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Environmental Institute of Houston News

Student Highlight: Kaylei Chau
Kaylei began her journey with EIH as an undergraduate intern in 2017, eventually shaping her master's thesis around floating treatment wetlands (FTWs). Kaylei's findings showcase the potential of FTWs as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for enhancing water quality in urban areas.

Supporting dolphin restoration: collaborative project investigates how multiple stressors impact Houston-area dolphins, 1/22/24
The Houston area is a highly industrialized landscape, featuring the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S. As such, the Houston area has been the scene of multiple oil and chemical spills as well as several hazardous waste sites, some of which persist today. There have also been multiple bottlenose dolphin Unusual Mortality Events—unexpected, fatal strandings that demand an immediate response—making it an important area to investigate dolphin health.

Glass eels found in Texas for the first time, December 2023
Scientists document early life stage of eels, solve mystery of eel movements.

From sea to stream: tracking the elusive American eel as it slithers from Texas’ estuaries into its rivers, September 2023
The American eel (scientific name Anguilla rostrata) is a species of eel that is found throughout the eastern part of North America, inhabiting coastal streams and rivers from as far north as Canada, to as far south as northern Mexico.

Student's survey shows UHCL's campus is home to diverse wildlife population, 4/26/23
Jasmine Thompson, who is pursuing her Master of Science in Environmental Science, works at the Environmental Institute of Houston and is completing a survey to get more information about the wildlife with whom UH-Clear Lake faculty, students and visitors daily coexist.

UHCL graduate student wins award at plastic pollution symposium, 4/17/23
Emily Cox, a University of Houston-Clear Lake graduate student and Environmental Institute of Houston graduate research assistant, won third place for best student presentation at the 2023 Texas Plastic Pollution Symposium.

Texas family fearful of toxic waste from Ohio train derailment, 3/10/23
Toxic wastewater used to extinguish a fire following a train derailment in Ohio has been transported to a Houston suburb for disposal. Interview.

Warrant from HPD reveals alleged tampering inside Kingwood water plant after sewage disposal error, 2/23/23
A wastewater plant in Kingwood has been accused of dumping sewage into a creek that leads to a primary source of Houston's drinking water, according to court documents. Interview.

Toxic wastewater from Ohio train derailment headed to Texas, 2/23/23
Toxic wastewater used to extinguish a fire following a train derailment in Ohio is headed to a Houston suburb for disposal.

Deer Park waste disposal company will house toxic wastewater from Ohio train derailment, TCEQ says, 2/22/23
As clean up continues from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, a private company in the Houston area has agreed to store and dispose the toxic liquids. Interview.



Student Contributions: Story Lesher, December 2022
While looking for post-undergraduate opportunities, I saw an opening to study Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) along the Texas coast at the Environmental Institute of Houston (EIH) with Dr. George Guillen and Dr. Jenny Oakley. 

Student's skill with drones takes chicken turtle research to new heights, 10/14/22
The best way to understand how college students use drones to advance critical science and research is to get someone like Jason Nagro to explain how he uses them.

Major milestone: Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program catalogs 1,000th distinct bottlenose dolphin -, 9/22/22
A major milestone has been reached for the program that works to better understand bottlenose dolphins in Galveston Bay.

Flood control goes green: how Houston is using nature to combat flooding, 8/16/22
EIH's joint floating wetlands project with Harris County Flood Control District is featured on Below the Waterlines. Roberto Vega talks about the pilot study on the UHCL campus.

Baby formula shortage, and bacteria on Texas beaches, 5/23/22
Dr. George Guillen joins the host of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen to talk about "dealing with the problem of high concentrations of bacteria on Texas beaches—some of it from human waste."

Student org's initiative prompts restoration project on UHCL campus, 4/1/22
Before University of Houston-Clear Lake ever existed, the land it sits on was thickly covered in tallgrass prairie and colorful wildflowers, as far as the eye could see.

Environmental Justice Association puts down roots on pocket prairie, 3/21/22
The Environmental Justice Association (EJA) announced their “Pocket Prairie” environmental restoration project at the Feb. 15 SGA meeting to restore the native surrounding landscape and make the campus more visible by replacing the non-native trees and grass. 


Together we give, 11/23/21
GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity that will take place on November 30, 2021. Here is a list of ways you can give this GivingTuesday.

For local waterways, floating wetlands offer filtration power, 5/4/21
Talk about an incredible flotation device. Below the surface is where all the action is taking place.

