Community

SSCI Gives Back – Pelican Island Beach Cleanup

SSCI team member Stacy Emerick lead the clean-up crew known as the Vilmaris Crew to help clean the beach along Pelican Island.  The cleanup was organized by the Mountain Ocean Project (MOP) an organization that has removed over 7,200 pounds of trash from the beaches of Galveston, Texas. 

Participants in the beach cleanup included over 150 individuals with groups from SSCI and the Save Our Seas – Texas A&M University at Galveston.  Save Our Seas is a student organized network supporting conservation efforts and healthy lifestyles through education and participation in environmental outreach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disaster Response and COVID-19

SSCI’s team of professionals including industrial hygienists, safety professionals, biologists, and engineers have experience in disaster response and recovery including emergency response for natural disasters and catastrophes.

Our services include Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) compliant programs.

Our team members have performed as Incident Commanders for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and EPA response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Harvey in Texas and Louisiana as well as for many tornado debris responses in Oklahoma.

Our team has performed emergency response for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) including response activities including hurricanes, floods, and the Columbia Space Shuttle Cleanup.

Our services are available through multiple purchasing cooperatives including HGACBuy’s Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery.

COVID-19 Services

  • Facility Health and Safety Plans.
  • Development of Cleaning Protocols.
  • Emergency Response and Training.
  • Cleaning Oversight.
  • Site Clearance.

 

 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Safe Cleaning Products

Concerned about cleaning surfaces for homes and businesses potentially impacted by COVID-19?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing Resources for Home including cleaning and disinfection recommendations.  For non-porous surfaces, a bleach solution consisting of 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water will is effective for disinfection.  When using bleach make sure you are in a well ventilated area, that the bleach is not expired, and never mix bleach with ammonia products.  Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered household disinfectants are also expected to be effective against COVID-19 according to the CDC. For porous surfaces such as carpet, rugs, and drapes, after cleaning visible contamination with appropriate cleaners, launder the items with the warmest water setting appropriate for the item.  The EPA registered household disinfectants are expected to be appropriate for porous surfaces as well.

The link below provides the complete list of EPA Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19.

sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

When handling dirty laundry, ensure that you wear gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards when the laundry is from an ill person.  Avoid shaking laundry, use the warmest water setting appropriate for the item, and disinfect clothes hampers regularly.

 

BACREN Presentation: Mitigating Wetlands

   SSCI-Environmental is pleased to have had the opportunity to speak at the Bay Area Commercial Real Estate Network (BACREN) Monthly Luncheon on February 20, 2020.  BACREN is a non-profit professional organization formed to serve Commercial Real Estate practitioners, associated businesses, investors, and the public in the Houston Bay Area, including but not limited to Harris, Galveston, and Brazoria Counties, Texas.  SSCI-Environmental has been a long time sponsor and supporter of BACREN.  SSCI’s Vice President, Jo Drake Keim, and Natural Resource Specialist, Allyson Graziano, presented the ins and outs of wetland mitigation for the real estate market.  The audience of real estate specialists and service contractors were intrigued and found the presentation to be informative and enlightening.  May attendees had questions regarding their specific projects and how wetland regulations affect development of their properties.

Wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act and development of properties containing Wetlands or Waters of the United States (WOTUS) are regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  SSCI provided an overview of how wetlands are identified and what tools are used in evaluating wetlands for real estate developers.  Delineations, permitting, agency coordination, and mitigation was discussed. A link to the BACREN presentation is provided below:

Wetlands Presentation BACREN 02-2020 v2

SSCI Gives Back to the Community

SSCI Gives Back to the Community

Lola’s Lucky Day Van

Lola’s Lucky Day is a certified 501(c)3 nonprofit, all-breed dog rescue that saves homeless pets all around the Houston area.  Lola’s Lucky Day originated when the founder, Larissa Gavin, moved from Wisconsin to Houston and realized the issue of animal over-population that Houston faces.  In Wisconsin, shelters have empty kennels, something Texas can only dream of right now.  Texas shelters struggle with the number of strays and owner surrendered pets to the extent that many shelters must euthanize adoptable pets solely due to lack of shelter space or staff to care for them.

SSCI Employee Caitlin Tovar Dropping Off Charley at Transport

Lola’s Lucky Day tags animals from shelters as well as picks up strays found roaming the streets.  After attempting to find owners, the rescue makes sure the pets are healthy and vaccinated prior to transporting them out of state.  State law requires dogs to be quarantined (kept in a foster home) for two weeks before they are eligible for transport.  After the quarantine period, in which the animals receive their vetting, each animal receives a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, ensuring all animals are healthy.

SSCI Employees Allyson Graziano and Caitlin Tovar

 

Volunteer groups from Texas drive a van full of our homeless pets to Arkansas almost every weekend to meet up with volunteer groups from Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin team personally delivers the dogs to multiple animal rescues in Wisconsin where the animals are then posted for adoption.  This year, SSCI dog lovers Allyson Graziano and Caitlin Tovar volunteered to drive a van full of pups to Arkansas.

