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Building a Just Climate Future for North Carolina

September 2020

Developed by the Center for American Progress, the report Building a Just Climate Future for North Carolina (report) provides state leadership in North Carolina with strategies to address the pressing public health and safety threats that stem from climate change. The authors recommend six actions for policymakers to take that -- alongside actions laid out in the state’s executive order (EO) 80 and EO 143, the state’s Clean Energy Plan, and Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan -- they argue will help the state address climate change while advancing conomic, racial, and environmental justice.

Related Organizations: Center for American Progress

Authors or Affiliated Users: Cathleen Kelly, Rita Cliffton

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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. 

Related Organizations: City of Lumberton, North Carolina, State of North Carolina

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: Floodplain Buyout Program

July 15, 2020

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSS) — a county-wide regional utility in North Carolina — has been administering a Floodplain Buyout Program to relocate vulnerable residents out of floodplains and reduce long-term flood damage. The buyout program is focused on risk reduction and flood mitigation best practices, where once bought out, properties are returned to open space uses to restore their natural beneficial flood retention and water quality improvement functions and provide other community amenities, like parks and trails. CMSS has purchased more than 400 flood-prone homes and businesses and enabled over 700 families and businesses to relocate to less vulnerable locations outside of the floodplain. CMSS has also supported a number of leaseback arrangements on a case-by-case basis with property owners to increase participation in the buyout program and reduce the county’s property maintenance costs. The program has been funded through a combination of federal and local government sources, with leasebacks also supporting the recapture of some costs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Floodplain Buyout Program is an example of a nationally recognized approach to supporting voluntary retreat in a riverine floodplain. Other local governments could consider adopting a comprehensive buyout program like Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s or individual program elements, like local funding options or leasebacks, to help support voluntary retreat decisions in coastal areas experiencing sea-level rise, impacts from disaster events, and land loss. 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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Annexing and Preparing Higher Ground Receiving Areas in Princeville, North Carolina Through Post-Disaster Recovery Processes

In 2017, the Town of Princeville, North Carolina engaged experts and communities in a long-term, comprehensive planning process to annex a 53-acre parcel of land located outside of the town’s 100-year floodplain to develop a safer, higher ground area where residents, structures, and infrastructure can be relocated. After experiencing flooding impacts from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Princeville was selected as one of six municipalities in North Carolina to receive technical and funding support from the state through the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative. Princeville provides an example for other municipalities either in a pre-or post-disaster context for how to balance the preservation of original townships while dealing with flooding vulnerabilities, while increasing the resiliency of core community assets and services through adaptation actions. As done in Princeville, local governments may consider options for relocating vulnerable residences and community facilities and services, including by annexing new land where sufficient higher ground land within existing municipal boundaries is not available to reallocate critical land uses and maintain local communities, tax bases, and economies.

Related Organizations: Town of Princeville, North Carolina

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Duke Energy Progress Partners with RETI for Community Solar

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) worked with the nonprofit, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI), to increase access to renewable energy programs for lower-income residents. This program provides an example of how utilities can use equity considerations to inform the deployment of renewable energy programs and resources. RETI works to eliminate high energy costs and make renewable energy solutions more accessible through educational programs, community outreach, research, advocacy, and partnerships. RETI promotes income-based applications and brings awareness to this energy saving program through engaging with communities at local community events and churches. DEP and RETI also launched The Shared Solar program for its residential and non-residential customers to be able to share in the economic benefits from a single solar facility. The cost savings from this community solar program are allocated to low-income customers in the company’s territory.

 

Related Organizations: Duke Energy Progress, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative

Resource Category: Funding

 

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North Carolina 2020 Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan

June 2, 2020

The North Carolina Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan is the state’s first climate change adaptation plan. It includes the results of vulnerability assessments within 11 critical sectors, climate justice concerns and strategies, and recommendations for nature-based solutions to enhance ecosystem resiliency and sequester carbon in the state’s natural and working lands. North Carolina Governor Cooper’s 2018 Executive Order 80 directed state agencies to integrate climate adaptation and resiliency planning into their policies, programs, and operations; and mandated that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lead the development of this climate risk assessment and resiliency plan for the state.

Related Organizations: State of North Carolina

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities

April 27, 2020

On April 27, 2020, the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) launched the Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities to help communities better prepare for the impacts of future natural hazards and climate change. This quick start guide creates a template from which North Carolina communities can independently build climate resilience plans to adapt to changing weather conditions. The guide outlines three components of resilience and five strategies for implementing resilience into work that is already performed everyday.

Related Organizations: North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project

The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) was established through funding from the U.S. Government’s Office of Economic Opportunity in the 1960s. The Project helps low-income rural communities in the mid-Atlantic and the Southeastern U.S. obtain water and wastewater infrastructure for running water, indoor plumbing, and wastewater treatment. Water utilities in these rural areas often lack funding to provide such infrastructure. Households that are not supplied with drinking water tend to rely on wells and septic tanks, which can get contaminated by pollution from agricultural activity and the lack of suitable wastewater treatment. SERCAP assists both individuals and municipalities, and its services include installing infrastructure, providing financing and loans, and offering technical support. In addition to providing services related to water, SERCAP also provides support on housing issues.

Resource Category: Organizations

 

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Triangle Regional Resilience Partnership Resilience Assessment

November 2018

The Triangle Regional Resiliency Partnership (TRRP) is a joint project of municipalities and counties in the “Triangle Region” of North Carolina including the Town of Cary, Town of Chapel Hill, City of Durham, City of Raleigh, Durham County, and Orange County. The first project of the Partnership was a resiliency assessment of the area’s assets and risks - in partnership with the University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) and the Triangle J Council of Governments.

Related Organizations: Triangle Regional Resiliency Partnership, UNC Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Karin Rogers, Nina Hall

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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NC Executive Order No. 80: North Carolina's Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy

October 29, 2018

On October 29, 2018, North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order (EO) No. 80 entitled, "North Carolina's Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy. " EO 80 calls for the state to take several actions related to climate change to improve the health and well-being of North Carolina's residents, foster innovation and growth of a clean energy workforce, prepare more resilient communities, and reduce the impacts of climate change, like more frequent and intense hurricanes, flooding, extreme temperature, drought, saltwater intrusion, and beach erosion.

Related Organizations: State of North Carolina

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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