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New Hampshire Senate Bill (S.B.) 285: Establishing a Coastal Resilience and Economic Development Program

August 3, 2019

On August 3, 2019, the State of New Hampshire passed Senate Bill (S. B. ) 285 to establish a coastal resilience and economic development program and provide local governments with innovative new tools to address climate emergencies due to sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding. One notable provision of the bill allows municipalities to either alter their existing boundaries or create a new municipality by combining existing ones (Section 2, codified in New Hampshire Revised Statutes § 31:9-d).

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New York State Resilient NY Flood Mitigation Studies, Buyouts, and Floodplain Restoration Projects

2018

Multiple serious flood events, hurricanes, and storms have prompted New York State’s (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop a range of mitigation and adaptation initiatives to address future flood hazards and improve community resilience. The state is completing a series of Flood and Ice Jam Mitigation Studies within 48 high-priority watersheds across New York State - as a part of an initiative called Resilient NY - to identify the causes of flooding and ice jams and to evaluate priority mitigation projects, like buyouts, to reduce risks. New York’s example is noteworthy for selecting buyouts as part of a comprehensive flood-risk mitigation analysis as a result of Flood and Ice Jam Mitigation Studies, compared to other buyout programs that utilize standalone eligibility criteria based on existing floodplain maps (e.g., a property is eligible for buyouts based on flood zones). Where buyouts are identified as a priority option to mitigate future flood risk, DEC can work with local governments through a unique partnership to remove structures from vulnerable areas and restore floodplains. Specifically, the state can oversee and provide support for locally led and administered buyout programs that can be applied across the state’s watersheds. This data-driven, state-local approach to buyouts can serve as a model for other jurisdictions considering buyouts and floodplain restoration as managed retreat strategies at the community level that would benefit from statewide consistency, assistance, and resources.

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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. 

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City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii Multi-Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan

2019

In 2019, the City and County of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu adopted an updated Multi-Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The dual purposes of the plan are to protect people and structures from damage, and to minimize the city and county’s disaster response and recovery costs. The plan, prepared by the Department of Emergency Management, addresses the relationship among various types of hazards, evaluates the effects of climate change, and prioritizes mitigation policies, actions, and projects.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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City of Marina, California Urban Growth Boundary Initiative

November 2000

In November 2000, the City of Marina approved an update to add an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to its city General Plan and Local Coastal Program (LCP) to prevent urban sprawl and to preserve undeveloped land near the coast. The main purpose of the UGB Initiative is to restrict land within the UGB to open space and recreational uses until at least December 31, 2020 (when the current initiative expires, unless it is extended by the city). Low-density zones that were mapped along the coast provide the guidance and land-use controls for these areas. While the UGB and low-density zones were not established for the explicit purpose of managed retreat, they can serve as an example of land-use and zoning tools other municipalities could consider to conserve coasts, natural resources, and other open spaces in the face of sea-level rise and erosion.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County is implementing policies and initiatives to address climate change, to protect the environment, and to advance sustainability including promoting energy efficiency and water conservation. The County has adopted climate change strategies through its Greenprint plan as well as the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact's Regional Climate Action Plan.  .

 

 

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Quileute Tribe of La Push Relocation, Washington State

The federally recognized Quileute Tribe of La Push in northwest Washington is implementing a phased approach to managed retreat in response to climate change impacts of sea-level rise, increased flooding, and storm surge from tsunamis. Specifically, the Tribe is seeking to relocate its school, senior center, government buildings, and future housing above the Tribe’s one-square-mile reservation on the Pacific coast, currently at sea level. The Quileute Tribe’s community engagement processes and planning strategies may provide transferable lessons for other state and local jurisdictions considering similar questions of coastal retreat. 

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Louisiana Land Trust Resettlement Projects

In Louisiana, a state-created land trust is supporting floodplain buyouts and helping families relocate out of vulnerable flood-prone areas. The Louisiana Land Trust (LLT) was created in 2005 to support buyouts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After more recent flood events, LLT expanded its role to help communities relocate to safer, higher ground areas. The land trust is helping to facilitate the resettlement of residents of the Pecan Acres subdivision in Pointe Coupee Parish and the Isle de Jean Charles community in Terrebonne Parish. The Pecan Acres subdivision is located in a lower-income neighborhood north of the City of New Roads, and has experienced repeated flooding 17 times over the past 20 years. LLT is working to help resettle approximately 40 households within the subdivision by acquiring their flood-prone properties, and supporting a development on higher ground where they can relocate. Isle de Jean Charles is a narrow island in South Terrebonne parish and is the home of the Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees and United Houma Nation tribes. The island has lost 98% of its land mass since 1955 and many residents have left as a result of increasing flooding, where encroaching seas often flood the only roadway connecting the island to the mainland. With funding from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, the state is working to support implementation of a tribal resettlement plan. LLT acquired the resettlement site, about 40 miles north of the island that will be redeveloped. Eligible and participating families and individuals will be offered properties on the site with a five-year forgivable mortgage. Both the Pecan Acres and Isle de Jean Charles resettlement developments will incorporate resilient and green design features (including elevation about FEMA minimum standards, LEED certified construction, green infrastructure, and community amenities like parks) and will enable the residents to relocate together, maintaining social bonds and cohesion. This example demonstrates how land trusts can support efforts to relocate whole communities, and support development of sustainable and resilient receiving communities.

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