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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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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.

Related Organizations: Resources for the Future (RFF), University of Maryland

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).

Related Organizations: State of New Hampshire

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.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

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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State of New York Senate Bill S6424A: Identifying Lands at Risk from Sea-Level Rise or Flooding as Eligible Sending Districts for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Programs

November 20, 2019

On November 20, 2019, the State of New York passed Senate Bill (S.B.) S6424A amending the state’s enabling statute for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs to allow local governments to create a TDR program to mitigate risks from sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding. TDR programs create market incentives to shift development away from areas where it is discouraged ("sending areas”) to areas where development is preferred (“receiving areas”). This is the first example of a state statute that explicitly includes language authorizing a local government to create a TDR program and designate sending areas for managed retreat purposes. 

Related Organizations: State of New York

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii Multi-Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan

2019

In 2019, the City and County of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu adopted an updated Multi-Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The dual purposes of the plan are to protect people and structures from damage, and to minimize the city and county’s disaster response and recovery costs. The plan, prepared by the Department of Emergency Management, addresses the relationship among various types of hazards, evaluates the effects of climate change, and prioritizes mitigation policies, actions, and projects.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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City of Marina, California Urban Growth Boundary Initiative

November 2000

In November 2000, the City of Marina approved an update to add an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to its city General Plan and Local Coastal Program (LCP) to prevent urban sprawl and to preserve undeveloped land near the coast. The main purpose of the UGB Initiative is to restrict land within the UGB to open space and recreational uses until at least December 31, 2020 (when the current initiative expires, unless it is extended by the city). Low-density zones that were mapped along the coast provide the guidance and land-use controls for these areas. While the UGB and low-density zones were not established for the explicit purpose of managed retreat, they can serve as an example of land-use and zoning tools other municipalities could consider to conserve coasts, natural resources, and other open spaces in the face of sea-level rise and erosion.

Related Organizations: City of Marina, California

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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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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