Bottlenose dolphins took hit during Hurricane Harvey, study finds, 4/16/21
Hurricane Harvey took a toll on bottlenose dolphins. Here’s how.

Texas native plants help kids bloom, 3/30/21
What can you do outdoors while keeping a safe distance from others during a pandemic? Clear Creek Independent School District teacher Tiffany Deschler says exploring nature and learning more about Texas' native plants is a wonderful way get kids off devices and back to the great outdoors.

Big Surveys in the Big Thicket and Beyond, 3/2021
The most comprehensive and collaborative survey efforts for turtles and mussels ever undertaken in East Texas will start this spring.

Western Chicken Turtles, 2/2021
The Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake is currently performing research on the population status and habitat associations of the Western Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia miaria) across its Texas range.


It's Giving Tuesday!, 12/1/20
GivingTuesday will kick off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on December 1 and throughout the year.

EIH searches for elusive chicken turtles, 8/4/20
Western chicken turtles are an elusive freshwater turtle found in wetlands in states west of the Mississippi River, extending to the Guadalupe River in Texas.

EIH research yields high-impact data about dolphins in Galveston Bay, 7/10/20
Researchers from the Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake have published an article in the May edition of Estuaries and Coasts special issue, titled Impact of 2017 Hurricanes. EIH Research Associate Kristi Fazioli co-authored “Short-Term Effects of Hurricane Harvey on Bottlenose Dolphins in Upper Galveston Bay, Texas” with Vanessa Mintzer of the Galveston Bay Foundation. The research was completed as part of the Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program.

Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Galveston Bay's dolphins, says new report, 7/1/20
Hurricane Harvey caused more than $125 billion in damage, was responsible for at least 88 deaths, and damaged more than 204,000 homes. Now, a new study reveals the devastating effects the storm has wreaked on Galveston Bay’s dolphins.

Study: Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Galveston Bay dolphins, 6/30/20
A population of dolphins in Galveston Bay suffered from a variety of negative side effects, including freshwater skin lesions, directly after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston region for several days in 2017, according to a new study from the Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program.

Freshwater from storms could hurt Galveston Bay dolphin health, study finds, 6/30/20
Dolphins might face dangerous health consequences after heavy rains like those during Hurricane Harvey or other big storms, a recent study found.

Study: Harvey caused skin lesions, brief population drop in upper Galveston Bay dolphins, 6/19/20
New research sheds light on the negative impact flooding from Hurricane Harvey had on dolphins in Galveston Bay.

Study highlights impact of Hurricane Harvey flooding on Galveston Bay dolphins, 6/18/20
Following the historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, researchers observed a 73 percent drop in bottlenose dolphin encounter rates in the upper Galveston Bay and freshwater skin lesions were found on 96 percent of the observed dolphins, according to a study by the Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program (GDRP), recently published in the journal Estuaries and Coasts.

Hurricane Harvey 'significantly' impacted dolphins in Galveston Bay, researchers say, 6/18/20
Following the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, researchers said they have observed a 73 percent drop in bottlenose dolphin encounter rates.

Girls become outdoor girls at UHCL outdoor skills event, 2/29/20
Girls in grades 6-12 gathered at the campus of the University of Houston-Clear Lake Saturday, for the Becoming an Outdoors Girl program to learn about the environment while participating in activities such as archery, birding, watercolor art, fishing, mammal and plant identification and a scavenger hunt.

UHCL program to get girls outdoors is a big hit, 2/13/20
After the first Becoming an Outdoor Girl program last fall at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, organizers knew they were on to something big.

EIH researchers present at State of the Bay Symposium, 2/11/20
Two graduate students and two research staff from Environmental Institute of Houston participated in the 11th State of the Bay Symposium held Jan. 22–23 in Galveston, Texas.

Texas Comptroller's Office partners with the University of Houston-Clear Lake to perform western chicken turtle surveys, 1/10/20
The Texas Comptroller's Natural Resources program has contracted with the University of Houston - Clear Lake (UHCL) to conduct range-wide surveys in East Texas for the western chicken turtle.


Giving Tuesday, 11/25/19
#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

A visit to Galveston Island State Park, 6/22/19
On Saturday, June 22, 24 STEM Foundation students and parents visited Galveston Island State Park for a day of learning.

UHCL graduate student wins American Fisheries Society scholarship award, 1/31/19
The Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) awarded Justin Hansen, a University of Houston-Clear Lake graduate student and EIH graduate research assistant, the Student Scholarship Award at the 2019 Southern Division AFS meeting in Galveston, Texas.


