Texas Sea Grant’s Jacob receives 2014 Regional Excellence in Extension Award

November 30, 2014

Dr. John Jacob

Jacob is a Professor and Coastal Community Development and Environmental Quality Specialist with a joint appointment with Texas Sea Grant and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service through the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Science.

At the national APLU meeting in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2-4, Jacob was honored by Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for “developing the Texas Coastal Watershed Program known for expanding beyond landscaping into coastal and urban resiliency, such as the City of Houston’s development of urban corridor planning standards.”

“It’s great to see Dr. John Jacob get recognized for the work that he does,” said Josh Gunn, Texas Sea Grant Extension Program Leader. “The Texas Coastal Watershed Program has all of the indicators of a great extension program: John and his staff have successfully leveraged resources from multiple partners, developed strong relationships with neighboring communities in the Houston-Galveston area, and continue to host workshops, trainings and community activities that address the needs of Texas coastal residents.”

The Texas Coastal Watershed Program (TCWP) provides education and outreach to local governments and citizens about the impact of land use on watershed health and water quality. It currently has seven staff members in addition to Jacob, who serves as its Director, and operates programs in sustainable urban planning, watershed management, habitat restoration, sustainable landscapes and water quality issues.

Past projects include the development of the “Eco-Logic” Habitat map of the eight-county Houston region. Jacob was a lead participant in one of the first published research projects following the Supreme Court Rapanos decision addressing the issue of the hydrologic and therefore regulatory significance of a large class of wetlands on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas. Most recently, he and his staff developed the CHARM model, a GIS-based user-friendly model that enables users to develop growth scenarios and to see in real time the effects of their choices in terms of ecosystem services, for example. Part of this project involved perfecting the “weTable,” an innovative high-tech, low-cost participatory GIS platform.

Jacob is a recognized expert on Texas wetlands, having been active in consulting and research aspects of wetlands for more than 20 years. He is co-author of the Texas Coastal Wetlands Guidebook and the Texas Sea Grant Resilient Coast series on the built environment and wetlands. He also recent co-authored a publication focusing on freshwater wetland loss in the Houston area between 1992 and 2010.