Mississippi River Flood Resilience
Green infrastructure refers to natural systems such as wetlands or perennial vegetation that provide multifaceted environmental and economic benefits. These systems can mitigate floods and storm surges, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for endangered species. Green infrastructure in the Mississippi River region alone is valued at $12 - $47 billion annually. In the last 10 years, 73% of springtime flood disasters have occurred in inland states. In 2019 alone, states across the Mississippi River region have experienced record-breaking flooding. As a result, states have looked to implement flood mitigation and adaptation practices beyond their existing built infrastructure (such as dams and levees) to establish long-term resilience.
Natural Flood Management
- Illinois SB 1352: Wetlands Protection Act (2019) – Outlines extensive wetlands protection measures, from classifying wetlands under protection, establishing a permitting system for activities on or near wetlands, and creating a Wetlands Advisory Committee to develop recommendations.
- New York A 2524 (2019) – Provides funding to municipal projects related to extreme weather and flooding resilience and mitigation efforts. Project priorities include building out nature-based solutions.
- Missouri SB 108 (2019) – Modifies Tax-Increment Financing – public funded subsidies to encourage development – so developers would no longer be able to receive TIF subsidies for projects built in floodplains designated by FEMA.
Urban Stormwater Management and Infrastructure
- New Jersey S 1073: Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act (2019) – Creates a Stormwater Utility and issues a fee to property owners relative to the amount of impervious surfaces on their property. Provides a credit to property owners using green infrastructure, such as rain gardens. Signed into Law.
- Michigan SB 756: Stormwater Utility Act (2018) – Establishes Stormwater Management Utility and administers a fee relative to the amount of impervious surfaces on a property. Signed into Law.
- Maryland SB 0269: Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program (2019) – Creates a grant program to assist counties and municipalities with infrastructure repairs, watershed restoration, and adaptation and mitigation projects associated with flood events. Signed into Law.
Federal Flood Policies and Program Opportunities
- State Flood Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund Act of 2019 – Bipartisan federal bill introduced to use FEMA funding to provide states with low-interest loans to help communities prepare for and adapt to flooding.
- Farm Bill Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) – As part of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program under the Farm Bill, CREP allows states to utilize federal funding to identify its conservation priorities and ultimately pay farmers an annual rental rate to set aside sensitive or damaged land (i.e., wetlands or buffer areas) on their farm for conservation.