Giving Tuesday, 11/20/18
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Grant replaces river research equipment lost to Harvey, 7/16/18
Harvey did a number on the hobos and the troll. These are the names of the digital devices University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Environmental Institute of Houston uses to test for water for temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen (called a Hobo) and water depth (called a Troll).

MS candidate Anna Vallery successfully defends her thesis, 5/14/18
On Friday, April 27, 2018, Anna Vallery successfully defended her MS thesis entitled "Assessment of shorebirds and wading birds in Galveston Bay using conventional and UAV techniques."

Decades later, mercury still poisons parts of Lavaca Bay, 4/22/18
For as long as he can remember, Jack Gandie has fished the part of Lavaca Bay closest to Alcoa.

National Academies' Gulf Research Program awards over $340,000 to assist scientific research impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, 4/18/18
The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced 11 grant awards totaling $341,283 to assist in the recovery of Gulf Coast scientific research efforts impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Gauging the situation in real-time with the Amazon Bubbler, Spring 2018
There are 16,000 miles of waterways within the Houston-Galveston region of Texas, USA. These waterways provide an estimated 80% of the region's drinking water, however more than 80% of monitored waterways don't meet state water quality standards.

Galveston Bay Foundation receives rapid response funding to study Harvey’s effect on bay’s dolphins, Spring 2018
The Galveston Bay Dolphin Research and Conservation Program (GDRCP) is ramping up its dolphin surveys with the help of rapid response funding from Texas Sea Grant, through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA).


Interview with dolphin researchers Vanessa Mintzer and Kristi Fazioli, 12/18/17
Vanessa Mintzer of the Galveston Bay Foundation and Kristi Fazioli from the Environmental Institute of Houston (at the University of Houston-Clear Lake) are studying dolphins in upper Galveston Bay.

Galveston’s bottlenose dolphins have puzzling ailments since Harvey, 11/28/17
Much debris has been cleared out, but three months after Harvey’s landfall, the ecological damage is still being assessed.

Galveston Bay dolphins struggle to recover from Hurricane Harvey, 11/26/17
Kristi Fazioli first spotted the pair of dolphins swimming behind a shrimp trawler near Morgan's Point, eager to get a mouthful of breakfast.

Texas to propose ending unlimited commercial wild turtle trapping, 11/15/17
In response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and several Texas-based conservation organizations, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Tuesday agreed to propose a rule ending unlimited commercial trapping of the state’s wild turtles.

LYB volunteers repair Harvey-damaged outdoor classroom at the Environmental Institute of Houston, 11/13/17
LyondellBasell’s Bayport Complex employees, families and friends spent Saturday, Nov. 11 working with the University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Environmental Institute of Houston (EIH) in celebration of the company’s 18th Annual Global Care Day.

Watch: Saltmarsh topminnow project featured in UHCL recruitment video, 10/11/17
UHCL's College of Science and Engineering - Learn about the college and the different institutes that make the college of science and engineering at University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Galveston Bay Foundation asks the public to name dolphins; help fund research, 6/2/17
Next time you take the ferry from Galveston to Bolivar, perhaps you'd like to spot a dolphin whom you know personally.

Prescribed fire on UHCL campus good for habitat, 2/14/17
The Environmental Institute of Houston, along with the UHCL Fire Marshal, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Galveston Bay Area Master Naturalist, performed a prescribed burn on Thursday, February 9, at the EIH demonstration prairie site.

Terry Hershey, Houston environmentalist, dies at 94, 1/23/17
The Environmental Institute of Houston is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Hershey on Thursday, January 19, 2017.


Message in a bottle, 12/20/16
UHCL graduate student Nicole Morris was walking transects, or straight lines, in the marshes of the Sweetwater Preserve on Galveston Island when she made a surprising discovery.

MS candidate Nicole Morris successfully defends thesis, 9/16
On Tuesday, August 23, 2016, Nicole Morris successfully defended her MS thesis entitled "Mercury Monitoring in Texas Estuaries."

Youth Birding Club takes flight at UH-Clear Lake, 8/8/16
Inspire a fledgling bird watcher with the new Youth Birding Club offered by University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Environmental Institute of Houston.

Six years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists still know little about Gulf dolphins, 5/21/16
Kristi Fazioli slowed the Boston Whaler and cut the engine when a fin finally emerged where the Houston Ship Channel passes Bolivar Peninsula. At the bow, Sherah Loe, a graduate student, readied her camera.

