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.
Resource Category: Planning
Post-Disaster Community Investments in Lumberton Through the North Carolina State Acquisition and Relocation Fund for Buyout Relocation Assistance
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
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
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.
Resource Category: Funding
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
June 21, 2007
A scientific study was undertaken by researchers at four North Carolina universities to consider three aspects of the state's coastal economy and their vulnerability to a changing climate including: the impacts of sea-level rise on the coastal real estate market, the impacts of sea-level rise on coastal recreation and tourism, and the impacts of stronger tropical storms and hurricanes on business activity. The study used a range of moderate assumptions, not best- or worst-case scenarios. This brief summary brochure is designed to present the main findings of the study for the benefit of the public and policy makers.
Resource Category: Assessments
The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) is one of 21 LCCs established by Secretarial Order No. 3289, which focus on on-the-ground strategic conservation efforts at the landscape level. LCCs are management-science partnerships that inform integrated resource-management actions addressing climate change and other stressors within and across landscapes.
The Institute for Coastal Science and Policy (ICSP) works to understand North Carolina coastal systems so that the problems and opportunities associated with them can be addressed. Research in the Institute concentrates on four main areas and their interrelationships including coastal ecology, coastal geoscience, social science, and public policy. One objective of the Institute is to develop methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives that advance the understanding of the coastal environment and human systems, drawing on emerging technologies and conceptual tools such as systems and network theory, geographic information sciences, and computer-based modeling.
The Office for Coastal Management (OCM) is tasked with implementing the Coastal Zone Management Act. OCM activities include working with states and territories to conserve and protect coral reefs, operating a system of National Estuarine Research Reserves, and developing a system of marine protected areas.
The Coastal Resources Commission, or CRC, was created when the General Assembly adopted the Coastal Area Management Act in 1974. The CRC establishes policies for the N. C. Coastal Management Program and adopts implementing rules for both CAMA and the N. C. Dredge and Fill Act. The commission designates areas of environmental concern, adopts rules and policies for coastal development within those areas, and certifies local land-use plans. .