. (Yours is approximately 30 feet, ours is 200+ feet drawdown “average”, which means much higher drawdowns near the mega-well fields themselves.) I think the answer is likely not just no, but hell no! 

Forestar is suing not only the Lost Pines GCD, but each of our volunteer board members individually, no doubt using Hays County dollars for their litigation kitty. Are these the kind of people Hays County citizens want their tax dollars supporting? I doubt it. But no one peeped a word.
There’s also water marketer, End Op, LP, owned by former Williamson County Commissioner, Frankie Limmer, a notorious good ole boy. End Op is trying to secure a permit from Lost Pines GCD for 46,000 acre-feet from the same aquifer

The most imminent contract for Simsboro water is the Vista Ridge Project for 50,000 acre-feet brokered between SAWS and a consortium of the Spanish-based Abengoa Water USA and Austin-based Blue Water Systems. Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (Milam and Burleson counties), just to the north and east of the Lost Pines District, has already approved a permit for Blue Water totaling 71,000 acre-feet that will be used for the SAWS project as well as for the SR 130 corridor, much to the chagrin of Milam and Burleson County landowners, businesses and newly arrived board members of Post Oak GCD who are just realizing that they’ve been had. That’s right. It’s the same aquifer that Lost Pines is getting sued out the ying-yang for trying to protect. 

The SAWS Vista Ridge deal may well be inked on September 22, but it must be approved by the San Antonio City Council. This was really why I attended the Hays County meeting. I went there to ask for help from our Hays County friends to appeal to the San Antonio officials to put a stop to this. 

If we, together, can bust the SAWS Vista Ridge deal, this will be a signal to the Hays County Commissioners Court and municipalities along the IH-35 corridor to take their foot off the growth pedal by continuing to enable real estate developers building in areas without adequate local water supply. If we unite as a region, we can do powerful things. If we don’t, the SAWS deal is likely to be the beginning of the end of groundwater sustainability for us all.

It Will Take an Insane Amount of Rain Before the Highland Lakes Recover | StateImpact Texas

Photo courtesy of the LCRA......Lake Travis is heading 
towards  its lowest levels in history if we have a dry fall.
Central Texas is having a pretty decent year, rain-wise. We’re sitting just below normal. And it’s been a good week, too: early Thursday, one part of Austin got over seven inches of rain.

So much rain fell over downtown Austin that the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan along Lady Bird Lake looked like he was walking on water. It brought back memories of the Halloween floods last fall — back then Stevie was standing in water waist-deep. But these big rain events all have something in common: They really haven’t fallen where we need them most.

“The watershed that helps our water supplies isn’t here in Austin; it’s way up into the counties to the north of us. It’s the drainage that goes into Lakes Buchanan and Travis,” says John Hofmann, Executive Vice President of Water for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).

Hofmann says while the areas around the lakes got some decent rain earlier this summer, other than that it’s been pretty dry up there. So while Lake Austin is getting doused, the creekbeds that go into the Highland Lakes can stay relatively dry. Lake Travis has risen over a foot this week, and could go up another foot today. But it’s still nearly 40 feet below where it should be, and lower than it was a month ago.

And it’s not just where the water is falling that’s preventing the lakes from recovering. It’s the condition of the ground that it’s falling on.

If the ground is dry, it can soak that rain right up.

“You know, the water falls from rain. Some of it runs off into the reservoir, some of it recharges the groundwater. But a lot of it stays right near the surface. And it’s taken up by the plants. Or it just evaporates,” says Michael Young, an Associate Director at UT’s Bureau of Economic Geology.
“Even though 2014 so far has been near-normal precipitation or maybe a couple of inches behind,” Young says, “we’re getting no response from the reservoirs, and it’s because most of the water is soaking into the soil.”

Young is part of a team working on tools to better track soil moisture levels. He estimates that water lost from the soil could account for anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of the water losses during 2011, the driest year in Texas history.

“Outside of precipitation, [soil moisture] is one of the most important components of the water balance in this state,” Young says. “And we don’t know what that component is. It’s a complete black box across the state.”

Those water losses to dry soil continue today. “The first inch or two of rainfall in most of these events that we’ve had scattered around the summer are immediately soaked up by the soil,” says Hofmann with the LCRA. The rain this week has basically bought Central Texas a few weeks of water supply, he says.

All of this adds up to a struggling reservoir system for Central Texas. If you look at the water levels of Lake Travis over the years and graph them out, it’s almost like a heartbeat monitor. And starting in the mid-2000s, the lake looks likes it could use some life support.

If we have a dry fall, the Highland Lakes could reach their lowest levels by the end of December, and that would mean that from a reservoir standpoint, this drought is worse than the drought of record in the fifties.

So what would it take to bring the lakes back?

“A series of rain events that would result somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 inches of rainfall, widespread throughout that area, before we could see real meaningful improvement in our supplies,” says Hofmann with the LCRA.

There is a silver lining, however. Even though the lakes aren’t recovering yet, rainfall over the city still helps reduce the demands on them. It cools things down, reducing evaporation; it increases soil moisture, setting the stage for better runoffs next time it rains; and hopefully it keeps you from watering your lawn.

“We’re all optimistically watching the skies right now,” Hofmann says.
Mose Buchele contributed reporting.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs historic groundwater management legislation in California

Steve Arthur's crew works drilling a well for farmer Juan Carrera that will provide water for his orange grove in Terra Bella, Calif. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)


Laws and LegislationJerry BrownRoger Dickinson
Gov. Jerry Brown on signing the state's first plan to manage groundwater: 'This is a big deal'
Many agriculture interests remain staunchly opposed to the groundwater regulation laws
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a trio of bills Tuesday establishing a framework for statewide regulation of California's underground water sources, marking the first time in the state's history that groundwater will be managed on a large scale.

"This is a big deal," Brown said at a signing ceremony in the Capitol. "It's been known about for decades that underground water has to be managed and regulated in some way."
Since the state's founding, water has been considered a property right; landowners have been able to pump as much water from the ground as they want. But increasing reliance on underground water, particularly during droughts, has led to more pumping from some basins than what is naturally being replaced.

Some areas already have begun managing their groundwater sources, but other key basins remain unregulated.

Even with the management structure in place, experts say it could be decades before the state's most depleted basins recover.

The regulatory plan signed by Brown is broken up into three bills: SB 1168 by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) instructs local agencies to create management plans. A measure by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), AB 1739, establishes when the state government can intervene if the local groups don't sufficiently do their job.

