By Dr. Stephanie Glenn, HARC
HOUSTON, TX (December 15, 2020) – The Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to HARC (the Houston Advanced Research Center) to further optimize marine debris and litter removal efforts in local waterways. The additional funding fills a need to support the creation of a statewide litter collection database.
Since 2019, HARC has been working with the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation, Keep Texas Beautiful, and BlackCat GIS to develop new field methodologies to generate much needed data describing plastic pollution in streams, bayous, reservoirs and bays of the Greater Houston Region.
In 2017, HARC helped convene key stakeholders representing over 25 local nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop a Galveston Bay Watershed Trash and Litter Action Plan (https://www.donttrashagoodthing.org/) that addresses the problem of trash and litter in the region’s bayous, on its beaches, and in Galveston Bay.
Along with local partners the Houston-Galveston Area Council, BlackCat GIS and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, the stakeholder-driven Action Plan identifies three common goals and practices for stakeholder organizations in the region (research, removal, and prevention); provides a non-regulatory framework for future work; and creates a regional plan for addressing the litter, marine debris, and disaster debris problems. The Action Plan also identifies the need for a central database that organizes trash and marine debris data such as locations, quantities, and type of trash.
“We are grateful for the generous support of the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation. The additional funding will underwrite an evidence-based transparent approach to minimizing regional litter and trash.” says Lisa Gonzalez, President and CEO HARC. “The grant will allow for development of a statewide waterway trash and marine debris database, a data resource that is much-needed in Texas.”
Maia Corbitt, Director of Mission and Giving for the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation, says “We are proud to continue to support their important work in an effort the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation holds dear: decreasing waterway trash in Texas.”
HARC, in collaboration with BlackCat GIS, will continue to advance rapid assessment methods to analyze feasibility of determining debris patterns within the region’s waterways. The team will merge its efforts with Keep Texas Beautiful to develop a first-of-its-kind statewide litter and trash database that can be used to promote efforts in reducing, removing and researching trash and litter in the region’s waterways.
According to Dr. Stephanie Glenn, HARC Program Director, “This unique partnership will back a science-based effort with transparency of data that will result in information and numbers to inform actionable science.”
HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, contact HARC at (281) 364-6000 or visit www.HARCresearch.org. Connect with HARC, via Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Like or follow @HARCresearch.