As our nation heads into another hurricane season and the threat of wildfire in drought-impacted parts of our country grows, disaster preparedness is front of mind for many.
Voluntary private land conservation can play a large role in providing communities with cost-effective natural infrastructure that protects against the impacts of floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters. Investing in pre-disaster mitigation projects such as strategic open space acquisition and preservation, living shoreline construction and floodplain or wetland restoration can contribute to resilience in the face of climate change.
This is why the Land Trust Alliance applauds the Administration’s proposal to double funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program (BRIC) to $1 billion this year. While land trusts are not eligible as primary applicants for BRIC funding, they may partner with states and municipalities to carry out these projects.
The BRIC program is just one example of FEMA’s increasing attention to climate resilience. The disaster preparedness and response agency is also currently seeking public comment on ways to improve its existing programs and policies to bolster resilience to climate change and better address climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. The Alliance plans to submit comments on behalf of the land trust community to highlight the important role land trusts can play in preparing communities to deal with climate change and related disasters through natural infrastructure.