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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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USDN Guide to Developing Resilience Hubs

October 2019

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is supporting the development of Resilience Hubs, which are described as community-serving facilities that aid and educate residents, and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during or after a natural hazard event. The USDN Resilience Hub guidance document is a living framework designed to assist communities in planning for, implementing and operating a community Resilience Hub - geared towards local governments, community-based organizations, and other practitioners.

Author or Affiliated User: Kristin Baja

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Highway A1A Redesign Project

December 2015

After Hurricane Sandy washed out a segment of the state highway, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) and the City of Fort Lauderdale rebuilt a portion of the A1A highway (“A1A”) to be more resilient to future coastal hazards. The redesigned highway segment incorporates several different features that will increase the highway’s resilience to future flooding and erosion and will also make the city more walkable and bikeable:

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Elevating Roads in Norfolk, Virginia

February 2014

The Norfolk, Virginia Department of Public Works invested $2. 4 million in 2013-2014 to improve two waterfront streets, Brambleton and Colley Avenues, and reduce flood impacts.   To reduce tidal flooding of the roadway the city elevated and widened a section of Brambleton Avenue and rebuilt the intersection of Brambleton and Colley Avenues. Brambleton Avenue is a principal artery in downtown Norfolk that runs along the Elizabeth River and crosses over an inlet called the Hague.   The project was implemented to address recurrent flooding that was already occurring in the area, which had caused frequent road closures.

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Surfer's Point Managed Shoreline Retreat Project

2011

The City of Ventura, California, has had ongoing erosion at Surfer's Point, a popular surfing spot adjacent to the mouth of the Ventura River. A California State Park bike path along the shoreline and an adjacent County Fairground parking lot have also experienced frequent damage from erosion. Local stakeholders collectively approved a plan to move the parking lot, pedestrian path, and bike path away from the tideline, instead of building a seawall or adding other armoring, which was projected to permanently damage the beach and surf break.

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Piedras Blancas Highway 1 Realignment - Caltrans/San Luis Obispo

2017

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) realigned a 2. 8 mile section of iconic Highway 1 to address current and anticipated impacts from coastal erosion and storm surge.   This section of Highway 1, which is north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse in San Luis Obispo County, was already experiencing increased storm damage from flooding and erosion, with these impacts projected to increase with rising sea levels and higher storm surge caused by climate change.   Realigning the highway away from the coast reduces its vulnerability to current damage as well as to future climate impacts and is anticipated to protect the highway from bluff retreat beyond the year 2100.

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NWF Green Works for Climate Resilience: A Guide to Community Planning for Climate Change

April 2014

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Green Works guide is a primer on nature-based approaches that communities can use to respond and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The report highlights some common examples of nature-based adaptation, green projects that communities have implemented, and strategies that communities can use to apply nature-based approaches.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Kara Reeve, Ryan Kingston

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New Orleans, Louisiana Project Home Again Land Swaps

2013

The New Orleans Project Home Again (PHA) in Louisiana involved a land swap and redevelopment program implemented post-Hurricane Katrina that can serve as an example for how public-private partnerships can help people retreat away from flood-prone coastal areas. Through this project, PHA aimed to concentrate redevelopment at higher elevations away from low-elevation floodplains and expand relocation options for impacted homeowners. The hurricane-damaged homes on participants’ original properties were demolished and converted to climate resilient open space for flood retention, environmental, and community benefits. Specifically, PHA used a land swap program that enabled low- and middle-income homeowners to relocate to less vulnerable areas with new affordable, clustered housing. The PHA program demonstrates how land swaps can offer a tool for planners and policymakers to effectively guide redevelopment in disaster recovery settings and expand affordable and resilient housing opportunities. A similar land swap model could also be considered in a pre-disaster context and phased over time, if community consensus, vacant or developable land, and funding for housing construction exists. 

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Exploring Transfer of Development Rights as a Possible Climate Adaptation Strategy - Urban Land Institute Resilience Panel Focus Group with Miami-Dade County

November 2017

In November 2017, the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council (ULI) published a report in partnership with Miami-Dade County's Office of Resilience exploring the possibility of creating a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program in the County of Miami-Dade, Florida as a possible climate adaptation strategy. The report was the result of the work of a ULI Resilience Panel Focus Group - established by ULI and the Office of Resilience - to assess the feasibility of a TDR program and whether one could facilitate the voluntary retreat of people and vulnerable development away from flood-prone areas at the county or municipal level.

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California Coastal Commission DRAFT Coastal Adaptation Planning Guidance: Residential Development

March 2018

In March 2018, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) released Draft Coastal Adaptation Guidance for Residential Development (Draft Guidance) to provide local governments sea-level rise adaptation strategies and example legal and policy tools for residential development. CCC is an independent, quasi-judicial state agency that exercises oversight for activities affecting California’s coast. Through the Draft Guidance, CCC seeks to provide state and local decisionmakers with tools to address the complexities associated with coastal land uses across approaches to residential development that are compounded by variation in the physical environment. Specifically, the Draft Guidance offers a range of legal and policy tools to help facilitate local planning for resilient shorelines and protect coastal resources, including through potential managed retreat strategies. The guidance explores the advantages and disadvantages of many adaptation options, and offers model policy language that could be used to implement best practices. The guidance and model policy language examples may be useful for other coastal jurisdictions planning for or regulating the impacts of sea-level rise on development as the language can be customized and adapted to specific situations and contexts. This guidance can assist coastal managers, local governments, and planners to address climate impacts within their jurisdictions and improve the resiliency of their coastlines and communities.

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