Charley

Poppy

As previously mentioned, lifesaving foster homes are always needed.  Most dogs receive transport dates soon after they are accepted into the program, which means you know exactly how long that dog will be staying with you.  You get the joy of having a pet for a short period of time, knowing you are what allowed them to leave the shelter or the street alive and well, without the commitment of providing for them for the rest of their lives.  Vetting and supplies are even provided by Lola’s Lucky Day!  Caitlin Tovar fostered Charley, a purebred dog that was surrendered at a year old due to her owners not being able to handle her high energy.  Charley was adopted the same weekend she arrived in Wisconsin!  Caitlin also coordinated Poppy, a beautiful mixed breed dog that was found in the middle of nowhere, on a county road.  Poppy found her furever family after spending some time with loving Wisconsin fosters.

To help Lola’s Lucky Day save more animals, you can donate to their cause by using the link listed below.  Since they are a certified nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible.  Other ways to help include offering to foster or volunteering to pick up or drop off animals at vet appointments, foster homes, shelters, or transport.  Although Lola’s Lucky Day does not adopt dogs in Texas, they highly encourage visiting your local shelter if you are interested in adopting.  There are so many animals waiting for their turn to leave the shelter into a loving home.

For more information, visit https://www.lolasluckyday.com/

It’s Houston Bird Week!

 

ABNC is partnering with Houston Audubon to celebrate their 50th Anniversary with an Early Morning Birding Hike for the first-ever Houston Bird Week!

Watch a roseate spoonbill and great blue heron wade in water or watch an Osprey soar as you listen to the chirp of colorful songbirds. Located in the heart of a major migratory path, Armand Bayou Nature Center is an amazing place to go birding all year round.

Spaces are limited, so register today!

When: September 28, 7-9am

Reservations: Reservations required

Age: 12 years & up

Rates:  Members $10, Non Members $12

BOOK YOUR EARLY MORNING BIRDING HIKE TODAY!

4-H Awards Banquet

SSCI has been actively involved in giving back to the local community by involvement and sponsorship in programs ranging from development of the local youth to preserving important ecosystems in the area.  SSCI has always valued the lessons and skills that 4-H teaches through agricultural activities.  4-H works diligently to give children the opportunity to learn about sciences and engineering through the STEM program.  4-H’s mission is to develop life skills, leadership, and responsibility by placing children in a learning environment with interactive civic engagement.  The 4-H Club has put forth a tremendous effort to provide children with access to fun learning programs to enhance their development, which has done so much for the youth and is a program that SSCI is committed to continue to help grow.  SSCI recently had the opportunity to sponsor the 4-H Awards Banquet on August 16, 2019 and was more than pleased to be a part of such a great evening.  Thank you to all the great volunteers and leaders at 4-H for everything that you do.  SSCI looks forward to contributing more to this great program’s growth and success.

Global Recycling Day

March 18, 2019 is Global Recycling Day!

SSCI will be doing its share of recycling and waste reduction in the office environment. SSCI reuses copy paper as much as possible for internal use, and we have a designated recycling bin for paper and plastics. Plastic or Styrofoam coffee cups have been replaced by ceramic mugs in the common area to reduce waste all year round. Other ways to make the office environment greener include bringing your own lunch to work in a reusable container to reduce waste and utilizing paper clips in lieu of staples. These seemingly small actions really add up over the course of a year.

Recycling at home does not require much effort, and separating recyclables is easy. Many refuse providers offer recycling pick up with garbage collection. Otherwise, dropping off recyclables at the nearest center can be a wonderful teaching moment for the next generation. Reusable shopping bags are one of the best ways to reduce plastic waste, and some stores, like Target, offer the incentive of a small discount for using them. Even if one uses plastic grocery bags, they can be brought back to large chain stores, like Walmart or HEB, where bins are provided to accept clean plastic bags to be recycled. One globally recognized day of conservation can be the start of educating the masses on the importance of recycling everyday thereafter. Click here to find a recycling center near you.

Texas Coasts – Abandoned Crab Trap Removal

 

“‘Ghost Fishing’ is what fishing gear does when it has been lost, dumped or abandoned. Imagine a fishing net that gets snagged on a reef or a wreck and gets detached from the fishing vessel. Nets, long lines, fish traps or any man made contraptions designed to catch fish or marine organisms are considered capable of ghost fishing when unattended, and without anyone profiting from the catches, they are affecting already depleted commercial fish stocks. Caught fish die and in turn attract scavengers which will get caught in that same net, thus creating a vicious circle.” – ghostfishing.org

In order to combat the effects of ghost fishing, from February 15th to February 24th, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be working with volunteers to remove abandoned or lost crab traps from the coastal waters of Texas.  During this period, use of wire mesh crab traps in Texas Coastal water will be restricted, resuming on February 25th. Volunteers are needed to assist in the cleanup efforts.

For information on volunteering, contact TPWD coordinator Glen Sutton at (281) 534-0100.

Drop off sites around Galveston include:

Jones Lake State Ramp
Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp
Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp FM 2004
TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab in Dickinson
VoStingaree Restaurant and Marina in Crystal Beach