EPA: Storm Smart Cities - Integrating Green Infrastructure into Local Hazard Mitigation Plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers guidance on how green infrastructure could be incorporated into local hazard mitigation plans in this report. The guide is built around a case study of green infrastructure integration efforts in the City of Huntington, West Virginia and the West Virginia Region 2 Planning and Development Area. The green infrastructure described addresses stormwater, and will improve water quality and address flooding challenges - bringing greater resilience to climate impacts in Huntington. The lessons from this case study are applicable for other communities facing stormwater management challenges.

Implementing green infrastructure in Huntington was made possible in part due to the partnership of local, state, and federal organizations and a collaborative effort to address local flooding. The partners involved included: the Huntington Stormwater Utility, Huntington City Planning, West Virginia Region 2 Planning & Development Council, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, FEMA Region 3, US Army Corps of Engineers, EPA Region 3, and the Huntington District Office – Silver Jackets Program. This guide highlights the process of engaging local stakeholders to develop plans to address natural hazards while aligning with state and federal resources and support.

As a regulatory requirement tied to eligibility for mitigation funding, FEMA requires communities to develop a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and update that plan every five years. The report explains how communities can utilize FEMA’s hazard mitigation planning process to build support for green infrastructure development.

The report also describes the regulatory requirement that has been the primary driver for green infrastructure projects in Huntington. As of 2017, the Huntington Stormwater Utility has approved 29 green infrastructure projects that are helping to reduce stormwater runoff and flooding, while also improving water quality.

 

Publication Date: March 26, 2018

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