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From Newtok to Mertarvik: A Native Alaskan Tribal Village Relocation

Several tribal villages in Alaska are facing impending community-wide climate impacts of permafrost degradation, sea level rise, erosion, and flooding - which require immediate adaptation measures, including the potential of managed retreat. However, only one, the Village of Newtok, is in the process of actively relocating to a new site, Mertarvik, which was conveyed to Newtok through a federal land grant. The Newtok team - composed of federal, state, and local tribal representatives - is prioritizing the development of housing, roads, energy, and an evacuation center in the near-term. The project goal is to relocate everyone in Newtok to Mertarvik by 2023. The Newtok relocation has been funded by a patchwork of federal and state agencies for over 20 years. This case study can highlight one approach and ongoing lessons learned for state and local jurisdictions confronting larger-scale questions about managed retreat, and the process of transitioning entire communities to higher ground. 

Related Organizations: Village of Newtok, Alaska, State of Alaska

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Minneapolis Resolution Establishing "Green Zones"

April 28, 2017

On April 28 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a final Resolution establishing a Green Zones policy to facilitate community-led planning in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the goal of prioritizing city initiatives to combat a range of resiliency challenges. Within Green Zones pilot areas, city officials will work with the community to develop work plans, focused on specific neighborhoods, that will be designed to prioritize initiatives and link city policies on economic development, gentrification, racial equity, and climate resiliency, to achieve an equitable distribution of resources.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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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.

Related Organizations: City of Cincinnati, Ohio

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Washington D.C./District of Columbia Stormwater Ordinance - 2013 Rule on Stormwater Management and Soil Erosion and Sediment Control

2013

In 2013, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) released an amended Rule on Stormwater Management and Soil Erosion and Sediment Control to require that major development and redevelopment projects  incorporate additional measures to retain stormwater and reduce runoff. The District offers compliance flexibility by allowing for some off-site retention, the ability for developers to pay an in-lieu fee, or the option to buy stormwater retention credits. The District also developed a Stormwater Management Guidebook (SWMG) to provide technical guidance on stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and how to comply with the rule.

Related Organizations: District Department of Energy and the Environment (DDOE) - Washington DC

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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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.

Related Organizations: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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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.

Related Organizations: Mid-South Regional Commission

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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.

Related Organizations: National Wildlife Federation, Coastal States Organization (CSO)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Quileute Tribe of La Push Relocation, Washington State

The federally recognized Quileute Tribe of La Push in northwest Washington is implementing a phased approach to managed retreat in response to climate change impacts of sea-level rise, increased flooding, and storm surge from tsunamis. Specifically, the Tribe is seeking to relocate its school, senior center, government buildings, and future housing above the Tribe’s one-square-mile reservation on the Pacific coast, currently at sea level. The Quileute Tribe’s community engagement processes and planning strategies may provide transferable lessons for other state and local jurisdictions considering similar questions of coastal retreat. 

Related Organizations: Quileute Tribe

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). 

Related Organizations: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

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.

Related Organizations: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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