A third measure, SB 1319, also by Pavley, seeks to allay some concerns of farmers by postponing the state's action in certain places where surface water has been affected by groundwater pumping.
Brown touted the plan's emphasis on local agencies, which he described as "pushing the responsibility to where people really are."

He insisted his administration and lawmakers did not "shove aside those who were not totally comfortable" while crafting the legislation.

"We've made some concessions, we've taken into account concerns that farmers throughout California have," he said, adding "we've gone as far as we thought was appropriate" to address those concerns.

But many agriculture interests remain staunchly opposed to the bill. Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, said the bills "may come to be seen as 'historic' for all the wrong reasons" by drastically harming food production.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said the legislation did not go far enough in protecting local interests because the state can step in to enforce regulation.

"Waiting in the wings is the all-powerful reach of state government," Patterson said in an interview. "That should scare anybody.

"There's really going to be a wrestling match over who’s going to get the water," Patterson said, predicting the regulation plans will bring a rash of lawsuits.

Groundwater will likely remain on the agenda for the Legislature next year. In a signing statement, Brown indicated he would also propose legislative tweaks next session to streamline the process in which courts determine groundwater rights.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Trend Of Land Fragmentation, Rural Loss Continues In Texas

Livestock Weekly

September 18, 2014
Trend Of Land Fragmentation, Rural Loss Continues In Texas
By John Bradshaw
            LUBBOCK — Land fragmentation has been a growing problem for Texas, and by all appearances it isn’t going to slow any time soon. The state’s population continues to grow rapidly, and those residents have an insatiable appetite for land.
            Todd Snelgrove brought some facts and figures on fragmentation trends to a recent landowner forum presented by Texas Agricultural Land Trust. Snelgrove, who is with the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, began by talking about the state’s continued population growth.
            In 1997 there were 19 million Texas residents. Today that number has climbed to 26 million.
            “That’s a 36 percent increase, or about 500,000 new Texans every year,” Snelgrove said.
            Of that increase, 63 percent moved to 10 counties, which are all around Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
            “There has been massive population growth over the last 15 years in those areas,” he said.
            Looking at the top 25 most-populated counties, in 1997 there were 13 million residents. Now there are 19 million.
            “We’re seeing the sprawl,” Snelgrove said.
            It thundered outside just as he said this, and Snelgrove remarked that it was a sign of impending doom.
            Those top 25 counties represent only 10 percent of the total acreage in Texas but hold three-fourths of the state’s population.
            In 1997 the highest-value land was concentrated in the close vicinity of the large cities, but since then the market value of land surrounding those cities for some distance has increased dramatically.
            “It is expanding out into traditional rural counties,” Snelgrove said.
            In the last 15 years one million acres of what is considered open space were lost to fragmentation. Much of that occurred during a nationwide economic boom.
            However, from 2007-2012 the trend slowed considerably due to the economic recession.
            “We’re still losing open space land, but not quite as quickly as we did in the previous decade,” he said.
            There has been a significant increase in the number of farms of fewer than 500 acres over the last 15 years surrounding Dallas and Houston.
            “That is a massive indication of ownership fragmentation,” Snelgrove said.
            Those small farms are coming from the fragmentation of tracts in the 500-2000 acre class.
            However, in areas where profitability from land ownership has been high over the last 15 years, where someone can make a living from their land, there has been some consolidation of smaller tracts into larger holdings.
            Areas around Lubbock have been consolidating, as are some areas in South Texas. It’s too early to tell, but Snelgrove said his gut is saying that as landowners continue to receive financial benefits from oil and gas production there will be an increase in consolidation in those areas.
            “I think in this next generation of land trends, looking from 2012 to 2017, we’ll see an increase in consolidation in those areas that have reaped the benefits, like the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin,” he said.
            The upturn in oil and gas will cause more fragmentation near the cities, though, as more companies and people move to Texas.
            “If you’re living near any of the major transportation corridors through the middle part of the state, those rural lands are going to be under extreme pressure.”
            Although there has been consolidation in a few select areas around the state, the majority has continued to be broken up. Areas where it is particularly evident are along the Gulf Coast and through the Edwards Plateau, Rolling Plains and into East Texas.
            Looking at the future, the increasing population coupled with the economic rise should trigger an acceleration of open space decline, Snelgrove predicted. It is projected that by 2040 the population of Texas will reach 36 million.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Neighbor to Neighbor News Pass it on...Hill Country News

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst
Water marketers who want to sell to cities say there’s plenty of groundwater, however landowners and conservationists warn that this precious resource could drain in a few decades. What’s the long-term impact on the Colorado River as the groundwater table declines? Who exactly is this water for and what are they willing to pay? Neena Satija, Texas Tribune.

Where is the Hill Country?
ACC Professor Don Jonsson takes an interesting look at various degrees of consensus about what geography is included in the “Hill Country.” His data shows Luckenbach as generally the mean center of the region and the Pedernales River Basin 100% Texas Hill Country.  View his project findings, map and summary. HCA has a plethora of helpful Hill Country map resources available online and as well as an interactive map viewer.

Wild Pigs!
Landowner groups and Wildlife Coops – Here’s something worth passing along to your member lists. Wild Pigs are an issue throughout the Hill Country region. Here’s an opportunity to learn from the comfort of your own ranch/home computer. Dial in September 18th to from noon to 1:00. Find out how to access this webinar made possible by the Texas Wildlife Association.
No Land. No Water.
As the current drought reminds us, water continues to impact the sustainability and growth of Texas' economy. Unfortunately, land is disappearing faster than in any other state, threatening the water resources on which our economy depends. Land conservation is a cost-effective water resource protection strategy. Join TALT October 1st in Austin.

"I’m a NIMBY and proud"
“The effects of population growth on traffic are easy to understand. More people equal more cars on the road. More cars on the road equal more congestion. Duh! The real culprit is the rate at which new people are moving here.” Read one bold Austinite's views (who happens to also be a Real Estate Developer) about the real issue facing Austin (and the Hill Country) population. Ed Wendler, Special to the Austin American Statesman.
Fall Camping Workshops Announced for Outdoor Families
With cool weather around the corner, the Texas Outdoor Family program has scheduled outdoor recreational workshops statewide though the beginning of December. The workshops offer a low-cost weekend trip where families can un-plug, reconnect with nature, and learn the basics of camping. Read more from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Interested in getting more actively involved in HCA?
Join HCA leaders and volunteers as well as invited elected officials, GCD board members, landowners and conservationists for a day dedicated to vibrant towns, healthy landscapes, protected natural water systems and people making a difference in our Hill Country.  HCA Leadership Summit, September 25th at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg. Space is limited Register today.

