Smart growth approaches can help communities prepare for and recover from disaster
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new tool to help communities prepare for, deal with and recover from floods. The Flood Resilience Checklist offers strategies that communities can consider, such as conserving land in flood-prone areas; directing new development to safer areas; and using green infrastructure approaches, such as installing rain gardens, to manage storm water.
“Flooding from major storms has cost lives and caused billions of dollars in damage,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With climate change, storms are likely to become even more powerful in many regions of the country. Where and how communities build will have long-term impacts on their flood resilience, and on air and water quality and health and safety. This checklist will help flood-prone communities think through these issues and come up with the solutions that work best for them.”
The checklist is part of a new report, “Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities.” The report is a product of EPA’s yearlong Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project in Vermont where EPA worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state agencies, including the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Although the project focused on Vermont, the policy options and checklist in the report can help any community seeking to become more flood resilient.
As part of the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project, FEMA and EPA also supported the development of Vermont State Agency Policy Options, a report that provides more detailed suggestions for how Vermont state agencies can coordinate their efforts to plan for, respond to, and recover from floods.
EPA will host a webinar on lessons learned from the Vermont project on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The webinar will feature speakers from FEMA, the state of Vermont and the Mad River Valley Planning District.