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Gulf of Mexico Climate Change Adaptation Inventory

June 24, 2011

The Climate Change Adaptation Inventory is a compilation of climate adaptation activities and research initiatives taking place at the federal, state, and local levels in communities adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. The inventory focuses specifically on those projects and efforts that address climate change or sea level rise. Research activities captured by the inventory are limited to those projects that have applications to coastal communities, particularly planning and development, land management, and socioeconomic initiatives.

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Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Operational Changes to Manage Extreme Snow and Ice Events

2011

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has introduced maintenance and operations procedures for snow and ice removal in cases of unusual snow events that would limit the airport’s role as one of the world’s busiest airports.   After experiencing a large snow and ice storm in 2011, DFW could not handle the snow-clearing needs to keep the airport operating at full capacity. The storm occurred right before the Super Bowl in 2011, halting the flow of thousands of visitors using the airport for travel and bringing attention to the need to better manage severe winter storms.

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Land Acquisition and Restoration Projects in the Greens Bayou Watershed in Harris County, Texas: Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020

In Texas, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and other local partners, including the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, are implementing different land acquisition, restoration, and conservation projects in the Greens Bayou watershed in Harris County and the City of Houston. Two programs and initiatives include the Greens Bayou Mitigation Bank (Greens WetBank) and Bayou Greenways 2020. The Greens WetBank is a wetland mitigation bank on nearly 1,000 acres of land in Harris County, where HCFCD restores wetlands and generates revenue by selling “wetland credits” to developers who need to offset wetland losses at locations outside the Greens WetBank’s land in Harris County. In addition, Bayou Greenways 2020 is a large-scale, public-private initiative led by Houston Parks Board to create 150 miles of greenways and trails and an additional 3,000 acres of public greenspace along Houston’s major bayous through land acquisition and conservation efforts. Bayou Greenways 2020 has been the result of an extensive community engagement campaign and funding leveraged from federal, state, local, and private sources to create local parks and open spaces in Houston. Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020 are examples of how comprehensive land acquisition, restoration, and conservation actions can increase local resilience in a specific watershed by mitigating future flood risks, enhancing the environment, and creating community assets. Other jurisdictions could consider a similar model to coordinate future land uses in a watershed with climate adaptation, including managed retreat strategies, hazard reduction, and natural resource and open space management. 

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Protecting the Public Interest through the National Coastal Zone Management Program: How Coastal States and Territories Use No-Build Areas along Ocean and Great Lake Shorefronts

May 2012

This report provides an overview of policy options for limiting new construction in vulnerable coastal areas, and a summary of existing laws and regulations in states with federally approved coastal management programs (CMPs). To better understand and communicate how state CMPs manage ocean and Great Lake shorefront development, NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) (now a part of the Office for Coastal Management) conducted this study to look specifically at where states are employing shorefront strategies to protect the public interest and natural resources.

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — City of Austin, Texas: Flood Risk Reduction Buyout Projects

July 15, 2020

The City of Austin, Texas has adopted a model to provide consistent relocation benefits for voluntary home buyouts in the city’s floodplains as a part of its “flood risk reduction projects.” In addition to the cost of a person’s original home, the city will provide homeowners with moving and closing costs, and a replacement housing payment if the cost of a new comparable home (located outside of the city’s 100-year floodplain) is more than the original home. This policy encourages owner participation in the buyout program and helps to minimize the economic and social costs of relocation. The city’s Watershed Protection Department prioritizes buyouts in accordance with a Watershed Protection Master Plan that strategically guides related city actions, including potential buyouts, to reduce the risks associated with erosion, flooding, and poor water quality. A mix of municipal bonds, federal grants, and local funds (primarily through a drainage fee paid by owners of properties based upon impervious surface cover) have been used to fund the buyouts. Austin’s example is noteworthy for its emphasis on implementing buyouts in accordance with a comprehensive flood mitigation program and facilitating transitions for people located in floodplains through relocation assistance. Other jurisdictions considering managed retreat could implement an interdisciplinary buyout approach across different sectors and government agencies (e.g., floodplain and emergency management and housing and community development). .

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Harris County, Texas: Flood Control District Local Buyout Program

July 15, 2020

Harris County, Texas established a voluntary home buyout program through the regional government agency, the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), that can serve as an example for other local jurisdictions considering retreat from coastal and riverine flood-prone areas. 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 functions. HCFCD has developed an effective communication and outreach strategy to educate the public and encourage program participation. Historically, properties have been acquired with grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program, Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, and local funding from a dedicated ad valorem property tax (i.e., a tax based on a property’s assessed value). Other state, regional, and local jurisdictions considering managed retreat could implement a similar comprehensive buyout model that operates in both a pre- and post-disaster context to reduce flood risks and engages the community throughout the entire process. 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.

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The Texas Title Project

2013

The Texas Title Project was a two-year program that began in 2013 after Hurricanes Dolly and Ike devastated Texas, and critically impacted lower-income communities. The purpose of the program was to help low-income families whose homes were destroyed during the hurricanes to acquire clear title to their property so that they could be eligible for government funding. In clearing any issues relating to these titles, homeowners then became eligible for federal government rebuilding assistance. The project's threefold mission was to: clear titles for those homeowners and families that participated in the program; develop a general model for providing these types of legal services that could be implemented in the future, when another disaster occurred; and to study the barriers that existed that prevented low-income homeowners from having a clear title, especially in areas that are disproportionately affected by disasters. In the two years it was operational, the Texas Title Project provided services for more than 350 families seeking disaster recovery assistance in East Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

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Equitable Recovery, Equitable Resilience

August 2020

This white paper from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) describes the roles that community organizations play in responding to natural disasters, as well as the accomplishments and challenges relating to this work. With natural disasters related to climate change occuring at increasingly frequent rates, community organizations provide critical emergency aid and recovery services. Furthermore, these services can help reduce the recovery gap within communities, as underlying economic, social, and housing factors and public policy decisions create disparities which are exacerbated through natural disasters. Drawing on interviews with various organizations in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas, this paper reviews the different strategies that these groups use and puts forth some recommendations for policy changes that may be necessary to advance equity in recovery and resilience. 

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Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities

November 16, 2016

Looking at 17 communities engaged in adaptation, this report examines what communities are doing to address climate risks. It finds that communities are often motivated by extreme climate event and are more focused on reducing their current vulnerabilities to extreme events, compared to addressing future climate impacts. Despite this, there is encouraging evidence that communities can begin addressing climate change risks and overcome barriers to action and implementation.   The 17 case studies provide insights into the key components of a well-adapted community.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Jason M. Vogel, Karen Carney, Charles Herrick, Missy Stults, Megan O'Grady, Alexis St. Juliana, Heather Hosterman, Lorine Giangola, Joel B. Smith

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