Upcoming Events


September 17 in Lakeway - Water Matters by Central Texas Water Coalition - Details

September 18 in Austin - The Barstow Speakers Series: Wat're the possibilities? Strategies to Reduce the Strain on the Colorado River - Details
September 20 in Fredericksburg - Fredericksburg Shines 2nd Annual Sustainability Green Homes Tour - Details

September 22 in Kerrville - Monthly meeting of the Texas Master Naturalists - Topic: Hill Country Land Trusts, Speaker: Bill Lindemann, Vice President of Hill Country Land Trust - Details
September 25 in Fredericksburg - Hill Country Alliance Leadership Summit - Details
September 26 in Kerrville - 2014 New Landowner Series: Back to Basics, Home Gardening, Chickens, Natural vs. Organic - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details
September 26-28 in Belton - Renewable Energy Roundup - Details

September 27-28 in Boerne - Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop - Details
September 28 in Austin - 7th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature - Hosted by The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center - Details

October 1 in Austin - No Land, No Water: Tools & Strategies for Conserving Land to Protect Water Resources - Presented by Texas Agricultural Land Trust - Details
October 8 in San Antonio - Water Forum V: A regional forum on our future - Details
October 16 in Boerne - Hill Country Agri-land workshop - Details

October 17-19 in Alpine - Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Conference: Ecological Restoration in the Southwest - Details

October 24 in Utopia - Stars over Utopia - Learn how to protect our night skies and do some stargazing - Details

October 25 in Dripping Springs - HCA's 5th Annual Rainwater Revival! - Details

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst by Neena Satija

As drought continues to grip Central Texas, those looking to provide water to the region’s fast-growing cities and suburbs see a solution in a relatively untapped aquifer.

Water marketers, who bundle groundwater rights and sell the water to cities, say the region’s Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer holds hundreds of trillions of gallons of water. They say that is enough water to sustain growth for centuries in areas around Austin, whose reservoirs are only 34 percent full, and San Antonio, whose own aquifer is at such low levels that federally protected species are at risk.

But those who live above the Carrizo-Wilcox in rural Central Texas counties tell a different story, along with some environmental advocacy groups. They say bids from three prospective water providers to pump a combined 50 billion gallons of water a year from the aquifer will accommodate urban growth at the rural counties’ expense and drain a precious resource within just a few decades.
Scientists say determining who is right depends on the answers to a few key questions: Who is the water for? How much is the user willing to pay to get it? And how much will that user compensate others who may no longer be able to access the water as a result?

“It’s not a matter of availability,” said James Beach, a hydrologist for the firm LBG-Guyton who studies the Carrizo-Wilcox for a groundwater management district, the Central Texas water provider Aqua and San Antonio’s water utility. “The volume of water is there. It’s more a question of impact,” and how to measure and deal with those impacts, he added.

For example, shallow farm wells could run dry because of other pumping unless their pumps are lowered — which could cost thousands of dollars. Most hydrologists say those wells would have to be deepened if proposals to remove large amounts of water from Burleson, Bastrop and Lee counties proceed.

But they also say that water companies can compensate landowners, pointing out that many — including mining companies and water utilities — have done so in recent decades across Texas and in other portions of the aquifer. The water marketer End Op, which hopes to pump about 15 billion gallons a year from underneath Bastrop County, has agreed to pay millions of dollars into a fund to help landowners who may have to lower their pumps.

Not everyone is satisfied by that response. “I think that’s just saying, ‘We’re going to throw money at this so that we can bankrupt the system and overpump it,” said Darwyn Hanna, whose family has owned land in Bastrop County for five generations. Hanna grows pecans and runs cattle on some of his 250 acres, and while he does not pump groundwater, he is contesting End Op’s permit because he believes it will devalue his land.

Even the water marketers themselves could run into trouble as the region continues to grow. Drilling in the deepest portions of the Carrizo-Wilcox should help minimize the impact on rural landowners with shallower wells, and water marketers argue that they only need to remove a small percentage of the total water believed to be stored in the aquifer.

But sustained groundwater removal from even the deepest portions will cause water levels there to decline, and lowering pumps will not always do the trick. Eventually, the user will have to drill more wells to continue removing water at the same rate, said Robert Mace, deputy executive administrator at the Texas Water Development Board, the state’s water planning agency.
“If you wanted to set out and drain 5 percent of the storage of the Carrizo, I think you could do it” and leave most of the aquifer intact, said Mace. “But would it be economical to do that?” Adding extra, deeper wells can be a significant expense, he said.

Aqua Water Supply Corporation, which sells Carrizo-Wilcox water to thousands of Central Texans, has already protested attempts by other marketers to pump from the aquifer, saying that they would impact its ability to provide water to its customers.

James Bene, a hydrologist who consults for BlueWater Systems, which hopes to pump 16 billion gallons a year from the Carrizo-Wilcox in Burleson County to sell to San Antonio said pumping by nearby users “a substantial risk for the financial backers of projects like this.”

“They’re trying to figure out what a good payback on a 30-year loan will be,” Bene said. “Well, that’s easier said than done when you’re not sure whether you’ll be pumping water from 100 feet below ground level or 300 feet below ground level. So nobody is really sure.” But, he added, “I can tell you that any reasonable designer of a well field builds in some safety margin.”

Another related concern for environmental advocates is the relationship between the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and the Colorado River, whose flow has been at its lowest in decades. Studies show that the aquifer contributes some water supply to the river each year.

Modeling by George Rice, a former Edwards Aquifer Authority hydrologist, suggests that pumping by companies like End Op and BlueWater Systems could cause Carrizo-Wilcox to begin pulling water out of the river instead of putting water into it. That could cause further damage downstream to fishermen, who depend on the river’s freshwater flows for a steady supply of oysters and shrimp in Matagorda Bay. But no one has ever firmly established the relationship between the river and the aquifer.

“Give us a million dollars and give us a 20-year time to study it, and we’d come to an inconclusive result,” said Alan Dutton, a professor of hydrogeology at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has worked on state models of the aquifer. “The margin of error is much greater than the effects we’re trying to distinguish.”

There is also less funding for such research, and technical staff for groundwater modeling at the state water planning agency has been reduced by half.

But no matter how much more data is collected, basic questions will still remain over how to allocate a limited resource — especially one that is considered private property under Texas law.
“That’s going to be a political and socioeconomic issue in 30 years,” Bene said.
“Is the economic growth along the I-35 corridor worth a little bit extra drawdown for ranchers or farmers or landowners to the east? I can’t answer that,” Bene said. “But again, I can speak to the inevitability. We have no other source of water, really. We have to look to our major aquifers.”

