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Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities

August 2020

In 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published this guide to help communities identify the multiple benefits of nature-based solutions (NBS) and incorporate NBS into their efforts to build resilience to increasing climate change hazards. The guide includes a range of information about different types of NBS, determining their value, and implementing NBS to aid communities at different phases of the hazard mitigation process. Communities looking to build community and political support for NBS, to fund NBS, and to incorporate NBS into new and existing local plans and policies can all benefit from this guide.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Coastal Resilience Solutions for Downtown Boston and North End

September 2020

The “Coastal Resilience Solutions for Downtown Boston and the North End” is a $200 to $300 million dollar, 50-year plan to protect the Boston waterfront, including Downtown, the North End, and the eastern edge of the city’s West End. The plan aims to protect these neighborhoods from a hundred-year flood on top of a 40 inch rise in sea levels by late this century. The integrated plan relies on a combination of natural (green infrastructure) defenses, breakwaters, seawalls, harbor walks, and raised land to protect the waterfront and inland areas from increases in coastal flooding and sea level rise.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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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.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives

January 2021

Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are two interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. This report provides an overview of how community land trusts (CLTs) can present a solution to help cities mitigate both of these challenges by promoting community ownership and decisionmaking and providing permanently affordable and resilient housing. CLTs are nonprofit organizations with community-led governing structures that hold land in trust for the benefit of the community, often providing and preserving affordable housing, stewarding community amenities like parks and greenspace, and providing low-cost commercial properties that can support small businesses and economic resilience.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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New Jersey Senate Bill (SB) 2607: Requiring land use plan element of municipal master plan to include climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment

February 4, 2021

On February 4, 2021, New Jersey enacted Senate Bill (SB) 2607 amending the required components for municipal master plans in New Jersey to incorporate climate change risks and adaptation strategies. Specifically, the land use element of any master plan adopted after the bill’s passage must include a climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessment as well as natural hazard mitigation strategies. 

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Massachusetts Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool

April 21, 2021

On April 21, 2021, the State of Massachusetts, under the Governor Charlie Baker Administration, launched the Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool, an online platform that enables state and local governments to assess climate change considerations when designing and siting development and infrastructure projects. Specifically, the tool offers guidance for state-funded and other projects by creating project-specific climate vulnerability assessments and providing general guidance for ways that the state and local governments can consider making a project more climate resilient.

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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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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