Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Regional Vision
View Resource at https://www.adaptationclearinghouse.org/resources/greauxing-resilience-at-home-a-regional-vision.html
|Source: King County Parks.|
Working with communities to facilitate voluntary transitions is only one side of the managed retreat coin. “Receiving communities” — or “receiving areas” — is the broad term used to refer to locations where people may be relocating in response to coastal hazards and climate impacts. Receiving areas can be located within the same municipality as a “sending” area or in a different municipal, county, state, or national jurisdiction. While the geographic characteristics and land-use patterns of individual receiving communities will vary, they will ideally be located at a higher elevation and/or further inland away from coastal sending areas experiencing sea-level rise, flooding, and/or erosion. This will better ensure that people are safer and better off, at least from a reduced risk standpoint. Receiving communities can apply in both a pre- and post-disaster context where people seek refuge in response to either episodic (e.g., hurricanes) or chronic (e.g., high tide flooding) threats. People may choose to stay there temporarily or indefinitely. Given the focus on proactive managed retreat strategies, this toolkit section primarily discusses and proposes legal and policy recommendations for receiving communities where people permanently choose to relocate in a non-disaster-related context.
To adequately prepare receiving areas, state and especially local governments should aim to plan for and make proactive investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and critical services (e.g., schools). These actions are necessary to support anticipated population increases unless particular regions or municipalities already possess sufficient but underutilized capacity. The growth of receiving communities will present governments with important fiscal and social questions. Fiscally, governments will have to evaluate how to fund the implementation of potential policies and projects and assess the impacts of population changes and these investments on state and local budgets and tax bases. Socially, governments must work with both current and new residents to guide and inform the future development of these areas.
Where governments implement hazard mitigation buyouts (e.g., Minot, North Dakota), land swaps (e.g., Resilient Edgemere and New Orleans, Louisiana), or Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs (e.g., King County, Washington), policymakers will be directly confronted by some or all of these considerations; however, some areas will indirectly receive people from outside their jurisdiction and not as a direct result of their managed retreat policies. For example, some places that will serve as receiving communities will choose to adapt through non-retreat strategies or will not experience significant sea-level rise or coastal erosion. These locations would include urban cities with seawalls that protect shorelines; and non-coastal cities like Buffalo, New York or Cincinnati, Ohio that are anticipating future population growth as people leave the coast. Regardless of the cause or impetus, governments should be aware of the potential ways they could become receiving communities. Governments can use demographic and other types of data to track or monitor these shifts.
In elevating and prioritizing considerations about receiving communities, it is important for governments to simultaneously recognize that not everyone will choose or be able to move away from vulnerable coastal areas (e.g., people who desire to stay in place and/or lack the financial resources to leave). Different adaptation strategies are needed for low risk receiving areas with growing populations and high and moderate risk areas that may be losing population; therefore, measures are also needed to help residents and businesses that will continue to occupy higher risk areas. Policies and programs can be designed to help communities transition and mitigate impacts from population losses and reduced tax bases — for example, by making investments to sustain communities by enhancing the resilience of homes and infrastructure (e.g., through floodproofing or elevation).
State and local governments that anticipate becoming receiving communities may consider the following practice tips:
1. Mathew E. Hauer et al., Sea-Level Rise and Human Migration, 1 Nature Reviews Earth & Envt. 28 (2020) (“In the case of SLR, people migrate in response to policy incentives, employment opportunities, socioeconomics, and social and kin networks within perceptions of the risk before deciding to migrate.”). Back to contentBack to content
3. See, e.g., id. (“Moreover, when people do migrate in response to SLR hazards in the USA, they more often migrate to nearby urban job-growth centres, rather than making small, incremental migrations. Accordingly, future migration modeling suggests coastal adjacent, major inland cities, such as Austin, Texas, Orlando, Florida, or Atlanta, Georgia, might become major migration destinations for those migrating in response to SLR inundation.”). Back to contentBack to content
4. E.g., In the month after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, several nearby urban centers, including Houston, served as receiving areas that took in large numbers of residents displaced from Louisiana. Houston was the largest receiving point outside of the State of Louisiana with approximately 240,000 persons. Sean P. Varano et al., A Tale of Three Cities: Crime and Displacement After Hurricane Katrina, 38 J. of Crim. Justice 42, 43, available at View Source. | Back to contentBack to content
5. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act — which provides the authority for most of FEMA’s disaster response and recovery programs — and FEMA regulations do not explicitly prohibit the expenditure of HMGP funding in receiving communities located outside of areas covered by a disaster declaration (compare Public Assistance grants, see next footnote). Despite this lack of an explicit legal prohibition, it is not clear that projects in receiving communities are prioritized or consistently funded on the ground. Specifically, eligibility for the FEMA HMGP requires that hazard mitigation projects “substantially reduce the risk of, or increase resilience to, future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by a major disaster.” 42 U.S.C. § 5170c(a). This language does not explicitly prevent receiving communities from obtaining HMGP funding indirectly. FEMA regulations further provide that hazard mitigation projects that benefit a disaster area may receive financial assistance, even if they would occur outside of the disaster area. 44 C.F.R. §206.435(c)(2). The Stafford Act, section 404, also allows for indirect assistance in non-disaster areas through its Property Acquisition and Relocation program. 42 U.S.C. § 5170c(b)(1). Back to contentBack to content
6. The PA program authorizes applicants to receive financial assistance for restoring public facilities damaged or destroyed by a major disaster. 42 U.S.C. § 5172(a)(1)(A). Compared to the HMGP, the PA program presents a more difficult barrier for receiving communities to overcome because any project outside the designated disaster area is ineligible for any type of assistance, even when they protect facilities within the designated area. Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide: Version Four 52 (effective June 1, 2020), available at View Source. (“Emergency Work Permanent Work performed on a facility located outside of the designated area is ineligible.”). Note, the one caveat here is that, to the extent that receiving locations fall inside the boundaries of a disaster-declared area, they could be funded under the PA program; however, it may be less common to find safer receiving areas within those directly damaged by a disaster. | Back to contentBack to content
7. Sean P. Varano et al., A Tale of Three Cities: Crime and Displacement After Hurricane Katrina, 38 J. of Crim. Justice 42, 43, available at View Source. | Back to contentBack to content
9. Certainly, other factors go into the award and allocation of funding from FEMA and HUD. This oversimplified example is provided solely to present the apparent dichotomy between how these different types of disaster recovery funding can be used. Recent federal policy recommendations also highlight a desire to elevate this funding need and increase the degree of flexibility afforded state and local grant recipients to direct money to receiving communities. See, e.g., On July 25, 2019, the Senate introduced bill S. 2301: Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, which was directed at HUD and reforming the CDBG–DR program. Among other provisions, the bill provides: “The Secretary [of Housing and Urban Development] may provide an appropriate amount of assistance to eligible entities outside an area described in paragraph (1) that receives displaced residents due to a major disaster declared pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) for the purpose of carrying out eligible activities to provide housing to and meet other disaster recovery needs of those displaced residents.” (View Source). Additionally, the following language was included in a draft of the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released in April 2020 with the Water Resources Development Act bill: “SEC. 2. HOST COMMUNITIES. This section amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to include Host Cities, cities that as a result of a natural disaster or act of terrorism take on an influx of population, as eligible recipients under the Drinking Water Infrastructure Risk and Resilience Program established in America’s Water Infrastructure Act, PL 115-270 (AWIA).” (View Source). | Back to contentBack to content
10. See Growth Management Development Rights — Washington State Department of Commerce, Wa. Dep’t of Commerce, View Source (last visited Dec. 11, 2019). | Back to contentBack to content
11. See id. Back to contentBack to content
12. See Interlocal Agreement for Regional Transfer of Development Rights and Tax Increment Financing of Infrastructure by and between the City of Seattle and King County (Oct. 3, 2013), available at View Source; and City of Seattle Ordinance 124285, Council Bill 117832 (June 13, 2013), available at View Source. | Back to contentBack to content
13. Laura Raim, Florida’s Flooded Future: ‘Retreat While There’s Still Time,’ The Nation (June 9, 2020), available at View Source. | Back to contentBack to content
14. See, e.g., 2018 Seed Grants for Community-led Managed Retreat Projects, Climigration: Should We Stay or Should We Go?, View Source (last visited June 9, 2020). The Climigration Network is a community of practice that aims to provide different types of expert and practitioner support for communities considering managed retreat on the ground. In 2018, the network awarded seed or “mini-grants” to five organizations and communities from across the country tackling different questions about managed retreat. One grant awardee, The Lowlander Center, led a collaborative effort to design a dialogue between Bayou-Lowlands sending communities and inland receiving communities. Lessons learned from projects like this one can support additional peer-learning for others nationwide. | Back to contentBack to content