Disclosure: The University of Texas at San Antonio is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Houston Environmental News Update September 16, 2014

In This Issue

Upcoming Events

For more info and updated listings, visit the CEC calendar at

Tue., 9/16/14
Wed., 9/17/2014 
Thu., 9/18/2014 
Fri., 9/19/2014 
Sat., 9/20/2014 

CEC recently received a lovely letter from Justus Baird, a former CEC board member. Justus is now the dean at the Auburn Theological Seminary in NYC, where he works to train leaders for faith-rooted social justice work, including environmental issues. He writes that the Seminary is participating in the People's Climate March in New York on Saturday. The school had a strong role in the creation of a 'Noah's Ark' that will make an appearance.

Sometimes it is hard to consider things that are happening in New York, when we have so many environmental opportunities here in Houston. Nevertheless, the People's Climate March does merit our attention. Organizers are expecting over 100,000 people in NYC alone, in what is expected to be the largest climate march in history.

World leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, people will take to the streets to demand a world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

As you might imagine, I am delighted that the greater Houston environmental community will have at least some representation at the event. Are you planning to attend?

If you aren't heading to New York, you might want to participate in a local support event (please use the links to RSVP). The event listing is provided by, which is one of over 1000 organizations who are part of the event.

CEC Notes

Welcome new subscribers
Please welcome our new subscribers: Jimmy, Paige, Morgan, Caroline, Samantha, Alma, Julia, and Yaw. We're glad you joined out community!

Downtown Fall Fest
CEC will be at the free 2014 Downtown Fall Fest this Thursday, September 18, 2014, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, at 611 Walker. Come visit!

Re-enroll with Kroger
Each year, Kroger Shoppers must re-enroll with the community rewards program for CEC--and other nonprofits--can receive donation based on your purchases. Visit to re-enroll. CEC's organization number is 91019.

Coalition NotesCoalitionNotes

The Future of Transportation in The Woodlands: What's Next?
September's Going Green Sustainability Lecture, sponsored by The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N., will focus on The Woodlands area's transportation issues. The Woodlands is facing major transportation challenges with the growing traffic levels that are accompanying new development in and around The Woodlands. This added traffic impacts air quality, noise levels, storm runoff, and public safety. Mike Bass, Director on The Woodlands Township Board, will provide an update about these conditions and options considered in two major studies launched in 2013. The lecture will be held on September 16, 2014, at 7pm at the South Regional Library. More at

Sierra Club Evening Benefit Event
Gather with like-minded folks, enjoy good company, as well as some great appetizers, and donate to both the local Houston Regional Group Sierra Club and the Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club. The benefit will be held on September 17, 2014, 6:30-8:30pm at teh Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Hear from the new chapter Executive Director, Scheleen Walker, about past successes and upcoming challenges (including the next legislative session); as well Jennifer Walker, chapter Water Resources Coordinator about what we can't live without. Tickets are $30 for individuals and $50 for couples. Email for purchase and information.

A Story of Memorial Park: People in Nature
Please join the Memorial Park Conservancy on September 17, 2014, from 6pm to 8pm for a public update meeting about the current Memorial Park Master Planning process.  The evening will include a presentation by the master planning design team (Nelson Byrd Woltz - and a Q & A session following the presentation.  Join the Memorial Park Conservancy, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and Uptown-Houston who are jointly leading the Memorial Park Long-Range Master Planning effort to learn about Memorial Park's soils, ecology, cultural history and preliminary design ideas for the park.  For more information, visit

Houston Green Film Series: Come Hell or High Water. Houston Green Film Series will begin again for the fall semester, commencing with the documentary Come Hell or High Water. Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Evans and his family and neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice. Come out on September 17, 2014, at 6:30pm, to the Rice Media Center. A light dinner will be served, courtesy of Dr. Pat Speck and Dry Bones Cafe. The film is free to the public, though donations are suggested and kindly appreciated. Learn more and RSVP at the facebook event.

Clean Waters Initiative: Water Rights and Water Reuse
The next Clean Waters Initiative will be held on September 18, 2014, at 1:30pm in H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor. The topic will be Water Rights and Water Reuse. Subjects to be covered include Region H water supply, Environmental Flows, Rain Barrels, Desalination and Energy Production, and Water Conservation. You can register at CWI offers workshops that help local governments, landowners, and citizens develop effective strategies to reduce pollution in our area waterways. For more information, contact Aubin Phillips at 832-681-2524.

Public Interest Design Institute at Rice School of Architecture
Through September 18, you can register at a reduced rate for the two-day Public Interest Design Institute at the Rice University School of Architecture. Nine national experts, pictured above, will present best practices and case studies in public interest design on October 4 and 5 in Room 117 in Anderson Hall. Navigate now to to register!

Houston Speaks: My Houston 2040 Air Alliance Houston will present a cross-cultural, cross generational and cross-communal dialogue of issues voiced by eight Houston residents, with the aim of promoting "sameness" that exists throughout the Houston community. Networking begins at 5:30, with the show starting promptly at 6:00. Please rsvp to the Facebook Event Page for more information.

Native Plants at Home and Garden Show
Visit the Native Plant Society Display, booth 468, at the Texas Home and Garden Show in Houston on September 20-21 at the NRG Center (formerly Reliant Center).

Galveston Bay Foundation Rain Barrel Program
Rain barrels are an efficient, low-cost method for collecting rainwater. They are placed at downspouts in order to reduce runoff into storm drains, and can be used for watering a garden or houseplants, among many other uses. Come learn about rain barrels at Galveston Bay Foundation's Rain Barrel Workshop on September 20, 2014, from 2-4pm at the Brown Education Hall at the Houston Zoo. The cost is $30 per registration, which includes admission to the workshop, a 35-gallon recycled barrel, and a connector kit. All purchases are final and attendance at the workshop is required to receive a barrel and kit. Register at There will be another workshop on October 4, 2014, 9:30-11:30am at the McGuire Dent Recreation Center in Galveston.

