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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — New York City, New York: Land Acquisition and Flood Buyout Programs

July 15, 2020

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) offers flood mitigation buyouts within the NYC watershed, in cooperation with the state, through a Flood Buyout Program that can serve as a model for other coastal and riverine jurisdictions considering retreat. These buyouts are part of a comprehensive flood hazard mitigation program that relies on scientific studies termed Local Flood Analyses (LFA). LFA enable NYC DEP to identify solutions to reduce flooding, which may involve buyouts, and then to fund and implement recommended projects. NYC DEP’s buyouts are primarily funded by local sewer and water bills and may be supplemented by grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Notably, NYC DEP administers a Land Acquisition Program — in addition to its Flood Buyout Program — with a focus on conserving land within the NYC watershed to protect water quality. This dual approach to both buyouts to mitigate flood risk and open space acquisitions to enhance water quality is a unique model that other state and local governments can replicate to achieve co-benefits through land acquisitions. Collectively, NYC’s multiple programs and projects can provide an example for other land-use planners and decisionmakers on how managed retreat through buyouts can be supported through a science-based, comprehensive approach that aims to maximize floodplain hazard mitigation and community resilience. 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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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Long Beach, California: Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Land Swap

July 15, 2020

The Los Cerritos Wetlands Oil Consolidation and Restoration Project (project) provides an example of how public-private land swap arrangements can be aligned with environmental restoration and protection plans, and used to advance long-term visions for managed retreat. The Los Cerritos Wetlands Complex, located in Long Beach, California, has faced decades of degradation from human activities and development. Much of this remaining wetlands area is privately owned and used to conduct oil operations. The proposed project would transfer 154 acres of privately owned wetlands to public ownership as part of a land swap arrangement. Specifically, as a part of the land swap, the 154 acres currently used for oil production will be exchanged for five acres of wetlands currently owned by the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority. The land swap will facilitate restoration of a major portion of the wetlands via a mitigation bank, increase public access, and reduce the oil production footprint and consolidate operations. The land swap plan also involves a number of environmental and social tradeoffs, however. These considerations can provide lessons and recommendations for other local governments studying land swaps as a legal tool to facilitate retreat in coastal areas. 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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From Newtok to Mertarvik: A Native Alaskan Tribal Village Relocation

Several tribal villages in Alaska are facing impending community-wide climate impacts of permafrost degradation, sea level rise, erosion, and flooding  which require immediate adaptation measures, including the potential of managed retreat. However, only one, the Village of Newtok, is in the process of actively relocating to a new site, Mertarvik, which was conveyed to Newtok through a federal land grant. The Newtok team  composed of federal, state, and local tribal representatives  is prioritizing the development of housing, roads, energy, and an evacuation center in the near-term. The project goal is to relocate everyone in Newtok to Mertarvik by 2023. The Newtok relocation has been funded by a patchwork of federal and state agencies for over 20 years. This case study can highlight one approach and ongoing lessons learned for state and local jurisdictions confronting larger-scale questions about managed retreat, and the process of transitioning entire communities to higher ground. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Resilient Infrastructure for New York State

December 19, 2019

This report from Rebuild By Design describes a proposal to create a Resilient Infrastructure Fund to support green and grey infrastructure projects that reduce flooding, coupled with a buy-out program, to improve the physical, social, and ecological resilience of New York State. It proposes a transparent, inclusive, and equitable approach to finance climate adaptation planning and implementation throughout the state. Though designed for New York, the recommendations are applicable to and can serve as a model for other states.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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State of New York Senate Bill S6424A: Identifying Lands at Risk from Sea-Level Rise or Flooding as Eligible Sending Districts for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Programs

November 20, 2019

On November 20, 2019, the State of New York passed Senate Bill (S.B.) S6424A amending the state’s enabling statute for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs to allow local governments to create a TDR program to mitigate risks from sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding. TDR programs create market incentives to shift development away from areas where it is discouraged ("sending areas”) to areas where development is preferred (“receiving areas”). This is the first example of a state statute that explicitly includes language authorizing a local government to create a TDR program and designate sending areas for managed retreat purposes. 

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Scorched: Extreme Heat and Real Estate

August 2019

Extreme heat is an increasingly severe climate change impact across the United States - to the environment and natural resources, public health, infrastructure and ultimately, the economy.  Scorched provides an overview of extreme heat’s implications on the built environment and current and future real estate markets. Heat mitigation and adaptation strategies are discussed related to building design, building materials, green infrastructure and public space design. Case studies highlight the how the real estate sector is leading in implementing ‘heat-resilient’ building designs and land uses.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Katharine Burgess, Elizabeth Foster

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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New York Model Local Laws to Increase Resilience (Chapter 1: Basic Land Use Tools for Resiliency)

June 2019

In June 2019, the New York Department of State published model local laws to increase resilience as part of its required actions under the State’s Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CCRA). The model laws are divided into chapters addressing land use and zoning, wetlands and watercourses, coastline protection, floodplain management, and stormwater control. The first chapter addresses zoning and land use as resiliency tools, outlines how to use zoning policies to accomplish resiliency goals, and includes model language local governments can adapt to that purpose.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New York Model Local Laws to Increase Resilience (Chapter 2: Wetland and Watercourse Protection Measures)

June 2019

In June 2019, the New York Department of State completed a set of model local laws to increase resilience as part of its required actions under the State’s Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CCRA). The model laws are meant to inform municipalities who want to adapt their own resiliency measures. Five categories of model laws are included in the model, which is divided into five corresponding chapters. The second chapter addresses wetlands and watercourse protection measures including buffers, overlay districts, and watercourse setbacks.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New York Model Local Laws to Increase Resilience (Chapter 3: Coastal Shoreline Protection Measures)

June 2019

In June 2019, the New York Department of State completed a set of model local laws to increase resilience as part of its required actions under the State’s Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CCRA). The model laws are meant to inform municipalities who want to adapt their own resiliency measures. Five categories of model laws are included in the model, which is divided into five corresponding chapters. The third chapter addresses coastal shoreline protection measures, including coastal setbacks and erosion control districts.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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