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Connecticut Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation

July 6, 2021

On July 6, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation to increase local resilience planning options, legal authorities, and financing for adaptation and resilience projects. The main components of this law authorize the creation of municipal stormwater authorities, and increase the authority of municipal flood prevention and climate resilience boards and their ability to collect and raise funds for climate resilience projects. In addition, the law expands the scope of the state’s "green bank," the Connecticut Green Bank, beyond clean energy to adaptation- and resilience-related projects, with an emphasis on prioritizing financing for frontline communities.  

Related Organizations: State of Connecticut

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Annexing Higher Ground and Preparing Receiving Areas in Hamilton, Washington

June 2021

In 2019, after decades of repetitive flooding, the town of Hamilton in Skagit County, Washington partnered with Forterra, a local land conservancy nonprofit, to annex a 48-acre parcel of land located outside of the town’s 100-year floodplain. Annexing this land will provide Hamilton with a higher, drier ground area where town residents could voluntarily relocate to new homes. Forterra is developing plans for the annexed parcel to build affordable, environmentally conscious homes for Hamilton residents. Hamilton provides an example for other municipalities and local governments either in a pre- or post-disaster context for revitalizing a community challenged by frequent flooding through adaptation actions. As done in Hamilton, local governments may consider possibilities for providing relocation options to residents within a floodplain, including by annexing new land, particularly where sufficient higher ground land within existing municipal boundaries is not available. Annexation can allow local governments to maintain local communities, tax bases, and economies.

 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Florida Senate Bill (S.B.) 1954: Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience

May 13, 2021

On May 12, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (S. B. ) 1954, Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience, into law (Fla. Stat. § 380. 093 (2021)). Among other provisions, the law establishes the Resilient Florida Grant Program to build regional and local resilience and requires the state develop a statewide flood vulnerability and sea-level rise data assessment and Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience Plan.  The purpose of the law is to determine flooding risks related to increased precipitation, extreme weather, and sea-level rise and initiate a coordinated statewide effort to adapt to these risks.

Related Organizations: State of Florida

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Florida Senate Bill (S.B.) 2514: Resilient Florida Trust Fund

May 13, 2021

On May 12, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (S.B. 2514) into law creating the Resilient Florida Trust Fund (fund) within the Department of Environmental Protection (Fla. Stat. § 380.0935 (2021)). Accompanying S.B. 1954, the fund was established to support the Resilient Florida Grant Program and the development of the Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience PlanFunds from the Resilient Florida Trust Fund can also be put toward administrative and operational costs of the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation and for other coastal resilience initiatives. The fund is set to expire on July 1, 2025.

Related Organizations: State of Florida

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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The Cost of Climate: America’s Growing Flood Risk

February 2021

In February 2021, the First Street Foundation released a report -- The Cost of Climate -- that analyzes the financial risks and economic impacts of flooding across the country. As a whole, the report estimated losses from current and future flood risks to residential properties in the contiguous United States. Current annual flood losses are estimated to be around $20 billion. With sea-level rise and increased freshwater flooding from climate change, these annual flood losses are estimated to increase by 61% to $32 billion by 2051.

Related Organizations: First Street Foundation

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act Implementation Guidance

November 4, 2020

In November 2020, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a series of four guidance documents to implement part of the New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA), as amended by the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CRRA requires that state agencies consider future climate impacts as a part of certain planning, permitting, and funding actions. The CRRA also requires that the DEC issue guidance for state agencies and other audiences to implement the CRRA. In accordance with that requirement, DEC issued four guidance documents: (1) Using Natural Measures to Reduce the Risk of Flooding and Erosion, which describes natural resilience measures and their uses for reducing risks associated with erosion and flooding; (2) New York State Flood Risk Management Guidance, which presents recommendations to state agencies on considering flood risk in planning and project implementation; (3) a guide on Estimating Guideline Elevations, which presents the principles introduced in the New York State Flood Risk Management Guidance to assist planners, engineers, designers, and architects in flood mitigation project design; and (4) Guidance for Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Assessment, which provides general principles of climate risk mitigation that state agencies should follow when undertaking "smart growth assessments" required by the CRRA and other state statutes. While these guidance documents were developed by DEC to facilitate implementation of the New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act, much of the information presented is applicable to other jurisdictions that seek to manage floodplains in accordance with climate risks.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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South Carolina Disaster Relief and Resilience Act

September 29, 2020

In September 2020, the South Carolina legislature passed the Disaster Relief and Resilience Act ("the act," S. B. 259, codified at S. C. Code Ann. §§ 48-62-10, 48-62-310, 6-29-510(D)) to increase the state's resilience to natural disaster and flooding events. The act establishes the position of Chief Resilience Officer and the South Carolina Office of Resilience to coordinate disaster recovery and resilience efforts within the state, creates the Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund to finance disaster recovery efforts and hazard mitigation projects, and creates the Resilience Revolving Fund to provide low-interest loans to local governments to perform floodplain buyouts and restoration.

Related Organizations: State of South Carolina

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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American Flood Coalition - Flood Funding Finder Tool

September 2020

Launched by the American Flood Coalition, the Flood Funding Finder (FFF) helps small communities identify federal programs that fund flood resilience efforts including flood mitigation and risk reduction projects, planning efforts, and more. To create the FFF, the Coalition analyzed hundreds of funding programs across 26 federal agencies to identify the programs most likely to assist small community efforts related to flooding and sea-level rise. 

Related Organizations: American Flood Coalition

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Tehama, California Elevating Homes

The City of Tehama, California is working to protect vulnerable residents from flooding through elevation of their homes. Tehama is adjacent to the Sacramento River in the northern Central Valley and has endured several floods over the years. As climate change is anticipated to increase the potential for flooding in this area, residents are at a greater risk of losing their homes to flooding. Many of the residents are unable to pay for the cost of elevating their homes, prompting the city to patch together non-municipal funding sources to substantially reduce residents’ costs. The majority of the cost was covered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) through Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board. The remaining 10% of the cost could be covered by funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) program for low income residents. 

Related Organizations: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), City of Tehama, California

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Land Acquisition and Restoration Projects in the Greens Bayou Watershed in Harris County, Texas: Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020

In Texas, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and other local partners, including the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, are implementing different land acquisition, restoration, and conservation projects in the Greens Bayou watershed in Harris County and the City of Houston. Two programs and initiatives include the Greens Bayou Mitigation Bank (Greens WetBank) and Bayou Greenways 2020. The Greens WetBank is a wetland mitigation bank on nearly 1,000 acres of land in Harris County, where HCFCD restores wetlands and generates revenue by selling “wetland credits” to developers who need to offset wetland losses at locations outside the Greens WetBank’s land in Harris County. In addition, Bayou Greenways 2020 is a large-scale, public-private initiative led by Houston Parks Board to create 150 miles of greenways and trails and an additional 3,000 acres of public greenspace along Houston’s major bayous through land acquisition and conservation efforts. Bayou Greenways 2020 has been the result of an extensive community engagement campaign and funding leveraged from federal, state, local, and private sources to create local parks and open spaces in Houston. Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020 are examples of how comprehensive land acquisition, restoration, and conservation actions can increase local resilience in a specific watershed by mitigating future flood risks, enhancing the environment, and creating community assets. Other jurisdictions could consider a similar model to coordinate future land uses in a watershed with climate adaptation, including managed retreat strategies, hazard reduction, and natural resource and open space management. 

Related Organizations: Harris County, Texas, Houston Parks Board

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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