Xtreme Hummingbird Extravaganza. Autumn is hummingbird season in Texas, as thousands of these tiny creatures move through the state on their southward migration to Mexico and Central America. Join Gulf Coast Bird Observatory on September 20, 2014, to see hummingbirds being banded, adopt a hummingbird, browse the Nature Store, walk the nature trails, or buy a plant to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. More at

Fifth Ward/Buffalo Bayou/East End Workshops
The Fifth Ward CRC, East End Management District, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership are launching a Livable Centers study that will create a plan to improve transportation and housing, create walkable and mixed-use places, and promote economic development.  We need your input so that the final plan reflects the vision of the community. The first half an hour will be for networking, and the discussion will start at 6:00pm. Come speak directly to members of the planning team to share your ideas and concerns for the neighborhood.
  • Fifth Ward workshop: Monday, Sept 22, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm, The Silo, 4601 Clinton Drive 
  • East End workshop: Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm, HCC Felix Fraga Campus, 301 North Drennan St. 
  • Buffalo Bayou workshop: Saturday, Sept 27, 2014
    • 10:30 am -12:30 pm at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation Blvd.
    • 12:30 - 2:30 pm at Eastwood Park, 5020 Harrisburg Blvd.
For more information, visit the Facebook Page.  

Call for Livable Center Study and Special Districts Study Partners

The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is seeking proposals from local governments or other eligible project sponsors to conduct Livable Centers and Special Districts planning studies.The objective of the Livable Centers planning studies is to help create quality, walkable, mixed-use places, create multi-modal travel choices, improve environmental quality, and promote economic development and housing choice. Study recommendations will ideally lead to locally sponsored Livable Centers projects for possible inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and future Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP). Note: this is not a request for funding proposals from consulting firms. Pre-submittal meeting: September 24, 2014. Deadline for notice of intent to apply: September 30, 2104. Learn more at

Scenic Galveston's 28th Event: GLO Adopt-A-Beach-Estuary
SCENIC GALVESTON's wetlands partnership cleaning event with the General Land Office is fast approaching! It's time again for volunteers to step through and into the Tide to remove tons of debris, invasive plants, ugly objects from SG's estuarial habitat conservation preserves and shorelines. There will be on site registration between 8-9am. The cleanup will be held on September 27, 2014, 9am-noon. After, teams will return to the O'Quinn Pavillion for a custom lunch (required RSVP) with a lively report on latest habitat conservation work, team leader reports, and the day's bird count. Learn more at

Tree & Wetland Plant Nursery Open House
Trees for Houston and the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, in conjunction with the Clear Lake City Water Authority and the Exploration Green Conservancy, are holding a joint open house for the tree and wetland nurseries at Exploration Green, October 4, 2014, 9am-12pm. Tours will be offered and information provided about volunteer opportunities in the nurseries, which are growing trees and plants for the conservation and recreation area in Clear Lake City. The nurseries are accessible from the trail that heads northeast from the bridge on Neptune Lane, approximately 2 ½ blocks north of Bay Area Blvd. Learn more at

KPFT 90.1 Tennis Fun Fest
Come out to the Homer Ford Tennis Center on October 11, 2014, for a fun day of tennis! This event will be hosted by KPFT 90.1. The day begins at 8:30am with a 45-minute clinic led by tennis star Lori McNeil (formerly ranked #9 in the world) and her coach and mentor, John Wilkerson. There will be 3 levels of play: Youth to age 16; Adult: Novice; Adult Intermediate/Advanced. The matches will be twenty minutes. This day will be fun for the whole family! Come out for music, food, playground, and auction. Spectators are welcome! Find out more at

Houston Canoe Club turns 50!!!
October 11, 2014, 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, at the Bay Area Community Center, 5002 East NASA Parkway, Seabrook. The HCC 50th Anniversary Flotilla will paddle from the launch site to Horsepen Bayou and back, a distance of about 4 miles. Help getting your boat off and back on your vehicle and to the docks will be available. Any decorations including flags, which will be available for the first 50 or so boats on the scene, will make this HCC 50 Boat Flotilla an attractive and notable newsworthy event. The launch is set for 3pm, so, be sure to arrive around 2pm to allow enough time to prepare and launch your boat.

Save the Date! Friends of Woodland Park Trails at Twilight
For 100 years, Woodland Park has provided Houstonians a haven of natural beauty.  Help us preserve this precious resource for coming generations by joining in the celebration.  Our wish list includes: park benches, playground equipment, trail signage, foot bridges, game tables and much more.  There will be live music, a silent auction, bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres. October 17, 2014.

Southeast Houston Community Affected by Toxic Waste
Air Alliance Houston reports: "Last month, after almost four years of public outcry, the EPA finally agreed to begin cleaning up an abandoned industrial waste facility in southeast Houston. The waste was left there by CES Environmental Services Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after being fined $1.5 million for countless safety violations." Read more.

Houston Anti-Idling Ordinance Petition
Idling from diesel engines creates air pollution and health risks all over the city. From the scores of trucks lined up in neighborhoods around the ship channel to school buses waiting to bring our children home for the day, it is safe to say that all of us are adversely affected by this issue. Help Air Alliance Houston gain traction on an Anti-Idling Ordinance in Houston by signing the petition today! Lean more about anti-idling programs for our region from the H-GAC Engine Off Program

Additional Upcoming Events 

Community Notes

Natural History and Aesthetics - Why Should We Care About Nature?
Harry Greene, Ph.D., Cornell, Monday, September 22, 6:30 pm, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Public $18, CEC members* $13, Museum members $12. The diversity of life on Earth is under serious threats from multiple human-related causes, and science plays well-known roles in addressing management aspects of this problem. Dr. Harry W. Greene will describe how natural history also plays a vital role in enhancing our appreciation for organisms and environments, thereby influencing value judgments that ultimately underlie all conservation. I will first explain how an 18th  century philosopher's distinction between "beauty" and "sublime" can be used in the context of Darwin's notion of "descent with modification," then illustrate this approach with frogs, snakes, African megafauna, Longhorns, and California Condors. Dr. Harry Greene is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. He is a popular author and will be signing copies of his latest book Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art following the lecture. This lecture at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is co-sponsored by Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Register at  * For discount code, CEC members should contact or call 713-524-4232.

Double Bayou Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop
The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources | Texas Water Resources Institute
and the Double Bayou Watershed Partnership invite you to attend the Texas Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop on September 24, 2014 from 8am - 4pm at White's Park Community Building an Hankamer/Anahuac. Learn more about the riparian workshop, and register by Sept. 19, 2014.

2014-2015 Energy Symposium Series: Critical Issues in Energy
The second annual Energy Symposium Series will be held on September 30, 2014, 5:30-8pm at the University of Houston. The topic of this event is US Energy Independence: Good for the Nation? Guest speakers include Edward Chow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ed Hirs, Hillhouse Resources LLC and University of Houston, and Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska. The event will be moderated by Dave Fehling of Houston Public Media. This is a free event. Visit to register.

