Background

H-GAC's History with the Clean Rivers Program

In many of the state's major river basins, a legislatively-created river authority exists and is leading the assessment effort for its basin. H-GAC is the lead agency responsible for conducting the regional water quality assessment for the San Jacinto River Basin and three coastal basins - the Trinity-San Jacinto, the San Jacinto-Brazos and the Brazos-Colorado. H-GAC is qualified to manage assessment for the river basin and coordinate with multiple agencies for the following reasons:

  • As the Council of Governments (COG) and regional planning agency for the Gulf Coast State Planning Region, H-GAC has more than 30 years of experience in regional environmental planning and public outreach activities.

  • Many of the key agencies and individuals normally involved in regional water quality matters already come together under the umbrella of H-GAC's existing environmental committees and programs.

  • H-GAC has a continuously developing Regional Geographic Information System (GIS), which is a valuable data management, analysis and mapping tool for the basin assessment process.

H-GAC's Role in the Clean River Program

As the lead assessment agency, H-GAC oversees all aspects of the Clean Rivers process in the region. This includes:

  • serving as liaison to the TCEQ throughout the process;

  • participating in statewide Clean Rivers Program task forces;

  • handling all administrative tasks, including work plan development, budget preparation and progress reporting;

  • completing various Clean Rivers Program project tasks;

  • managing all subcontracts associated with the project;

  • supporting the work of H-GAC's Clean Rivers Program Steering Committee and smaller working groups;

  • handling all public outreach and involvement activities, including fulfilling H-GAC's responsibilities as a Texas Stream Team partner in support of volunteer citizen water quality monitors;

  • maintaining regular contacts with staff of other lead assessment agencies (most notably the Trinity River Authority, Brazos River Authority and Lower Colorado River Authority in the H-GAC region) and other key environmental programs, such as the Galveston Bay Estuary Program (GBEP), TSSWCB and the Agrilife Extension Service;

  • arranging all meetings, workshops and other Clean Rivers Program special events; and

  • producing the regional water quality assessment report for the basins every five years and a highlights report in each year in-between.

Project staff also updates H-GAC's Board of Directors and Natural Resources Advisory Committee (NRAC) regularly on Clean Rivers Program progress and results. Board approval, based on NRAC recommendations, is required for major actions such as entry into contracts with TCEQ, approval of subcontracts and submission of final reports. The 2011 rosters for H-GAC's Board of Directors and Natural Resources Advisory Committee are in the Acknowledgements section of this report, along with a list of H-GAC's Clean Rivers Program project staff.

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