EIH research assistant wins outstanding student award, 4/26/16
Josi Robertson, EIH graduate research assistant and student in the Environmental Science M.S. program at UHCL, was awarded the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Student in Environmental Science Award on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

HAWK1 approved to take flight, 4/11/16
The Environmental Institute of Houston (EIH) recently obtained Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly the QUESTUAV AQUA drone, HAWK1. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be used to assist EIH with marine research.

AQUA receives FAA approval for Environmental Institute of Houston, 2/24/16
After a successful application round, the EIH and the QuestUAV AQUA drone have been awarded FAA approval to fly missions within the United States for research and mapping.


LyondellBasell donates $6,000 to support environmental education, 10/19/15
LyondellBasell, one of the world's premier plastics, chemicals and refining companies, has contributed $6,000 to the University of Houston-Clear Lake Environmental Institute of Houston's new community and teacher rain barrel program.

Lulla receives NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 10/5/15
NASA Johnson Space Center's internationally acclaimed scientist Kamlesh Lulla received one of the highest NASA honors—the NASA Exceptional Service Medal—for his long and outstanding contributions toward developing technology collaborations for future exploration missions.

LyondellBasell donates $10,000 to support environmental education at UH-Clear Lake, 3/9/15
LyondellBasell, one of the world's premier plastics, chemicals and refining companies, has contributed $10,000 to the University of Houston-Clear Lake's Environmental Institute of Houston for its environmental education programs.


UH-Clear Lake institute receives conservation grant, 11/10/14
The University of Houston-Clear Lake's Environmental Institute of Houston has received a $3000 Horned Lizard License Plate grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Texas Wildlife Diversity Program to increase wildlife viewing opportunities on the UH-Clear Lake campus.

EIH's research trailer gets a new look, 7/31/14
The Environmental Institute of Houston partnered with the UHCL Art and Design department to create a wrap for EIH's cargo trailer.

UHCL professor receives grant to determine water quality, 5/1/14
University of Houston-Clear Lake Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science George Guillen George Guillen has been awarded $204,300 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency to study the water quality of the rivers and streams in Texas.

UHCL graduate students present research at Texas Academy of Science meeting, 3/18/14
Three Environmental Institute of Houston-sponsored graduate students presented their research findings at the 117th Annual Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science which took place from March 7–9, 2014, at Texas A&M University at Galveston.


EIH joins TAMUG for sea turtle research along the Texas coast, 12/4/13
The weekend of September 13-15, 2013, the Environmental Institute of Houston's Senior Research Associate Mandi Moss and graduate student Michael Lane joined Texas A&M University at Galveston sea turtle biologist Tasha Metz in Matagorda, Texas, on a sea turtle entanglement netting trip coordinated by TAMUG.

UHCL graduate students, EIH director present diamondback terrapin research, 9/16/13
Environmental Institute of Houston-sponsored graduate students Rachel George and Bryan Alleman attended and presented their research findings in a poster paper, Possible Effects of Salinity on Texas Diamondback Terrapin, at the 6th Symposium on Status, Ecology and Conservation of Diamondback Terrapin, which was held at St. Christopher's Camp and Conference Center, Seabrook Island, S.C., on September 13-15, 2013.

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: Watch purple martins nesting on campus, 4/29/13
UHCL is recognized by the Environmental Institute of Houston for having an environmentally friendly campus and protecting the nature and wildlife inhabiting it.


EIH wins award at the 51st Clear Lake Boat Lane Parade, 12/8/12
The Environmental Institute of Houston's E-shock crew and boat won third prize in the sponsored power boat 27 ft and under category at the 51st Clear Lake Boat Lane Parade.

EIH presents curriculum materials to Durkee Elementary, 9/10/12
Sheila Grigsby Brown, habitat curriculum specialist with the Environmental Institute of Houston, delivers $1000 worth of curriculum materials to Durkee Elementary (HISD).

UHCL graduate student chosen for prestigious marine policy fellowship, 7/23/12
Former EIH student worker and UHCL graduate student in environmental management has been named finalist for prestigious 2013 Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Institute creates wetlands at UH-Clear Lake, 1/17/12
Stroll on a wooded walkway through the University of Houston-Clear Lake's new wetlands, and you might see egrets and other birds taking flight, submerged plants sprouting flowers and hear the songs of several species of frogs.