Coastal Resiliency Conference: Living on the Edge
Texas Medical Branch's Center in Environmental Toxicology, is organizing a three day conference on coastal resilience scheduled for October 8-10, 2014. This conference will provide a platform to discuss the challenges and strategies for building and preserving a resilient Gulf Coast. Attendees will explore the connections between the natural environment and the cultural heritage of coastal populations. The cost is $120, and $25 for students. Register at

Captain Planet Foundation Small Grant
The Captain Planet Foundation primarily makes grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Grants are made for activities that conform to the mission of the Captain Planet Foundation and MUST have all three of the following to be considered for funding: be project based; projects must be performed by youth; and projects must have real environmental outcomes. Captain Planet Foundation will accept small grant requests for amounts between $500 - $2,500. Preferential consideration is given to requests who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their projects. The application for spring and summer projects is September 30, 2014, and January 31, 2015, for fall and winter projects. Read more and apply at

Children's Environmental Health Institute's Scientific Symposium
Biennial Scientific Symposium. Register now for the Children's Environmental Health Institute's Eight Biennial Scientific Symposium: Prenatal Environmental Exposures as a Determinant of Early Childhood Disease. Hear global experts challenge us to elevate critical  thinking on ways to address the prevention of environmental health risks to children. Keynote speakers Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD, and Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, among other distinguished speakers will provide prevention-oriented research on how toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies, and are associated with numerous health problems and chronic disease. The symposium will be held November 13-14, 2014, at McKinney Roughs Education Center, close to Austin Texas. Learn more and register at

Save the Date: Texas Wildlife & Woodland Expo
Last year, over 5,000 families, scouts, and adults attended the daylong event. 150 educational booths, classes, hands-on clinic, exhibitors, and activities on the campus of Lone Star College-Montgomery. Free. Visit for more information and booth information. March 28, 2015.

Additional Dates of Note

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.

Air Quality Forecastair Houston Clean Air Network and Realtime Ozone Mapping:
  • September 16, 2014: Green--Good. Moderate winds, lower incoming background levels, and/or cloud cover should help to keep air quality in the "Good" range.
  • September 17, 2014: Green--Good. Moderate winds and lower incoming background levels, and/or cloud cover with precipitation should help to keep air quality in the "Good" range.
  • September 18, 2014: Green--Good. Moderate winds and lower incoming background levels, and/or cloud cover with precipitation should help to keep air quality in the "Good" range.
  • September 19, 2014: Green--Good. Moderate winds and lower incoming background levels, and/or cloud cover with precipitation should help to keep air quality in the "Good" range.

News HeadlinesEcoNotes

Cody Duty/Chronicle Staff
(Harvey Rice - Houston Chronicle, 9/7/2014) Galveston tax collector-assessor Cheryl Johnson has seen lawsuits by oil companies suck millions of dollars out of local government coffers in recent years. The Republican officeholder watched as Valero used a quirk in tax law to twice win lawsuits forcing the Texas City school district to refund taxes. Valero is still suing for even more tax refunds. When Marathon Petroleum Corp. recently used the same tax law to sue for a reduction in property taxes for one of the country's largest refineries, Johnson vowed to try to convince legislators to do something about a problem she estimates is costing local governments about $1 billion annually.

Houston getting $10 million for traffic tracking systems
(Houston Chronicle, 9/10/2014) An ongoing project to expand and upgrade traffic systems in the Houston area has received $10 million from a highly-competitive federal transportation program, officials confirmed. Though it won't build a new road or add another bus route, officials said the money will improve traffic by bolstering Houston's transportation monitoring system, which relays traffic information to drivers and helps city workers address congestion. The money gives Houston officials another $10 million to invest in work already going on around the area to upgrade or add traffic monitoring data, city of Houston public works spokesman Alvin Wright said. 

Houston offers sweet deal on park to Sugar Land
(Mike Morris - Houston Chronicle, 9/5/2014) In the 25 years since the city of Houston and the Houston Parks Board purchased Cullinan Park off Highway 6 near U.S. 90A, creating the city's fourth-largest park, the site has languished. Far outside Houston city limits next to Sugar Land Regional Airport, the park boasts just one entrance road, some picnic tables, and a few hiking trails to complement the wooden walkways overlooking White Lake, abuzz with dragonflies and coated with lily pads. "This is a great resource out here, but it has a long way to go before you can really call it a good all-purpose park," said Don Gallo, local resident and park regular. Houston is now considering transferring responsibility for the park to the city of Sugar Land.

James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle
Planning for future water use a conundrum for Houston
(Matthew Tresaugue - Houston Chronicle) Beneath Houston, miles of the city's aging water mains are leaking billions of gallons each year. The repairs will require years of work and millions of dollars. So what's a city to do? Houston is raising the possibility of a new rate structure as the city finalizes the first update to its conservation plan since enduring the worst one-year drought in its history in 2011.

More Headlines at
CEC has collected even more headlines at

GreGreenJobsen Jobs

NEW! Nature Discovery Center seeks Executive Director
The Executive Director of the Nature Discovery Center (NDC) is responsible for managing all aspects of the Nature Discovery Center's operations through strong, creative, and strategic leadership. The ED builds consensus, stimulates staff development, and delivers results related to the organization's mission and goals. The ED is responsible for effective implementation of policies set by the Board of Directors as well as annual goals and objectives related to fiscal management, programming, and administration. For view the job description, visit Learn more about the Nature Discovery Center at

NEW! Artist Boat seeks Accounting Manager
The Accounting Manager is primarily responsible for assisting the Executive Director and Treasurer with the financial management of the organization. The Accounting Manager is required to have a formal and strong foundation in accounting, best practices in financial management, grants management and grants reimbursements, and nonprofit accounting. The purpose of this position is to provide the financial management infrastructure to maintain and grow all programs, track and report on all finances regarding grants and accounts, assure educational program staff have the proper support for procurement of materials and equipment needed for programs, assist the Executive Director with financial management of all funds, and process payroll. The Accounting Manager reports to the Executive Director, participates in the board of directors' finance committee, and maintains a positive roll in communicating with all members of the board of directors and staff. If interested, submit resume, cover letter, and three professional references via United States Postal Service to Karla Klay, Executive Director, 2415 Avenue K, Galveston, Texas 77550. View the full job description at

