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Overview of Selected Parishes’ Freeboard, Fill, and Open Space Rules and Projects within Louisiana’s Region Seven Watershed

May 18, 2022

As coastal erosion and the threat of major hurricanes and other flooding events continue to threaten Louisiana, parishes have begun to adopt jurisdiction-specific approaches to mitigating those risks. The establishment of freeboard requirements, no-net fill practices, and the incorporation of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), such as open spaces and native vegetation, are three major ways to prepare for and mitigate flooding. This brief entry provides a non-exhaustive overview of some of the ways five Louisiana parishes are using these approaches: Ascension, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa.

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State of North Carolina: North Carolina Regions Innovating for Strong Economies and Environment (RISE)

May 19, 2022

Regions Innovating for Strong Economies and Environment (RISE) is a program created by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) and the North Carolina (NC) Rural Center. RISE supports resilience efforts in eastern North Carolina regions that have been impacted by recent storms. RISE promotes community-led resilience efforts, provides guidance to community members, builds local capacity, and brings leaders together to develop regional networks. RISE is funded by a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant and the Duke Energy Foundation. One initiative under the RISE program is Homegrown Leaders, which is a leadership and economic development training program created by the NC Rural Center. RISE and Homegrown Leaders are noteworthy examples of  regional-scale approaches to overcome local resource challenges and comprehensively address future economic development and equity in rural communities as a part of resilience initiatives. 

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Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: Jefferson Parish Watershed Management Plan and Balancing Water Campaign

May 20, 2022

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana lies on a coastal floodplain of the Gulf of Mexico and has more water than land area. The parish is innovating to adapt to rising sea levels and more extreme flooding in the region, and created the Balancing Water Campaign to mitigate flood risk and improve its communities’ resilience. The approach to balancing water levels focuses on rethinking how to manage the impacts of stormwater and land subsidence to live with more water, while increasing natural drainage across the floodplain. The Jefferson Parish Watershed Management Plan was developed as a part of the Balancing Water initiative, to guide local decisionmakers with resilient floodplain management strategies for capital improvements, regulatory revisions, and land use, while emphasizing the use of green infrastructure and low-impact development. In addition, the parish is undertaking other complementary efforts like elevating flood-prone homes with the support of federal grants, and participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) program and a Jefferson Parish CRS Users Group to further local flood resilience initiatives.

 

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City of Mexico Beach, Florida: Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code

May 20, 2022

Mexico Beach is a small, coastal community in Bay County, Florida that has begun to adopt resilience measures following climate-enhanced disasters from hurricanes and flooding. Following Hurricane Michael, Mexico Beach amended its zoning regulations to require that new structures be elevated at least a foot and a half higher than the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s base-level flood predictions in both the city’s 100-year and 500-year floodplains. The city also partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement specific stormwater management projects, such as bioswales and retention projects, on certain streets. Smaller communities, such as in rural areas, and local governments can look to Mexico Beach as an example of how to incorporate resilience measures into zoning ordinances, especially in a post-disaster context.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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