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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: Floodplain Buyout Program

July 15, 2020

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSS) — a county-wide regional utility in North Carolina — has been administering a Floodplain Buyout Program to relocate vulnerable residents out of floodplains and reduce long-term flood damage. The buyout program is focused on risk reduction and flood mitigation best practices, where once bought out, properties are returned to open space uses to restore their natural beneficial flood retention and water quality improvement functions and provide other community amenities, like parks and trails. CMSS has purchased more than 400 flood-prone homes and businesses and enabled over 700 families and businesses to relocate to less vulnerable locations outside of the floodplain. CMSS has also supported a number of leaseback arrangements on a case-by-case basis with property owners to increase participation in the buyout program and reduce the county’s property maintenance costs. The program has been funded through a combination of federal and local government sources, with leasebacks also supporting the recapture of some costs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Floodplain Buyout Program is an example of a nationally recognized approach to supporting voluntary retreat in a riverine floodplain. Other local governments could consider adopting a comprehensive buyout program like Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s or individual program elements, like local funding options or leasebacks, to help support voluntary retreat decisions in coastal areas experiencing sea-level rise, impacts from disaster events, and land loss. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Resilient Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Resilient Baton Rouge is a program designed to increase local community capacity in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana to manage mental and behavioral health in flood-prone parts of the region. By engaging local leaders and healthcare providers, the program has been able to focus on not only delivering mental health services to residents displaced by floodwaters, but also to engage community members in a longer-term process to strengthen both the local communities themselves but also the plans to increase resilience in the region. By deeply engaging affected residents and stakeholders, the plans for resilience broadly are more responsive and targeted to those most affected by the floods. The program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with fiscal sponsorship from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Related Organizations: Louisiana Department of Health, Community and Patient Partnered Research Network, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Baton Rouge Health District

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Water Rising: Equitable Approaches to Urban Flooding

July 2020

In July 2020, the US Water Alliance released the report Water Rising: Equitable Approaches to Urban Flooding. The Report focuses on providing best practices for equitable solutions to flood control and resilience. It proposes five priority actions that policymakers can undertake to achieve this work: using data to identify risks, assets, and community vulnerabilities; committing to ongoing and meaningful community engagement; setting a proactive vision and building strategic alignment with that vision; fully incorporating equity into any resilience planning processes; and emphasizing that investors target frontline communities.

 

Related Organizations: U.S. Water Alliance, The Kresge Foundation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Floodplains by Design

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is a private-public partnership led by The Nature Conservancy, the State of Washington Department of Ecology, and the Puget Sound Partnership aimed at reducing flood risk and restoring habitat - for salmon recovery and other needs - to Washington state’s major river corridors. Floodplains by Design works to help communities collaborate across entire watersheds to adapt to increasing flood events and benefit the natural environment simultaneously. FbD coordinates state and federal funding for local solutions, facilitates integrated floodplain management, and supports large-scale, multiple-benefit projects that protect, restore, and improve the resiliency of floodplains across the state.

Related Organizations: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Washington State Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Virginia SB 320 Community Flood Preparedness Fund

April 22, 2020

In 2020, Virginia created the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund (Virginia Code §§ 10. 1-603. 24 and 10. 1-603. 25). Through this law, the state established a low-interest revolving loan fund to help local governments and communities adapt to increasing coastal and inland flooding from multiple, different sources, including sea-level rise and precipitation. The purpose of the fund is to enhance the state’s overall coastal resilience by funding flood prevention and mitigation projects, prioritizing projects in low-income areas and that are designed with nature-based solutions.

Related Organizations: State of Virginia

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk

November 2019

This report from The Pew Charitable Trusts provides brief summaries of 13 case studies from across the U. S. where states or cities are effectively implementing flood mitigation strategies. The case studies are organized by strategies using existing funds, those generating new revenue, and those employing updated or new regulations to reduce risk and mitigate the impacts of flooding. Because flood risk and the cost of adapting to floods is expected to increase, this report aims to offer model examples and lessons learned to decision-makers seeking to improve their communities’ resilience to floods and storms exacerbated by climate change.

Related Organizations: Pew Charitable Trusts

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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An Equitable Water Future: Louisville, Kentucky

June 26, 2019

An Equitable Water Future: Louisville focuses on building equity in the infrastructure workforce, primarily the water sector, in Louisville, Kentucky.  Local factors that influence water equity are described, including concentrated vulnerable communities that are disproportionality experiencing aging infrastructure, flooding and climate impacts, and barriers to participating in the local infrastructure workforce. The report outlines recommendations to address these issues that Louisville and other municipalities can take to advance sustainable and equitable utility management.

Related Organizations: U.S. Water Alliance, City of Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Norfolk Special Service District Policy for Flood Protection

June 11, 2019

In June 2019, the Norfolk City Council adopted a policy authorizing the creation of Special Service Districts (SSD) to support implementation of local flood risk reduction and water quality improvement projects in the City of Norfolk, Virginia. SSDs enable a group of residents to agree to pay a tax to finance additional services in a particular neighborhood. The Norfolk policy allows SSD funding to be used to pay for flood mitigation, dredging, water quality improvements, and coastal protection projects.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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2018 State of U.S. High Tide Flooding with a 2019 Outlook

June 2019

NOAA's fifth annual update of the State of Coastal High Tide Flooding (HTF) provides HTF projections to inform adaptation and decision-making for the following year, and over the longer term. High tide flooding (aka ‘sunny day’ or ‘nuisance’ flooding) occurs when water levels measured at NOAA tide gauges exceed heights based on the minor-flood thresholds set by NOAA’s National Weather Service. This report updates high tide flood frequencies during 2018 (based on the meteorological year: May 2018-April 2019) at 98 NOAA tide gauge locations, and provides a statistical outlook for 2019 (May 2019 - April 2020).

Related Organizations: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Authors or Affiliated Users: William Sweet, Greg Dusek, Doug Marcy, Greg Carbin, John Marra

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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City of Virginia Beach - Nature-Based Coastal Flood Mitigation Strategies

May 16, 2019

The City of Virginia Beach, Virginia commissioned this study to identify and assess opportunities for including natural and nature-based coastal flood mitigation strategies among the measures that the City can adopt to increase resilience and decrease flood risk in Virginia Beach. The study evaluated a range of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) - including beach nourishment and dune enhancement, marsh creation and restoration, living shorelines, and more - for feasibility given the unique flooding issues in the four different watersheds of the region.

Related Organizations: City of Virginia Beach, Virginia

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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