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USDA NRCS Conservation Easement and Restoration Funding Programs

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial incentives and technical support through multiple programs to public and private landowners aiming to conserve wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, and forests through long-term easements. NRCS provides funding opportunities to acquire land for conservation in both a post-disaster and pre-disaster context. All NRCS programs are voluntary and allow working lands owners to be compensated for conserving their lands. These programs and easements can increase local resilience to climate change by improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Most USDA conservation funding is allocated through the Commodity Credit Corporation and authorized in Farm Bills (about $5.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2018), while other conservation programs - offering mostly technical assistance - are funded by discretionary spending and annual appropriations (about $1 billion annually). 

Related Organizations: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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USDA NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers an Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program to provide both technical and financial assistance to help local communities and individual landowners recover from disaster events that impair a watershed. The EWP Program provides two assistance program options for Recovery and Floodplain Easements. All EWP Program funding is provided to NRCS through Congressional appropriations. EWP Program funding offers the benefit of providing potentially faster and greater geographic coverage support for disaster-impacted communities because while a disaster event is required for eligibility, a presidential disaster declaration is not.

Related Organizations: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Post-Disaster Community Investments in Lumberton Through the North Carolina State Acquisition and Relocation Fund for Buyout Relocation Assistance

2020

Lumberton, North Carolina provides one example of how state funding for relocation assistance can help support local buyouts and community investments in underserved areas. In 2016, the small community of Lumberton was devastated by Hurricane Matthew when the Lumber River flooded over 870 households, as well as a number of businesses. As the city was beginning to recover, only two years later, Lumberton was hit a second time by Hurricane Florence, resulting in damage to over 500 structures. As of 2019, Lumberton is seeking to leverage several grants and funding programs, including North Carolina’s State Acquisition and Relocation Fund (SARF), to rebuild the community and provide residents with relocation assistance to obtain new homes in Lumberton through a state-local partnership. Specifically, with funding from SARF, the local government is considering opportunities to invest in new homes in one existing, but underserved neighborhood of Lumberton that can offer safer homes for bought-out residents. As SARF and the ongoing work in Lumberton demonstrate, state and local governments can support voluntary, post-disaster transitions of people and minimize negative impacts to individuals, communities, and local tax bases from buyouts by reinvesting in underserved areas within their municipalities. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program

The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was established as an independent agency in 1952 with a mission to help Americans start, build, and grow businesses. SBA offers a range of financing and other assistance in a post-disaster context. The SBA Disaster Loan Program supports businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in declared disaster areas by providing affordable, timely, and accessible low-interest, long-term loans for losses not fully covered by insurance or other means.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970

The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970 (URA) (42 U. S. C. § 4621 et seq. (2020); 49 C. F. R. pt. 24 (2020)) is a federal law enacted to provide standard and predictable real property acquisition and relocation expenses for homeowners and tenants of land acquired through eminent domain. URA ensures consistent treatment for people displaced through federal programs or with federal funding. State and local governments can learn and draw from URA when evaluating the amount and types of relocation assistance potentially provided for bought-out homeowners and tenants as a part of comprehensive retreat strategies.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Level Up Audio Project

May 27, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX partnered with the Georgetown Climate Center to present the Level Up Audio Project to support local conversations about hazard risk and resilience, empower communities to advance resilience, strengthen a network of hazard mitigation and climate adaptation professionals, and inspire action. Level Up’s episodes discuss themes including climate change; equity, environmental justice, and social resilience; hazard mitigation; ecosystems and natural resilience; and more.

Related Organizations: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Georgetown Climate Center

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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HUD Community Resilience Toolkit

2020

The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Resilience Toolkit offers descriptions of natural hazard risks and ideas for adaptation actions that communities can take to increase their resilience to climate change. State and local governments receiving HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) funds can use this guide to identify types of adaptation actions that are eligible for CPD funding. Specific attention is drawn to the risks to vulnerable populations as well as adaptation actions that prioritize low- and moderate-income communities.

Related Organizations: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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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Conservation Lands Network Explorer Tool - San Francisco Bay Area, California

The Conservation Lands Network Explorer Tool is an online decision support tool to explore the conservation and biodiversity values of areas within the nine counties that make up California’s San Francisco Bay Area. The Explorer is an interactive map that allows users to visualize various conservation- and climate-related spatial data. The tool was designed to be accessible to all users, no matter GIS skill level. The information provided can help inform land conservation and adaptation strategies.

Related Organizations: Bay Area Open Space Council

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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