EIH represents UHCL at the 50th Clear Lake Boat Lane Parade, 12/10/11
The University of Houston-Clear Lake was represented by EIH, as staff and students participated in the local Clear Lake community celebration marking the gold anniversary of the Clear Lake Boat Lane Parade.

Houston and Bay Area teachers honored, 12/9/11
Houston and Bay Area teachers were honored for their outstanding dedication to science and mathematics education by the University of Houston-Clear Lake School of Education/Environmental Institute of Houston and the Texas Regional Collaboratives at the annual Honoring the Teacher event.

Institute creates wetlands at UH-Clear Lake, 11/1/11
University of Houston-Clear Lake's Environmental Institute of Houston, working in partnership with and through funding from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, created wetlands at UH-Clear Lake to help control flooding and improve water quality before the water enters Horsepen Bayou.


New boats give institute water research capabilities, 12/23/10
Researchers at the Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake have found a better way to take to the water to accomplish their work by acquiring research vessels purchased with funding provided by a research grant.

UHCL teams with Texas Regional Collaboratives, 11/10/10
Becoming a better science teacher helped Clear Creek Independent School District's Hyde Elementary teacher Audrey Soto's class become better science students.

National Coastal Condition Assessment, Fall 2010
The National Coastal Condition Assessment (NCCA) is one of a series of water assessments being conducted by states, tribes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other partners.

Such a unique creature, Fall 2010
The Diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, is a small to medium sized turtle found in salt marshes, estuaries, and tidal creeks.

2010 Ruth Lester Lifetime Achievement Award winner Alecya Gallaway, 6/3/10
Texas Historical Commission video highlighting the accomplishments of Alecya Gallaway, EIH Environmental Historian

UHCL's Environmental Institute historian receives lifetime achievement award, 4/28/10
Environmental Institute of Houston historian Alecya Gallaway was awarded the Ruth Lester Lifetime Achievement award by the Texas Historical Commission.

Jewel of the marsh, 3/10
The legendary diamondback terrapin's survival depends on a little help from its friends.


Brenda Weiser receives award from international education group, 10/10/09
Brenda Weiser, associate professor of science education in the School of Education at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, has received the highest honor from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The Jeske Award recognizes outstanding service to NAAEE and leadership within the profession.

Environmental grant awarded, 7/7/09
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has awarded George Guillen, director of the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, a $54,554 grant.

Area science teachers honored and recognized for dedication, 10/23/07
Twenty-eight area science teachers were honored and recognized at the annual Honoring the Teacher reception and dinner sponsored by the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (TCR), the El Paso Corporation, and the Environmental Institute of Houston/University of Houston – Clear Lake.

Bacteria levels high in isle lake, 11/25/06
Lake Madeline's placid surface is perfect for water sports that require a ski boat and a towrope.

Award recognizes historical work, 10/5/06
UH-Clear Lake Environmental Institute of Houston environmental historian Alecya Gallaway recently received The History Channel's "Save Our History" Time Warner Preservation Award for the Save Our Settlement Project.

Grant supports environment research, 7/20/06
George Guillen, UH-Clear Lake executive director of the Environmental Institute of Houston, received a $14,961 award from the city of Galveston for his proposal, which he titled, "Bacteriological Survey of Lake Madeline, Galveston, Texas."

UHCL's Environmental Institute to plant WaterSmart school habitat demonstration lab for National EE Week, 04/06
Students, staff & corporate partners around Univ. of Houston-Clear Lake will participate in the single largest organized environmental education event in U.S. history, April 14 & 15 from 8:30 - Noon, when they help plant our WaterSmart School Habitat Demonstration Lab, which is being constructed in front of the NOA (North Office Annex) building at UHCL.

Project Learning Tree awards EIH at UHCL grant for service learning project, 2/27/06
Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation, has awarded 33 community grants for its GreenWorks! service learning projects across the country, including one to the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Texas City's black 'settlement' comes to light, 2/17/06
One of the most unusual stories in the history of Texas African-Americans is coming to light and sparking national interest in Galveston County's black heritage.

Historian discounts San Leon legend, 12/2/04
While researching the history of San Leon for a book, Alecya Gallaway came across a rumor that the community was named in a contest in the early 1900s.

EIH historian receives community history award, 10/24/00
TOHA President Shelly Kelly presented the first Mary Faye Barnes Community History Award to Alecya Gallaway on October 24, 2000, in the Moore Memorial Library in Texas City.