NEW! The Nature Discovery Center seeks Weekend Naturalist
The Nature Discovery Center is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic individual to join its education team: someone who loves science, nature, and children. This part-time position manages the weekend operations of the Center, with a focus on visitor services and education. Major responsibilities include: oversee the Center on Saturdays & Sundays, 9am-5:30pm (flexible); provide interactive, hands-on experiences in our science-based Discovery Rooms; update materials and curriculum in the Discovery Rooms as needed, with additional staff support; conduct birthday party programs with nature themed topics; conduct nature experiences such as nature walks and talks, as needed; manage weekend volunteers; manage animal care; and be a crucial member of the team, attending staff planning meetings as available. To apply for the Weekend Naturalist position, please provide a short cover letter and resume to Anne Eisner, Program Coordinator, at Learn more about the Center at

NEW! Cypresswood Water Conservation Garden seeks Part-time Webmaster
This part-time position would be the webmaster for the Water District andCypresswood Water Conservation Garden. Requirements include being acreative individual who is willing to think outside the box when it comes to web design and educating John Q. Must have interest in water conservation/healthy soil nexus, and a background in environmental awareness, biology, water conservation, soil conservation critical. 3+ years professional experience in web development/management is preferred. Applicants must provide a portfolio with examples of past work on multiple sites, advanced working knowledge of multiple web CMS software systems (special consideration given to candidates who are adept in WordPress). Applicants must also have expert experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript/jQuery and SQL, as well as a basic understanding/familiarity with XML, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, PHP (for WordPress) or other programming technologies. Experience with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator a plus. Send resumes and questions to Gary Toll at or Jim Dow at Learn more about the Cypresswood Water Conservation Garden at

NEW! Southern Alliance for Clean Energy seeks Solar Power Program Manager & Energy Policy Staff (Tennessee)
The successful candidate will have several years of experience working on policy, development or procurement of solar power in the electric power sector. The applicant must demonstrate solid skills in most of the following areas: writing, public speaking, analytic and computer applications. Experience with state agencies, decision-makers, media, or non-profit advocacy necessary. More info at

The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) seeks a full-time Grants Billing Specialist to fulfill reimbursement billing duties related to GBF's government grants, accounts payable, and accounts receivable as a member of the Administrative Team. Qualifications include a bachelor's degree in Accounting (received or in progress), ability to pass an intermediate level accounting test, and experience with QuickBooks financial software (preferred, not required). For a full job description, including duties and qualifications, please visit the GBF website. To apply, please e-mail resume by September 19 to

BikeHouston seeks three new staff members: Development Director, Director of Government and Community Affairs, and Marketing/Communication Associate
Development: This person will lead the development effort and build a multi-faceted approach to raising income to support our programs and advocacy work. They will have an entrepreneurial style and build a dynamic development program to diversify and expand BikeHouston's revenue. The primary responsibilities will be to secure new foundation grants and corporate sponsorship, and increase the number of individual donors and members. Additional responsibilities will include growing our membership as well as convert members into donors. The new staffer will bring structure, systems, creativity, positive energy and a track record of fundraising to the job.

Government & Community Affairs:
The position is responsible for identifying, monitoring and shaping policy initiatives within the city and county governments, management districts and super neighborhoods which relate to the BikeHouston mission. S/he helps communicate and advance the mission and goals to governmental programs through direct engagement with the Mayor's office, City Council Members, COH Health Department, Parks & Recreation Department, the Planning Department, and Houston Police Department, as well as related regional governmental and non-governmental organizations.The position is also responsible for identifying and securing public funding and monitoring policy initiatives within the city, state and federal levels of government, with the support of the Director of Development.

Marketing/Communications Associate
:The position begins as soon as possible and ends after 4 months, when an evaluation of eligibility for a renewal may be considered. You'll be expected to ask a lot of questions, but also to think independently. There's not a lot of room for passivism. You'll need to be proactive and pretty on top of your day-to-day to succeed here. The benefit of this is that this position can be as big or small of an experience as you let it. The position begins as soon as possible and ends after 4 months, when an evaluation of eligibility for a renewal may be considered. You'll be expected to ask a lot of questions, but also to think independently. You'll need to be proactive and pretty on top of your day-to-day to succeed here. The benefit of this is that this position can be as big or small of an experience as you let it.

The positions will remain open until filled. The positions may be full or part-time.  Substantial flexibility around working hours and vacation may be offered for outstanding candidates.  The positions do require some work on weekends and during the evenings given the stakeholders we serve. Complete job descriptions are available at

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Nature Tourism Program seeks Associate
Associate will act as on site manager and Assistant to the Director. In this capacity the Extension Associate will provide day to day management of the Long Acres Ranch Nature Center property and programs. All programs and development of new programs and facilities will be guided by an existing plan of action developed as part of the service contract with the foundation that owns Long Acres Ranch and is supporting this project. This person will be responsible for implementing the existing action plan, leading tours and education programs, recruiting and managing volunteers and potentially future paid staff as hiring becomes feasible. This person will be responsible for budgets and community relations, on going data collection, visitor evaluations and regular activity reports. This person will work closely with the Fort Bend County Extension office staff to support 4H Youth Natural Resource program, Adult volunteer programs and natural resource educational programs. Please fill out the online form to apply.

Memorial Park Conservancy seeks Administrative Assistant
The Administrative Assistant position for Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC) provides administrative support to the office, with a focus on supporting the Executive Director. This position manages and maintains the Executive Director's schedule, and supports all office and administrative functions and programs. The Administrative Assistant provides support to the Board of Directors and committees as determined by the Executive Director. Essential job functions include: creating and modifying meeting notifications, and sending and responding to invitations; attending Board and select committee meetings, taking minutes, and preparing final summaries; answering and returning phone calls and emails; greeting visitors and providing general information about the organization; routing, managing, and preparing responses to public inquiries and requests; and more. If interested, submit resume, two writing samples, and one letter of reference to Full job description: MPC Administrative Assistant.

Houston Audubon seeks Development Administrative Assistant
The mission of Houston Audubon is to advance the conservation of birds and positively impact their supporting environments. Our vision is the creation of a healthier, natural environment and more beautiful place to live by leading and nurturing a community which values and supports birds. The Development Administrative Assistant (the Admin) provides critical office support to the Development Department. Advance the mission of Houston Audubon by executing a high level of donor and member related services by providing essential administrative support including data entry and external correspondence. The Admin is responsible for data entry as it pertains to gifts processing, providing all donors and members with formal receipts, gift acknowledgements, welcome packets, written correspondences, general service calls and performing other administrative tasks as needed. This position reports to the Development Director and will remain open until filled. Essential duties include: carrying out all aspects of development administrative work including data entry, basic record keeping, research, reporting, mailing/emailing correspondence and from time to time calling constituents; assisting with annual gala and other events as deemed appropriate by the Development Director; recommending member and annual fund prospects to the Fund Development Officer and major gift prospects to the Development Director; and working cooperatively and collaboratively with all Houston Audubon staff, board, and volunteers in the spirit of teamwork and mutual respect that complies with all Houston Audubon policies. Full job description: Development Admin Asst Aug 2014.

