Nature-Based Resources and Publications

EPA Green Streets Handbook

March 2021

Green Streets Handbook Released earlier in 2021 is a 116-page handbook from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides a systematic process for reducing the impervious surface footprint of public rights-of-ways and associated off-street surface parking areas.

The EPA handbook is intended to assist state and local transportation agencies, municipal officials, designers, stakeholders, and others to select, design, and implement site design strategies as well as green infrastructure practices for roads, alleys, and parking lots.

Link to to Green Streets Handbook.


Promoting Nature-Based Hazard Mitigation through FEMA Mitigation Grants

 May 2021

FEMA is now embracing nature-based solutions as viable and preferred hazard mitigation solutions and has expressed a specific interest in funding them through Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants.  Yet, significant administrative challenges remain for securing funding for nature-based projects.

To support the momentum for investing in nature-based projects, The Nature Conservancy worked with AECOM, an engineering firm, to develop a new guidebook titledPromoting Nature-Based Hazard  Mitigation through FEMA Mitigation Grants.

Spanning 55 pages, the guidebook is intended for stakeholders pursuing FEMA HMA grants for nature-based solutions to mitigate risks associated with flooding (riverine and coastal) and wildfire.  To give users a better understanding of how HMA grants are a viable funding source for nature -based solutions to hazard mitigation, the report provides an overview of selecting appropriate nature-based solutions for a given hazard and location, FEMA HMA requirements, and how to maximize benefits for a given project.  It also provides brief explanations of FEMA HMA funding pathways while encouraging users to take advantage of FEMA’s guidance documents that go into greater detail on the grant programs.

Whether pursuing the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program or Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program for pre-disaster funding or the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for post-disaster recovery funding, the report notes the importance of having early communication with the State Hazard Mitigation Officer and the state agency’s grants team to develop consensus on project approach.

Although nature-based solutions can mitigate many hazard types, linking the appropriate solution with the appropriate grant program depends on several variables.  These include applying for the most appropriate HMA grant for the project site, selecting the most effective hazard mitigation technique, quantifying the benefits offered by the proposed nature-based solutions, and refining the project approach and strategy to maximize grant funding success.

Primary considerations include:

  • FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs – Is the need for a mitigation project driven by pre‑disaster preparation or an immediate post-disaster response?
  • Mitigation Techniques – Is the primary hazard affecting the project site coastal flooding, urban flooding, or wildfire? Based on the project site characteristics, what is the most effective nature-based solution?
  • Quantifying Benefits – How to best quantify the benefits of nature-based solutions using the FEMA benefit-cost analysis (BCA) tool and capture additional ancillary benefits offered by a nature-based approach?
  • Approach & Strategy – How to maximize possible mitigation benefits, build consensus, gain stakeholders, or improve overall project impact?

The guidebook also outlines several application challenges and pitfalls and highlights real-world case studies to gain ideas from with regards to coastal flooding, riverine/urban flooding, and wildfires.

Download – Promoting Nature-Based Hazard Mitigation through FEMA Mitigation Grants


Community Incentives for Nature-Based Flood Solutions

A Guide to FEMA’s Community Rating System For Conservation Practitioners

2021

Nature-based solutions—such as open space protection and wetland restoration— can effectively reduce flood risk and are creditable components of the CRS. The conservation community can and should partner with municipalities to plan and design “nature-based solutions” that restore and protect natural areas, reduce flood risk and earn citizens a discount on their flood insurance rate.

Link to Community Incentives for Nature-Based Flood Solutions – A Guide to FEMA’s Community Rating System For Conservation Practitioners.