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2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, Ohio: Leveraging Resilience to Become a Climate Haven

April 2018

The City of Cincinnati, Ohio assesses opportunities for local investments in housing and critical services for people relocating in response to climate change in the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan. The plan is built on three central pillars: Sustainability, Equity and Resilience, and is a strategic document to guide the city’s goals and objectives to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and become more climate resilient. Cincinnati identifies itself as a future “climate haven” that may receive people relocating from more vulnerable areas impacted by climate change, like coastal areas experiencing sea-level rise and flooding. Cincinnati uses the Green Plan to set a roadmap for making preparations to accommodate people moving to the city as a result of this domestic climate “in-migration.” The city has assessed the potential number of people that may relocate there in the future, and conducted a cost-benefit analyses to estimate the fiscal costs for this in-migration. As a result of this analysis, the city proposes how it could move forward with preparing for a new population. This includes identifying future and existing opportunities and programs for supplemental and long-term housing, funding sources to support housing and economic investments, and other “peer” climate haven cities, like Duluth, Minnesota, that can serve as a resource for Cincinnati. Ultimately, Cincinnati finds that it is feasible to become a climate haven, but that it will have to proactively prepare for new residents. The Green Cincinnati Plan can serve as an example for other local jurisdictions anticipating receiving people moving away from their homes in response to climate change.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Regional GreenPrint

February 5, 2015

In 2015, the Mid-South Regional Commission created the Mid-South Regional GreenPrint as a visioning document for the tri-state area of the greater Memphis region for the next 25 years. The plan envisions a regional network of green space, including connected parks and greenways, or Greenprint. The intention of the Greenprint plan is to address long-term housing and land use, resource conservation, environmental protection, accessibility, community health and wellness, transportation alternatives, economic development, neighborhood engagement, and social equity in the Greater Memphis Area.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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USDOT Surface Transportation Block Grant Program

The U. S. Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG) is the most flexible of all Federal-aid highway programs, allowing wide discretion for recipients to use funds as needed to meet state and local transportation priorities. This includes any activities relating to construction of highways or other eligible facilities (including acquisition of right-of-way) as consistent with state and metropolitan long-range transportation plans. Activities and projects designed to improve climate resilience of transportation facilities, infrastructure, and systems, as well as related planning and vulnerability assessment activities, are eligible uses for STBG funding.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Softening Our Shorelines: Policy and Practice for Living Shorelines Along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts

March 2020

In collaboration with the Coastal States Organization, the National Wildlife Federation assessed living shorelines policies, permitting and projects of all 18 U. S. Atlantic and Gulf coastal states. The study and resulting policy recommendations promote the use of living shorelines to reduce coastal vulnerabilities and manage the intensifying coastal impacts of climate change - such as sea level rise, coastal storms, and erosion. The report offers best practices, state and federal policy recommendations to support living shorelines implementation, and detailed summaries of permitting processes by state.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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USDA NRCS Conservation Easement and Restoration Funding Programs

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial incentives and technical support through multiple programs to public and private landowners aiming to conserve wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, and forests through long-term easements. NRCS provides funding opportunities to acquire land for conservation in both a post-disaster and pre-disaster context. All NRCS programs are voluntary and allow working lands owners to be compensated for conserving their lands. These programs and easements can increase local resilience to climate change by improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Most USDA conservation funding is allocated through the Commodity Credit Corporation and authorized in Farm Bills (about $5.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2018), while other conservation programs - offering mostly technical assistance - are funded by discretionary spending and annual appropriations (about $1 billion annually). 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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USDA NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers an Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program to provide both technical and financial assistance to help local communities and individual landowners recover from disaster events that impair a watershed. The EWP Program provides two assistance program options for Recovery and Floodplain Easements. All EWP Program funding is provided to NRCS through Congressional appropriations. EWP Program funding offers the benefit of providing potentially faster and greater geographic coverage support for disaster-impacted communities because while a disaster event is required for eligibility, a presidential disaster declaration is not.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Transfer of Development Rights in U.S. Communities: Evaluating Program Design, Implementation, and Outcomes

September 2007

In September 2007, Resources for the Future and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County partnered to evaluate the design, implementation, and outcomes of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs in communities across the U. S. The report is the result of a comprehensive research study involving conversations with local planners, consultants, land-use attorneys, and land trusts in the case study of several communities. The report offers an overview of land preservation, zoning, and TDRs in the U.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program

The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was established as an independent agency in 1952 with a mission to help Americans start, build, and grow businesses. SBA offers a range of financing and other assistance in a post-disaster context. The SBA Disaster Loan Program supports businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in declared disaster areas by providing affordable, timely, and accessible low-interest, long-term loans for losses not fully covered by insurance or other means.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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