Travis Audubon (Austin, TX) seeks Executive Director
Travis Audubon (Austin, Texas) is seeking a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization through a time of growth and change. Founded in 1952, Travis Audubon promotes the enjoyment, understanding, and conservation of native birds and their habitats. The organization is an independent chapter of National Audubon and serves over 1,200 members within a four-county region consisting of Travis, Hays, Williamson, and Milam counties.  Travis Audubon owns and manages three nature preserves - Baker (690 acres), Chaetura Canyon (10 acres), and Blair Woods (10 acres).  With an annual budget of approximately $300,000, 3 full-time and 3 contract staff, and scores of skilled volunteers, Travis Audubon conducts both formal and informal programs in schools, public venues, at events, and at its sanctuaries. Last year, the organization's vital land conservation work, environmental education programs, and community outreach influenced over 432,000 people. Executive Director duties include, but are not limited to administration and management, policy development, fund raising, strategic planning, public relations, membership growth, financial health, and cultivating new and existing funding and program opportunities. For more information about the position: To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter, including salary requirements, to Both documents are required and must be submitted in .doc or .pdf format. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. September 12, 2014.

Hermann Park Conservancy seeks Horticulturist, Gardener, Irrigation Technician, Maintenance Coordinator, and Maintenance Staff.
The McGovern Centennial Gardens (MCG) in Hermann Park will be a unique display garden and destination, free to the public, open daily, and available for special events on occasion. It is a place of beauty designed to stimulate learning and a love of gardens in an urban setting. Join a dedicated staff responsible for the daily operation of the garden, to ensure the highest standards of landscape displays, and to implement environmentally responsible maintenance practices. Interested applicants should submit the following via e-mail to (a) cover letter explaining interest in the position, (b) current resume, and (c) two references including contact information. No phone calls, please. Full job descriptions:

Air Alliance Houston seeks Texas Coal Organizer
Air Alliance Houston (AAH) and Public Citizen are members of the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition (CGCC), which works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to local communities and environments through a reduction of coal exports in multiple U.S. Gulf Coast states. The organizer will be based in Houston and will be an employee of Air Alliance Houston. They will help build the grassroots movement within Texas, and coordinate with the overall efforts of the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition. Responsibilities include: building grassroots support against coal terminal expansions and against coal exports; working with activists and elected officials to win state and local support calling for a stop to coal terminal expansions, transportation restrictions, and closure of existing facilities; organizing trainings and convening stakeholders to present the cast to stop coal terminal expansion and limit the transportation of coal in the state; and more. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Interested applicants should send resume and cover letter to Find the full description at or Texas Coal Organizer job description.

The Woods Project seeks Club Program Instructor
The Club Program extends The Woods Project mission (visit for more information) into the classroom building leadership and life skills through hands-on projects and activities. Utilizing both individual and team-based skills and frameworks, Club Program breaks down outdoor, social, environmental, and scientific concepts into exciting and hands-on units such as Leave No Trace, camping/backpacking skills, local flora and fauna, conservation, governance, and environmental science. Students participating in the club program are highly encouraged and often required to attend weekend camping trips and a two-week Summer Trip to a wilderness site such as Yosemite National Park. The club program instructor will be responsible for representing TWP and the mission as mentors and teachers for approximately 20 low-income, high school students per club; building and maintaining yearlong mentor relationships with students; traveling to a school and conduct clubs for an hour, sometimes longer; working with TWP curriculum requirements and suggestions to adapt and deliver existing lesson plans; and more. To apply please send cover letter and resume to View the full job description: 2014-15 Club Instructor Job Description.

Urban Harvest Seeks After-School Garden Educators
Are you passionate about growing healthy communities in urban areas? Have you ever wanted to improve your vegetable gardening skills but wasn't sure how? Do you have experience working with kids who might be just as excited as you are about eating fresh from the garden? Do you have a few hours a week to spend in a school garden with students? If you answered, "yes" to any of these questions, then you're the type of Garden Educator that our Youth Garden program likes to grow! This is a part time contract position. Starting dates in August and September. Training is included. Find the full job description at Urban Harvest promotes healthy communities,  sound nutrition and respect for the environment by educating children and adults and facilitating harvest and habitat gardens. 

Galveston Bay Foundation seeks Land Stewardship Specialist
The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) seeks a full-time Land Stewardship Specialist to work within our Land and Habitat Conservation Program. The Land Stewardship Specialist will provide assistance with and develop land conservation transactions, update and implement habitat management and stewardship plans, seek out and apply for habitat conservation and management grants, monitor conservation easements and draft annual reports, and assist with habitat restoration and enhancement projects. Qualifications include a Bachelor's degree in a field of study such as environmental management, natural resources management, rangeland management, wildlife biology, environmental law, or another related field; a minimum of two years of professional experience; and a passion for land conservation and habitat management. To view the job description, including a full list of duties and qualifications, please visit  To apply, please email resume to by August 31, 2014.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership seeks Buffalo Bayou Park Maintenance Technician
The Maintenance Technician performs many necessary functions. The skills to keep machines, mechanical/motorized equipment, tools/devices and structures in good repair and good working order by inspecting, testing, repairing. Diagnose, correct and/or identify problems, malfunctions or safety concerns. Read and interpret maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and other specifications/regulations to problem solve. Have the ability to determine the method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning items that may be damaged. Identify unsafe components. Ensure that all safety rules and regulations are followed involving all machinery and equipment as well as other safety requirements of regulatory agencies. Maintain a clean and orderly work area that pertains to maintenance responsibilities. To apply, submit resume and cover letter to Mr. Gregg Burks, Park Director / Buffalo Bayou Partnership / 1113 Vine St, Suite 215 or to Maintenance Technician 2014 Job Description

Nature Discovery Center seeks part-time Bookkeeper
The Nature Discovery Center is a non-profit organization with a mission to ignite lifelong curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education. This part-time position manages the financial and administrative responsibilities of the Nature Discovery Center. For a more detailed description of specific responsibilities, please visit To apply for this position, please send a brief cover letter and resume to Sarah Flournoy, Executive Director, or bring it by the Center in person 7112 Newcastle, Bellaire, TX 77401.

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